"The Scottish Government along with COSLA will work to realise our ambition to get many more people in Scotland to voice their opinion, to take part, to engage, to become an active part of the community and to empower themselves."
Alex Neil MSP, then Minister for Housing and Communities, speaking in Edinburgh in May 2010
How the Mercurytide built system has VOiCE has helped
In a short period, VOiCE has gone a long way to realising the Minister's ambition of supporting workers on the ground. They have achieved this with the Mercurytide built system as well as helping partnerships and policy makers to learn lessons for the future based on what the community thinks. The numbers are certainly impressive - there are currently 810 users and 445 community engagement reports on the system. The users and the reports cover a wide range of Scottish neighbourhoods and thematic groups ranging from NHS and local government workers to a wide variety of people from the community and voluntary sector.
Having an easy to use tool such as VOiCE is really helping us improve the quality of participation activity. It helps us encourage our staff and partner agencies to really consider how they can more effectively involve patients, service users and our local communities when making important decisions about local services.
Jacqui Stevenson, Patient Focus and Public Involvement Officer - NHS Ayrshire & Arran, commenting on the success of VOiCE
Local Authorities such as Dumfries and Galloway, Shetland, and Perth & Kinross have embraced the good practice tool into their approach, looking towards more staff and partners increasingly using the software for community engagement activity. The Scottish Health Council has also trained their local officers in the use and promotion of VOiCE within Health Boards.
The online software is freely available to organisations/agencies that work within Scotland's communities. The system will help users to; plan community engagement and service user participation, to conduct it effectively, to monitor progress and to evaluate outcomes.
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