From the Executive Officer’s Desk: July 2020

IEPCP Plan for supporting Partners during Recovery

On behalf of the IEPCP Board and team, I am really excited to bring to you our strategic plan for Supporting Our Partners during Pandemic recovery, over the next 6 months.

Since March, like all our partners, we have been navigating transition, considering how to pivot and digitise activity. And like all, thinking about the current environment: what is going to be different and needed through a possibly extended period of recovery. In talking to and listening to our partners and considering their needs and new emerging directions, we have framed an interim strategic plan around supporting partners through these challenges.

What we have strongly heard falls into three categories:

  • The importance of Prevention through this time – that although the spotlight and resources are on the impacts of restrictions on services and community, health promotion messaging and prevention partnerships are crucial to avoid deterioration of population health and wellbeing and vital to support systems change being embedded;
  • Support with workplace capacity building – specifically in building community resilience and social inclusion practice, to ensure social connectedness and inclusion for all; and systems leadership to support change makers; and
  • Support for organisational recovery planning, by harnessing learnings through partnerships sharing service changes (to support service coordination), and to gather and share data on impacts, gaps, what’s working well and what will continue.

In delivering on these, with enhanced digital capacity, time is of the essence. We will be leading new action, supporting partners to come together to collectively share expertise, and delivering our previously planned activity that had halted. I’m really pleased to be extending Sharon Porteous in the Active and Healthy Ageing role to continue regional work with local governments; and to be extending Bonnie Coogan in the Primary Prevention role for a further 6 months, generously seconded from Access Health & Community. In other key pieces of work led by the IEPCP, Dr. Sue Rosenhain will soon be consulting broadly on the IEPCP’s Social Inclusion framework, and Kate Jeffery will continue leading the extensive regional partnership supporting International Student inclusion and recovery.

With Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Planning in the final year of actions, evaluation, and new planning on the horizon, we are keen to support Councils and officers through this process. A recent IEPCP capacity building session on ‘Influencing Health Planning and Food Policy’ showcased Cardinia Council’s Food Circles – award-winning integrated work – with discussion on how to influence getting buy-in across departments and support from partners. Pieta Bucello, Healthy Communities Coordinator inspired the audience with the strategies she developed and the extent of the project. Session two of the series later this month promises to be just as stimulating, as we showcase a leading food/healthy eating partnership initiative from the community health sector: The Community Plate led by Peninsula Health, with commentary from Health Promotion Manager, and Director of the Australian Health Promotion Association, Lucy Wickham.

There was some great news for the region this month and I would like to extend my congratulations to CEO Michael Smith and team at Eastern Community Legal Centre on being granted $321,500 from State Government to help it continue to deliver its essential legal and other services to growing numbers of people who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. We also welcome Christine Mathieson, newly appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO), at EDVOS who joined the team there on May 25.

In Primary Care Partnership news, VicPCP have commissioned Spark Strategy to develop an enhanced operating model for PCPs across the state. Because the landscape has changed significantly and PCPs want to be in the best position to support governments to develop and deliver on public policy and partnerships to improve health outcomes, it is timely to review the context and deliverables. As PCPs have had funding extended until 31 December, with no indications as yet whether this might change, a proposal for a new model will support our sector to advocate for our value proposition. PCP staff and Boards comprising partners from dozens of organisations are being engaged in the consultation, so the final product will be very exciting to see.

In closing as we go into further lockdown restrictions and we reflect on health and safety of our community, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all partners on the front line of services, and encourage all of you to take extra self-care, especially over coming weeks.

Supporting Our Partners in Pandemic Recovery

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people and other peoples of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the land on which our work in the community takes place. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

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