Director of EVH Retires
Foster Evans said:
“When I started I left managing over 100 staff to working on my own. However it was creating a new business on the foundation of considerable member employer support and loyalty, and an accepted need to do more to help them meet their obligations.
We have now devised a whole series of services to help our members be good employers in recruitment, training, employment policies and support, events, publications, web resources, health and safety, etc.
The organisation has evolved over the 20 years and we have a very strong staff team of 10. We pride ourselves on our professionalism, team work, and value for money, pragmatism and our good partnerships and alliances.
After 20 years I have the opportunity to retire and I am still young enough to look at other things to do which don’t involve a regular job. One of the great things about the job is the hands on involvement with members across Scotland helping them resolve thorny problems. It involves lots of evening and weekend meetings with Boards, committees and senior staff. So after 20 years it will be good to get more time with my grandweans and Partick Thistle.
I would like to thank our staff team, Executive, members and partners for putting up with me for so long and wish them well for the future.”
EVH began with 9 community based housing associations in 1978. We are a social enterprise owned by our members and providing services, primarily for them. We see ourselves as there for the long term, as part of their team and have grown since 1992 from 50 employers in the West of Scotland to around 170 throughout the whole of Scotland.
EVH have now reached the stage where 20% of our members are not from housing. As a result we now describe ourselves as EVH- supporting social employers. These new members, charities, development trusts, etc. see the benefits of our unique knowledge and understanding of their governance, social purpose and wish to be good employers. They are the focus for any growth in the next few years.
EVH have a really strong enthusiastic and professional team. We try to learn and understand our members and have also devised a number of services which help minimise problems. These range from the basic such as an extensive list of materials available on every aspect of employment or governance on our website, to master classes on difficult topics like change management, or improving performance. We also offer surgeries for Boards and senior management teams to discuss whatever is important for that organisation at that time and contribute to their preparatory thinking.
Our small team has also been supported by good partners, especially in health and safety and employee counselling where we have been working with the same two organisations for over 15 years, ACS and ECS.
So we have a good culture where we people are passionate and committed, flexible and hands on but we also innovate to try to help people before problems get too complex or difficult.
Most enquiries will be straightforward and normally be about issues, such as maternity, sickness, flexible working, or performance.
Difficult issues take more time whether they are tensions or misconduct. Due to how important people feel about their jobs in social businesses they have a tendency to take any criticism as personal. Therefore it is important to be both clear and understanding in dealing with difficult people matters.
We often have to deal with quite complex issues and are keen to be involved early to help ensure there is good communications and consultation, where necessary. We also support voluntary boards deal with difficult or complex dismissals or grievances when they need an external advisor.
EVH is a very successful social enterprise. In the current difficult financial environment we are about to present another year of good results.
New opportunities include our recently refurbished city centre meeting space that will allow our already extensive training and masterclass programme to be extended. We can also offer the space to members and other social businesses.
We are looking at new services with our health and safety partners, ACS, in providing a robust risk management framework for business planning.
In the Scottish Community Alliance we have built great working relationships with intermediate bodies in woodlands, transport and gardens and city farms, etc.. We now need to look at how we build on this with training and other services.