Phili Wetton details the progress the Health and Housing Group Leadership Exchange has made in its first eight months
In October 2019, The Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations (ACOSVO) and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) brought together a wide range of health and housing partners to examine some of the major challenges being experienced by people across the country. We have representation from various housing associations, health and social care, public health, health policy, health improvement, health/housing NHS national services, place home and housing (IHUB), COSLA, housing enabling unit and NHS National Services Data Intelligence. As project lead, I have been delighted to see this group of 16 dynamic and experienced individuals come together with shared aims and enthusiasm for collaboration.
With public health reform encouraging organisations to use a whole system approach to deliver national public health priorities, it is the right time to take a fresh approach to improving service delivery for communities across Scotland. Responding, learning and adapting to Covid-19 has only fuelled constructive conversations and opportunities for partnership working across the group.
Monthly sessions, facilitated by Joette Thomas (Animate Consulting), have provided the opportunity to explore and respond to emerging, shared themes. Strong relationships have developed and Covid-19 has really underlined the reality of housing’s central role in supporting and maintaining good health, as well as the health implications of homelessness.
Now, thanks to additional funding from SFHA, we have been able to extend this initial pilot by a further six months. With several areas identified as collaborative opportunities including preventative service delivery, system map development, data intelligence distribution, health and social care, housing integration, and homelessness prevention, we’re really excited to see where this project takes us.
Key quotes from some of those involved in the programme
“Housing and health both benefit from closer understanding about our respective roles and clients. Particularly around health and homelessness.”
Adele Fraser, CEO, Linstone Housing Association Ltd
“It’s great to get a considered and reflective perspective from people who are clearly highly skilled in their fields.”
Nile Istephan, CEO, Eildon Housing Association
“Sharing our view of the system made us collectively see the gaps where the most vulnerable slip through - It gave rise to effortless connections, removing bureaucracy to allow us to test and try different ideas and space to “just do it”
Manira Ahmad, head of LIST data intelligence team, NHS National Services Scotland, ISD
Thanks once again to all the senior leaders continuing to actively engage in these sessions and to our trusted facilitator Joette Thomas who added:
“Working with this group has felt like being at the 'start' of something important...the connections people have made between their various strands of work, the level of intelligence and ability to vision (as well as imagine practical steps toward this vision) something better for Scotland. The health and housing interface explores so many key issues that are now at the sharp focus of the Covid-19 reality just now...homelessness, domestic abuse, poverty, isolation. The enthusiasm people bring to our conversations is always evident - sharing ideas, and at times a gentle challenge with one another. I know there is further mileage in this. I think we have hit on an essential national conversation for Scotland that must continue.”
Phili Wetton is member services manager for ACOSVO