POP+ Thursday Feedback
The last POP+ Thursday was all about how we need to change the way we operate. We need to focus on relationships at all levels. This was made real by John Hamblin talking honestly and openly about the experiences he and Shekinah have gone through in the last 6 year or more as they have made strides with partner organisations towards working for the people. Letting go the shackles of organisational pride, ownership and (most impressively) finances they have worked together to make the support they offer to people that are experiencing particularly difficult times in their lives with homelessness, substance addiction and mental health issues. But the journey has taken a new step. Signing the contract a few weeks ago heralds a 10 year commitment from Plymouth City Council to work in this way. I think we could mistake this for a simple contractual form, but I think we need to see it as a way of learning about how we might go forwards into the future. We then had a really useful exercise from Rachel Silcock who first explained and lead a practical exercise on how to write a method statement – extremely helpful if you are ever submitting a tender to the Council.
Gary Wallace then came along and introduced us to how we might see the world through the lens of complexity and cast off the current way of thinking that assumes one intervention will create the change we want to see. Gary challenged us not to think about outcomes as the targets, but keep them in our side mirrors. In other words, we know they’re there, we know we want them, but if we look at them directly we’ll lose them. Instead we focus on the quality of how we go about working with people, staff and in collaboration.
“All service delivery is a human story and it is through story telling and listening that we can bring about change”
The day was then finished off with a panel consisting of Dan Gregory from SEUK, Phil Davies from the Rank Foundation, Leila Sharland from Resonance, Rachel Silcock from the City Council, Kate Smith from Memory Matters chaired ably by Gareth Hart from PSEN. The panel had us discussing the relative importance of trust or accountability. I’m not sure we reached any conclusion, but we left with a knotty question around what accountability looks like in a complex system.
A huge thanks to all the contributors and of course the wonderful participants who braved the horrible weather to get there.