Edinburgh Compact is a city wide partnership between the public and third sectors which seeks to influence public policy and encourage closer collaborative working between voluntary organisations such as Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council, Volunteer Edinburgh and the Police, Fire and Rescue Service and Health and Social Care Partnership.
Membership is made up of a range of individuals working in the public and voluntary sectors including its Chair, Jan-Bert van den Berg.
Explaining what the Compact Partnership does he said: “Very simply it brings varied interests, knowledge and experience in the city together across health and social care, social justice and issues that affect its citizens. It is there to look at how we can jointly make life better for people, whose life isn’t particularly good at this point in time.”
Aside from chairing meetings, Jan-Bert brings his expertise to Edinburgh Compact to “actively think about how we are stuck in silos and how we can work together more collaboratively.”
This refreshing approach has been built up over three decades of working in the arts and culture sector in Edinburgh, with community arts charity ArtLink.
Speaking about his work, Jan-Bert said: “Artlink works with people who are elderly and who have a range of disabilities or experience mental ill health. Our work bridges culture and the voice of people whose lives tend to be trickier due to experiencing a range of inequalities.”
Spaces in Between
Jan-Bert brings his creative thinking to Edinburgh Compact, thinking of ways that the public sector and third sector can work together across boundaries to make things better for communities and individuals.
He said: “I remember doing a drawing class in Art College and the tutor asked me to look at spaces in between objects rather than the object itself. That has stayed with me whilst I work across these boundaries.
“We tend to think in set patterns often within the comfort of our own experience or point of view. That approach will not work to the greatest benefit of the people we meant to serve. My interest is always is to look across boundaries and think about things in a slightly different way and to articulate that into action.”
Jan-Bert thinks that working in partnership, can provide organisations with a friendly critical eye and present an “opportunity to learn from each other and find ways of working more effectively and in the interest of people.”