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Mary Bryce, Coventry City Council

When I found myself as the sole member of staff in Family Information in Coventry ( due to restructuring ) I felt quite isolated at times.

I joined NAFIS and the support gained at regional meetings has been invaluable to me. At the first meeting I attended I went away feeling a mixture of emotions and had lots of questions . I discussed these locally and agreement was reached that more resources needed to be available to ensure we were meeting our statutory duty. This is solely due to the meeting I attended so I am very keen to continue this partnership working.

Sharing ideas and discussing issues with local neighbours is informative and key to ensuring we are all providing a high quality service to families.

Tina Ironside, Dorset Council

What I value most about being part of NAFIS is the opportunities to share best practice and learn from other LAs who are grappling with the same issues. I’ve often put questions to the network, and I’m impressed by the helpful ad comprehensive replies, which I collate and share with members.

For example, last year we reviewed how we deal with DWP two year funding lists to encourage take-up, and information collated from other LAs on how they do this was hugely beneficial to the decisions we made.

I also represent the South West on the NAFIS steering group. We’re sometimes asked to comment on national policy from DfE, HMRC and Ofsted; so it’s an opportunity to get FISs ‘on the map’ and to influence key decisions. The Chair of NAFIS’s input into the issue last year when LAs stopped receiving Ofsted imports was invaluable; he was ‘the voice’ of all FISs and get the problem resolved.

Our NAFIS group are currently planning this year’s conference and some great ideas have been generated the agenda tackles the key issues that information services across the country are facing. I definitely think the membership fee is worth it!