The first of the English regional networks have launched, as the CSPs year-long programme to modernise the English boards gets underway.
The networks officially replaced the English regional boards in January, bringing with them a renewed purpose of local support to influence both CSP and local health policy decisions. So far, the North West Network and South East Coast Network have launched under their new titles. More are expected to follow in the next few months. The new model includes alignment with the 10 English strategic health authorities, as shown in the map, to increase the professions’ influence at regional level and networks will soon be encouraged to pursue priorities to reflect local needs. Council representatives on the networks will also meet as the English Network Forum to share and discuss their activities before Council meetings. The new discussion facilities on the English regional pages of interactiveCSP, the Society’s member networking website, encourage members to find out what is happening in their area and get involved in the networks. Anne Jackson, English Networks programme manager, said for many networks the transition does not involve major structural change, ‘for many it is a case of modernising the existing board structure and then beginning to gain experience in making an impact locally’. However, in some regions the programme will bring together key individuals to re-establish regional activity. ‘With local network leaders, we will be looking at the networks across England to identify what support they need as a group eg key individuals may need specialist training in influencing skills to have optimum impact locally. ‘We want to see people working towards increased activity and local influence but we can’t be too prescriptive,’ she added, ‘it’s about seizing opportunities and building on what works best in each region.’ James Selfe, North West Network chair, said the new structure had already enabled the network to expand its core group. ‘We decided that if this vision is to be realised we would need more regional support. Now we have a new committee we have renewed enthusiasm,’ he said.
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