Chief Exec’s update – August 2022

In July, Cumbria CVS was invited to be part of the recruitment exercise for the new CEO for Westmorland with Furness (WwF) Shadow Authority.

This was a really interesting exercise on several counts: getting to meet prospective candidates and discuss their approach to partnership working and future interaction with the VCFSE sector; being involved in a discursive, discussion-based recruitment process based on how we assessed candidates’ ability to work in meaningful partnership with multiple partners; and to work with a fascinating group of colleagues who were also on the panel. I always feel it is an enormous privilege to be invited to sit on the “other side” of the table to the candidates, and on this occasion in particular, it didn’t disappoint.

Senior representatives from the farming, health, police and parish council sectors certainly gave me an insight into others’ priorities and perspectives – and the opportunity to chat between candidates enabled us to build our own relationships and improve understanding. If this is how the new authorities plan to work in practice, then it is a very welcome development. It suggests that not only is there a real commitment to meaningful collaboration with our sector – but that trust levels are high: all good ingredients to be putting into the mix!

I suspect I also enjoyed the day because of the contrast to much of the last couple of years: the ability to meet people and talk informally in person gives such a richer sense of self and enables the nuance, humour, concerns to come through, as well as to better identify solutions to problems.

Other areas of key (face to face) engagement for me this last month
have included:

  • Third Sector Network Executive: focussing on building plans for the future in an uncertain world.
  • Cumbria Community Foundation Board of Trustees: looking at ideas for innovation and closer working between our organisations and wider sector.
  • Risk Strategy development: working with one of our own Trustees on a risk framework and Cumbria CVS board engagement.
  • North-East and North Cumbria ICS conference: around a hundred senior colleagues meeting to share ideas for collaboration in integrated health and care services.

I have also joined the newly formed Local Partnership Group (WwF) looking at the Shared Prosperity Fund priorities. This hasn’t been a face-to-face group – rather online meetings of around 30 partners which in itself brings challenges. But the timescales required by national government to the bidding timetable have meant that would have been very challenging indeed to pull us together in person. Hopefully, as we move to fulfil our wider role under the terms of reference in the coming months, we may be able to meet in person and both give and take more value from face-to-face engagement.


If you can – please get involved in some of the many events organised by Cumbria CVS and our partners, advertised on our website and in email bulletins (which you can sign-up for from our website’s home page), as we all try to adjust to a post-vaccination world!

Best wishes,





David Allen

Chief Executive
Cumbria CVS