What is the Reading Advice Forum?
The regular Reading Advice Forum gives all Organisations in the Reading area (both voluntary and statutory) who provide Information and Advice to the public, a platform to meet and exchange ideas, information, and best practice. It is open to RAN Members and non-Members.
Each Forum focuses on a different issue of shared concern suggested by RAN Members.
The Forum also informs our work of representing the sector to local policy makers: we aim to be "the collective voice of RAN Members to shape service provision". All our Past Forums resulted in the production of reports which were sent to local policy-makers.
Our work, is supported by Reading Borough Council (RBC) with whom we have already started to build closer collaborative relations. This was demonstrated by the attendance of RBC staff at our Third Forum which focused on Partnerships and Networking and we expect to strengthen these relationships further in the future.
Our first three Forums have covered three very different topics.
Our First Forum focused on the main social policy issues arising in our Members' work with the different peoples and communities of Reading. This was a deliberate decision: we wanted to understand better the landscape within which we are operating.
Our Next Forum will focus on concerns about the provision and quality of housing in the Reading Area.
To learn more, please look at the list of our Past Forums and the use we made of the information we gathered.
A typical Forum
Although no two Forums are alike, they generally start with one or more short presentation(s) from leaders in the sector. These focus on the key issues of the topic at hand in order to steer the Forum's discussion.
Presentations are followed by facilitated small group discussions. These may be the most valued part of the Forum, allowing all participants to exchange ideas and information and helping with the formation of partnerships and closer working relations. These discussions give participants the time to pause and think more widely about the challenges faced by their clients and what might be done to change things to help improve lives.
Finally, the Forum concludes with an "open forum”, a platform for all to express opinions, concerns, and ideas that emerged from their group discussion, as well as share relevant news and information more widely.