A Representative Voice

It’s an absolute privilege to have this job – I get to work with some amazing people and organisations; learn about a huge range of services, systems and behaviours; operate across strategic, operational, political and geographical boundaries – all whilst (hopefully) trying to make a contribution to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable in our society; get paid for it and get to travel through what has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world (#lakesworldheritage)

“So what?” Am I having an epiphany? Am I ingratiating myself? Am I still in my honeymoon period?  Worse still, am I having it too easy?

Well no, I don’t think any of these are true: Epiphany? I’ve been a visitor to the Lake District for nearly 50 years, so I knew what I was coming to; Ingratiating? Well, I get to meet several incredible organisations every week (this week: ACT; Morecambe Bay Integrated Care System Partnership; Carlisle City Council Economic Development Unit; North Cumbria Integrated Care Foundation Trust; Honeymoon? Probably; Too easy? – Ooh, I don’t think so!!

So why share how happy I am? Well, firstly it is easy to forget how many positive influences we have in our lives, particularly at a time when the world can seem an odd, foreign place to us.  Secondly, I am a strong supporter of the upcoming “Kindness Day” – driven by ACT – and Cumbria CVS: we are holding a Kindness Café in our office at Shaddongate on Wednesday 13 November 2019 3 – 4pm (World Kindness Day).  But thirdly – and the point of this month’s offering – is a reflection on whether I am “representative”.

I don’t mean representative of people generally but within my role, where I am called upon to represent different things at different times. As an individual, as those who know me will testify, I am happy to speak my mind and share my thoughts – and to own these. As a Non-Executive Director at NCIC, I can represent the leadership team of the Trust and so, in part at least, the strategic direction for the organisation.  As CEO of Cumbria CVS, I need to not only represent the organisation, but also represent our membership.  This is where I struggle, not through an unwillingness to do so, but in terms of knowing my constituency’s views on a range of issues.
With over 230 member organisations (and growing) it may be too much to expect any one of us to be able to represent the range and variety of views effectively.  But I believe this is an important area for our organisational development – to be an effective voice – not just of the third sector but of the multiple “sectors” we represent.  I need your mandate – just as my colleagues, trustees, partners and member representatives need your mandate – to be a truly representative membership organisation. And with that mandate comes not only greater representation and authority – but a requirement to re-present back to you, our members and partners, on our progress.

Let me know what you think….

David Allen
Chief Executive Officer
Cumbria CVS