Publication - Advice and guidance

The role of third sector interfaces: advice note.

Published: 23 Apr 2015
Part of:
Health and social care

This advice note sets out the role of the third sector interface organisations in relation to health and social care integration activities.

The role of third sector interfaces: advice note.
7. Dealing with potential challenges in the Third Sector Interface role

7. Dealing with potential challenges in the Third Sector Interface role

  • What scope of the third sector should the TSI be trying to reach with regards to health and social care integration?

The TSI should be trying to reach as wide a possible range of the third sector but may dependent on geography and circumstances seek to map and segment the sector as required. For example some TSIs are beginning to host a providers forum to make sure care and support providers are informed, connected and able to articulate views. This can also be a helpful mechanism for TSIs to work with, and bring together, local organisations and national (for example condition-specific) organisations that have particular expertise and which may provide support locally.

  • What if others don't recognise the TSI or alternative bodies claim the third sector engagement and advocacy role?

The TSI is the Scottish Government's recognised local supporter and connector of the third sector and should be regarded as such by IJBs. By supporting their TSI to undertake this job carefully and thoroughly IJBs can ensure that robust information sharing, engagement and support is provided.

  • The TSI is already funded by the Scottish Government. Why might more funding be necessary?

The Scottish Government funds the core capacity of TSIs. This is not limitless and the current core funding does not include new activity required under the Act. Support to engage and develop the role of the third sector can reduce costs by building prevention and community assets. The TSIs should be part of the means to realising this potential in the third sector.

  • The Third Sector isn't the same as a service user voice though.

Correct. The TSI or indeed other third sector organisations engaging with topic specific forums is not a low cost substitute for effective engagement of people who use services or unpaid carers. IJBs separately will require to ensure that those voices are specifically engaged. Often the third sector will be an effective vehicle to achieving this and the TSI can prove effective at connecting partners to groups representing people who use services, including disabled people's organisations and national condition-specific groups.

  • Won't TSIs or other third sector organisations just articulate their own interests?

That's why robust engagement and communication protocols should be in place. TSIs and many other third sector partners have experience of collaborative engagement and influencing. Adequately resourced processes with clear expectations on those attending boards, commissioning groups and other forums should help ensure the common interest of the third sector is conveyed and the value of the diversity of the sector can be brought to bear positively.

  • TSIs can't possibly understand all aspects of strategic commissioning or provision

No but they are very experienced now in statutory sector relationship building and engagement entailing change funds, community planning and much other public service change.

  • Shouldn't the Integrated partnership's priority be resourcing for the wider sector?

Resourcing to unlock the potential of the third sector should not stop at the door of the TSI. The sector is integral to the Scottish Government's ambitions for health and social care and effective engagement and advocacy will show how the sector can be resourced to help transform outcomes.