Over the last 12 months, as the Membership and Services Officer I have enjoyed lots of contact with you, our Esther-for-195members, and have been able to really invest time into learning what your needs are and how we can help you with the impact of policy changes in the sector. To help us ‘get to grips’ with what you see as the major problems in the sector and how they affect you, we also sent out a survey to all our members in 2015. I am personally grateful to each one of you that found the time to answer our questions – we all know it can be a push to take any time out for things like this! Our Director, Lisa, asked me to collate and report on the data from the surveys and already it has helped us to plan and target some of our communications, training offers and networking opportunities.

For example, we have focused our most recent regional meetings on the NLW (national living wage) – looking at the challenges in the sector, the real impact on providers, and coming up with jointly agreed actions, which we at ARC will help to drive forward in 2016. We are currently in the throes of planning the next round of events – this time looking at how we can bring together social care providers and CQC to build stronger relationships and open up dialogue on strategic issues. These are the themes and topics we are drilling down on because you have told us they are important to you. We will continue to do this, and to review your priorities in light of policy changes and other challenges as we move forward together.

We also learned from our survey that the majority of our members see this newsletter as their preferred means of communication from ARC, with personal and branded emails a close joint second, so we will continue to keep these as regular and relevant to you as possible. Please bear in mind we welcome articles and comments from our members. We want to hear from you and share your news and best practice, staff awards and anything else you have to shout about!

We have also been busily working away on our Training Calendar for the next few months, and we will soon be sharing our upcoming training plans for 2016. If you are interested in any of our courses or workshops, please do get in touch as we would be delighted to support you and your staff. We pride ourselves on offering tailor made training services and will be happy to discuss your individual needs with you.

So, what’s up next? Well, we will be coming up to membership renewal for another year soon, so you will all be hearing from me again then. Before that, we will continue to work hard on getting our membership offer right for you. I can’t stress enough the importance of feeding back to us, both in terms of what you need from ARC, but also to share your news stories, good practice and successes. We are very proud of all our members, and we know that each of you can contribute to the ARC community with your own experiences.

I am looking forward to the forthcoming year of working in partnership with you all, and again, please do get in touch on 01246 555 043 or Esther.Oddy@arcuk.org.uk if we can help.

Esther Oddy
Membership and Services Officer