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Third Sector Partnership Board (Read only)

Last post 14/04/2008, 9:45 AM by Cherron Inko-Tariah. 7 replies.

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  • Third Sector Partnership Board (Read only)

    Communities and Local Government and many in the third sector share the same broad vision of prosperous and cohesive communities. In addressing our long term challenges we recognise a stronger partnership with the sector is necessary.

    We are proud of what we already do to enable a healthy sector. But we can achieve more. In addressing our long term challenges, Communities and Local Government is committed to strengthening its relationship with third sector partners. That is why Communities and Local Government has established a Third Sector Partnership Board.

    The purpose of the Board is to facilitate critical challenge between the sector, local government and the Department on how to improve the Department’s understanding of the third sector and the role the sector might play in delivering Departmental objectives. 

    To help shape discussions and engage contributions more widely from outside the Partnership Board, we have set up this online discussion forum. We want to give you the opportunity to share your comments and concerns and feed directly into the Board dialogue. We want to hear from third sector organisations, local government and other stakeholders.

    The next Partnership Board meeting is in May 2008 and the proposed items on the agenda are innovation, worklessness, and volunteering.

    The Young Foundation has recently produced a report looking at how local areas innovate to address changing social needs. This report is available from the following link: http://www.youngfoundation.org/files/images/Local_Social_Web.pdf (external link).

    To start off this online forum discussion, we would therefore welcome your comments on the following question:

    How can CLG work with its national and local partners to enhance the potential of communities so that public sector innovation results in ideas that work?

    This question will run until Friday 11 April 2008.

    Cherron Inko-Tariah (Moderator)

  • 316 in reply to 311
    26/02/2008, 2:28 PM :: Posted by Alex Brown (Posts 3)

    Re: Third Sector Partnership Board

    As is typical of government when it comes to the so called third sector this board once again seems to ignore the real community sector.  By this I refer to the volunteers in local community and tenant and resident groups across the country who normally get excluded from policy and strategy discussions and equally importantly from funding opportunities.  We as a sector represent the real people who have ideas imposed upon us without being consulted and could frequently point out where some of these strategies are wrong on a practical day to day basis.

     This sector resents having to go cap in hand to the CVS or other similar bodies for funding when we have an idea to implement, the perception of many ( and often accurately) is that the CVS and other bodies are highly paid professionals whose main aim in life is to secure enough funding to keep them in post, often by building into a bid a large sum for a Community Development worker, when this is not what the community asked for.

    Bring in people from this sector to the board, or at least arrange for the genuine voluntary sector to meet with the board to look at ways that these problems can be overcome.

    Alex Brown

  • Re: Third Sector Partnership Board

    Alex

    Thanks very much for your posting. In setting up the Partnership Board, the Department was keen to ensure that it had a cross section of the sector on the Board. Members were selected based on their experience, not necessarily their current role or organisation. 

    The Department has a non departmental public body called the National Community Forum. The members of the Forum are people who either live, work (or both) in deprived areas. Their aim is to give Government the grassroots perspective and to tell us exactly how our policies impact on local communities. One of the members sits on the Partnership Board. To read more about the Forum, please go to:

    http://www.communities.gov.uk/communities/communityempowerment/whatweare/ncf/

    We want this discussion forum to be an opportunity for a wider audience to contribute to the agenda of the board and influence/shape the discussion so that we can take into account as many views as possible.

    The next Board meeting will cover issues on social innovation, worklessness and volunteering and these will therefore form the topics of discussion for the next few weeks.

    If you have any comments on the question posed around social innovation and how it impacts on voluntary groups, I would welcome them.

    regards

    Cherron

  • 337 in reply to 336
    14/03/2008, 9:30 AM :: Posted by Alex Brown (Posts 3)

    Re: Third Sector Partnership Board

    Cherron

    Many tenant and resident groups and community associations run schemes that help with community engagement and provide either training or work placements within the community.  My own association in Braithwaite manage a community centre, all the management team being volunteers.  Within the centre apart from the usual activities for parent and toddlers, youth and senior citizens groups we also run two social enterprises.  The first is the Community Learning Cafe, which largely run by volunteers employs two part time staff,  The key focus though is on the training element, all volunteers are given training in health and safety issues and put through level two food hygene training.  The aim is that we give our volunteers the opportunity to gain skills that they can transfer to employment elsewhere.  The cafe has formed relationships with several local schools including one special needs and offers work experience to students.

    The other smaller enterprise is the Community Lifestyle project which has been set up to encourage the community to eat a more healthy diet by providing fruit and vegetables locally at competitive prices, this is harder than the cafe but is working slowly.

    We are typical of many community based projects, locally there are several who provide recycled furniture, community transport and recycled computer equipment along with work experience, training and some full time employment opportunities. 

