Reflections from Heidi Tweedie, Champion and Director of Moray Wellbeing Hub, on the impact of COVID-19 on the integration process in Moray.

‘Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, integration was going well in Moray. There were some bumps and lumps along the way and lived experience representatives and third sector representatives still don’t have a vote on the IJB. But there was a sense that our role was increasingly being appreciated and understood by our colleagues in the statutory sector.

The relationship was good, but not mutual. When the COVID-19 outbreak occurred the statutory partners lost sight of the role of lived experience and third sector. It was understandable that they pulled back a bit and were drawn into the immediate response but it shows that we weren’t quite at the point we would have liked and hoped with integration. I think we lost some pieces of work there that we could have built on and would have helped our partners. The IJB was still able to meet virtually, but we’ve been experiencing massive technical barriers, and these continue unfortunately.

An example of where centralised thinking came in was the COVID helpline being an Aberdeen number. People in Moray would be put off by that, and Moray based people would have been better placed to know what support was available for and by people in Moray. Again, it was understandable, but it’s an example of where an initial meeting could have countered this problem and led to a quick response.

What I take from this experience is that integration isn’t quite there yet. If people pull too hard from the top, it could disentangle some of the roots you have in place in the local areas. Fortunately, these roots are now being put together. It helps that we’re the people with lived experience and that we have strong relationships with our statutory colleagues already. We can say ‘you’re doing a great job, and we’re here to help.’ We’re all in this together.

It’s all about trust and relationships. Since the start of the outbreak, existing relationships and trust between partners across sectors have helped enormously. It feels like there is relief that Moray Wellbeing Hub and our other third sector partners are still there and still working hard to support people. If we did not have a strong foundation to support us the muddling through the technical red tape and new landscape of services would have forced partnership to grind to a halt.’

This piece is a lightly edited transcription taken from the ALLIANCE Live “Moray Wellbeing Hub” (this link will take you away from our website) where Heidi Tweedie, Champion and Director of Moray Wellbeing Hub,  sat down with the ALLIANCE’s Will Griffiths for an interview about the impact of COVID-19 on the integration process in Moray, the community response, and her hopes for the future.

Heidi has also previously contributed the Integration Story “Furthering the integration agenda in Moray”.

Integration Insights.

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