The IARS family came together yesterday to plan the future of the Institute for the next three years.  This followed on from the previous staff away day where the IARS staff had looked at the operational plans for the organisation over the next few years.  

At our meeting yesterday the extended family came together including trustees, volunteers, young people, interns and the staff team to consider our new strategy, particularly in the light of the uncertainty about Brexit and the future of the Erasmus programme in the UK.  One of the outputs of the day was a new 3 year strategy, which will be written up in the near future for publication.  The strategy looks at how IARS expands it's international impact in the future, forging new and exciting partnerships with our neighbour countries in Europe and also worldwide.  As Britain moves away from our European neighbours, we believe that IARS is well placed both to share best practice from the UK with our neighbours and also to learn from the work undertaken by other countries and bring that good practice into the UK.  To avoid the UK becoming isolated, we will continue to build and strengthen relationships with partners and ensure that good dialogue is heard.

We will of course continue to offer evidence based solutions to current problems, continuing to research those matters that matter most to our membership.  Being user-led, IARS will strengthen our relationships with our user bodies and our members to retain a sharp focus on the areas of policy where we can have the greatest impact and influence for the most marginalised people.  For this to be most effective, we believe that it will happen because individuals make it happen.  It will therefore be our responsibility to support those individuals to develop and deliver the campaigns that they believe will create a safer, fairer and more inclusive society.

It is our aim to influence social policy, doing this by creating evidence based arguments and rigorously piloted innovative practice to be able to demonstrate to decision makers the validity of the arguments.  We will continue to undertake this work internationally as well as providing information and policy advice for local and national government. 

Overall we came away feeling there was an exciting future in store for IARS and that we were ready to face the future as an organisation with a renewed sense of pride in the work we deliver.