    Organisations such as mine find that new projects take far too long to get of the ground because of problems engaging with funders.  Other problems are encountered with benefits agencies who target volunteers for scrutiny above that of those who stay at home doing nothing.

    Alex

  • 343 in reply to 311
    27/03/2008, 11:51 AM :: Posted by Tom Flood (Posts 1)

    Re: Third Sector Partnership Board

    As the Board will be discussing Volunteering, I would like to bring to its attention a new evaluation study by the Glasgow Caledonian University of the 'Greenspaces Programme' and the value of Environmental volunteering in delivering improvements to the environment, social cohesion and life skills. It follows on from the Dalgeish report to the then Scottish Executive that has helped to shape the approach to Regeneration, how public are used to support Third Sector NGOs and deliver sustainable communities. The Dalgeish report is available on line at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2007/02/01161357/1
    The report on the Green Spaces Progranne by Glasgow Caledonian Univeristy can be made available on disc by request to Elena Fabbrani, E.Fabbrani@btcv.org.uk.
     
    Tom Flood, BTCV CEO
  • 344 in reply to 311
    28/03/2008, 5:51 PM :: Posted by Braiswick (Posts 2)

    Re: Third Sector Partnership Board

    Glad I made it on the last day - I've tried several times to register.

    As a third sector volunteer, chairman of a CIC and trustee of a voluntary support organisation and director of a social enterprise regional association I'm disturbed at the wastage of funds. Bright new ideas appear, like confetti, a web site, secretariat, and a strategy (of sorts) appear. Some time later the initial team has moved on, the idea dropped, the funding transferred to (yet another) bright idea.

    At no stage does anyone ask the micro-provider what they want. Perhaps that's because all the support organisations know what is really wanted - and that's funding that allows sustainable development. We don't need training, we don't need advice - especially when it's provided by people who clearly have little idea of how we operate, and certainly not what we want.

    Instead we become just another statistic -another target satisfied. Everyone moves on, outwardly showing smug faces, and those with any conscience feeling concerned that they haven't really helped.

    It may be just a story, but I'm told that in the early days of the Notting Hill Carnival all you had to do was say you had a band, and would be in the carnival - nothing more. As a result a cheque appeared and you were left to get on with it.

    That produced an internationally respected event. It cost very little, and the money was used by those for whom it was intended.

    There should be a central agency where we lodge our Mem & Arts, our policies on myriad range of significant areas that need a policy, perhaps our insurances, details of directors and bank accounts. Once there, and updated with a yearly report, there should be no need to provide all that information, endlessly, to funders, to local authorities, to lenders. It would save millions of wasted hours.

    Core funding is an unsupported issue - and we all need such funding. In most cases it is the only funding we require. Once that's in place we can create our own projects - and then seek funding for those. This 'bottom-up' approach is essential.

    My county issued a contract to identify the social enterprises in the county. Did it turn to the social enterprise network that already existed? Oh no, instead it went elsewhere to an ACRE who had a vague concept of what an SE was, but didn't know any. Was that £30K wasted in identifying 20-30 social enterprises? It was.

    Better to have used that cash in supporting 2-3 organisations that were known, and by diffusion other SEs would have jumped out of the bushes, eager for cash.

    We are moving towards public procurement, in a dreamy haze. VCS will need support to do the job properly. Instead they are faced by a mountain of administration. As a result we shall soon see national organisations, quasi-private, getting the contracts, and the effective small organisation squeezed out.

    In my county 25% of the workforce are in public employ. Of the remainder 90% work for firms with less than 4 employees - and that goes for VCS as well.

    Trouble is government can only think in big lumps.

    We can help - give us the allocated funds to manage and we'll ensure we all get value for money. 

     

  • 359 in reply to 311
    09/04/2008, 11:16 AM :: Posted by Helen Voce (Posts 1)

    Re: Third Sector Partnership Board

    I'd be interested to hear the thinking behind the decision to drop the strategic partners scheme. I notice that the money will be still be earmarked for the sector. Where are you going to ask for ideas?
  • Re: Third Sector Partnership Board

    Thank you for your comment.
     
    Since last year, the department has been placing an increasing emphasis on the role of the third sector to deliver our aims of increasing empowerment, encouraging social enterprise and tackling worklessness and we are very keen to ensure that we develop a deeper and stronger collaboration in all these areas. These aims were not reflected adequately in the original application documentation for the Strategic Partners scheme and so no longer offers value for money for Government.
     
    We believe a different approach is needed in view of these developments and we are pleased to let you know that the funding remains in place to support the third sector. The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears, has asked officials to develop revised proposals which we will aim to launch very quickly.
     
    The department is keen to reassure you that we remain committed to working with the third sector in the future. The third sector is absolutely vital to Government in delivering our policies to empower communities and give people a real say in improving local services.
     
    The forum is now closed but will reopen soon.

    Many thanks to everyone who contributed.
    Regards
    Cherron (Moderator)

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