“Since we began as an organisation, we have worked to build strong and lasting connections across the field, and innovation within it, by convening representatives from the sector across a wide range of issues.”
I am really excited to announce the launch of Collective Voice Forums today. When I joined Collective Voice just under a year ago I was heartened by the energy, knowledge and experience across the field and the passion to work to improve the drug treatment and recovery system. I knew this was going make my job easier.
The strength of Collective Voice is drawn from the collective commitment and expertise of voluntary sector drug and alcohol treatment and recovery providers and those who work for them. And so Collective Voice’s role is to support and harness this collective wisdom, provide spaces for sharing and collaboration, facilitate engagement with partners and decision makers in the system and to utilise the sectors knowledge and expertise in evidence-based influencing.
So far, since we began as an organisation, we have worked to build strong and lasting connections across the field, and innovation within it, by convening representatives from the sector across a wide range of issues. We are now building further on this to launch Collective Voice Forums, which align these groups with our strategic priorities to ensure the resource invested in them supports us to achieve our aims, and which will expand the membership of the forums further.
Collective Voice Forums will facilitate experts across the field to come together to share information and expertise, forge strong and lasting connections and foster a culture of innovation.
- Our forums will facilitate learning and collaboration opportunities so that innovation can be shared and challenges resolved collectively.
- The knowledge and expertise shared and the discussions which take place at Collective Voice forums will inform our policy positions and ensure that our influencing is evidence based.
- Our forums and groups will act as an interface with government and others across the system, providing a place where stakeholders can access the expertise that resides in the voluntary sector.
In support of the aims outlined in our strategy to diversify our work and strengthen our voice we are opening up the membership of forums to organisations from across the drug and alcohol voluntary sector, beyond Collective Voice sponsors. We plan to communicate the learning from the Forums more widely to reach a greater audience utilising our communications channels to do so including, social media, blogs and webinars.
Our hope is that we can grow the membership of the forums to represent a wide and diverse range of organisations across the sector – including small, specialist organisations and those led by people with lived experience – and in doing so strengthen Collective Voice further as an alliance. We also hope that through our communications those who don’t have capacity to attend regular meetings of the forums will still be able to benefit from the learning shared at them.
The forums and groups include:
- The Drug and Alcohol Treatment and Recovery Providers Leadership Group
- Children & Young People Forum
- Influencing and Campaigns Forum
- Service User Involvement Forum
- Tier 4 Services Forum
- Women’s Treatment Working Group
- Workforce Forum
We also plan to develop a Race Equality Forum in 2024/25. We will seek to develop this group in partnership with organisations that are ‘led by and for’ people affected by race inequality.
The majority of Collective Voice forums and groups are chaired by Collective Voice and we also provide the secretariat for them. Some forums and groups are self led and facilitated with Collective Voice providing support around communications to share learning and ensure the groups knowledge and evidence informs policy development. In addition to those listed above we are also supporting the development of a self facilitated social work community of practice within the sector and engage with Adfam’s Alliance of Family Support Groups to ensure its knowledge and expertise can also inform our work.
To find out more about each of the Forums, read their terms of reference and express an interest in joining visit the Collective Voice Forums page.
– Jess Mullen, Chief Executive Officer, Collective Voice
The impact of the cost of living crisis further emphasises the need for long term and sustainable funding for drug and alcohol treatment and recovery services.
The Sentencing Bill is shortly due to enter Committee stage in Parliament. It includes two clauses which would bring positive changes to sentencing by, if well implemented, reducing pressure on the prison system and ensuring that people whose contact with the criminal justice system is related to the way they use drugs and alcohol are able to get the treatment and support they need.