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Preparing for the Referendum

The Scotland Referendum is a historical moment, which has gripped the nation. At Community Integrated Care, we have been considering how this pivotal event could affect us and the care sector at large.

Neil Matthewman, Chief Executive of Community Integrated Care, explains: “The referendum is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for people in Scotland to have their say about the country’s future. At Community Integrated Care, we recognise that independence could have implications for organisations that work on both sides of the border.”

He continues, “Scotland accounts for 20% of Community Integrated Care’s overall service provision and we are proud to have delivered services here since 1998. Organisationally, we believe that it is important that we maintain neutrality regarding the outcome of the vote. However, we have been very keen to assure the people we support, our colleagues and our professional partners in Scotland, that whatever the outcome, Community Integrated Care will always be committed to providing them with the best service possible.”

As part of our Five Year Strategy, last year Community Integrated Care developed a dedicated Scotland Advisory Board of Trustees, which is led by our Chairperson, Edinburgh’s Dame Joan Stringer; this group is well attuned to key policy issues in Scotland, helping us to effectively plan for independence in Scotland or further devolution. Our charity also has a dedicated leadership team in Scotland, allowing us to be agile in our response to any changes in Scotland’s political system.

We’ve also committed to working with other providers to help consider how the referendum will affect the wider care sector. Neil explains, “It’s important that providers work together to understand the impact of the referendum and how we should best respond to it. One way that we will be doing this is by hosting an event at our Glasgow Office in partnership with ACOSVO, which I am proud to be chairing, that will review the opportunities for care providers in post-referendum Scotland.”

Our teams across Scotland have also worked hard to ensure that the people we support understand the importance of the referendum, both sides of the debate and are empowered to cast their vote. Brian Murphy, Regional Director for Community Integrated Care, explains: “Good care and support is about enabling people to be valued citizens and contribute to society; this is why it is fundamental to us that the people we support can make their views known at the ballot box.”

He continues, “We have tried to make understanding and participating in the vote something that is accessible and inclusive. One example of how we have done this can be seen in Aberdeenshire, where we have supported people to access independent drama sessions about the referendum; this has helped them to receive unbiased information and form their own opinions. Many of the people we support will be casting their votes on Thursday, or have already done so by post. There’s a real sense of excitement and anticipation in all our services, as people know that they are making history.”

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