Still below the radar angus mc cabePresentation Transcript
Below the Radar Still below the radar? Big Society, Localism and community groups: what now? Where next? Angus McCabe and Jenny Phillimore
STARTING POINTS 1
Perhaps one of the few remaining big mysteries in nonprofit sector research is the question of what we are missing by excluding those organisations from empirical investigations that are not easily captured in standard data sources. (Toepler, 2003: 236)
Bottom-up and community-led activities which so often bubble along under the radar are receiving new public recognition. This is in part because we are on the threshold of political change and deep economic restraint… (Oppenheim et al., 2010: 2).
STARTING POINTS 2
A literature review illustrating:
Less research into community activity (focus on formal voluntary organisation)
A fragmented literature
A grey literature
A literature with gaps and absences
Toepler remains true……so
DEFINING BELOW THE RADAR
Unregistered groups (unincorporated associations not on charity of other regulatory registers)
Income thresholds: under £10k (NCVO), under £25k (Thompson) under £35k (CEFET)
Below other ‘radars’: local directories, web, policy, funders etc.
Issue of ‘fuzzy’ boundaries and definitions
RESEARCHING MYTHS AND REALITIES
Drawing on the literature review:
Are community based/BTR groups distinctive/different?
A ‘sector’ or diverse sectors?
Charity deserts or ‘oases of activity’: mapping community activity below the radar
Communities lack capacity; learning, skills and knowledge in BTR groups
Who/what do we know least about?
A three level approach
Placing BTR activity in the policy debate context
Exploring specific ‘community sectors’ – arts, refugee and migrant, gypsy and traveller…..
Issue based model…how do people groups learn, gain skills, resources….
Starting with the policy context…
BUT…SOME EARLY CONTROVERSIES
The term ‘below the radar’: a deficit model of community activity?
Why map/micro map? A diversion or a central activity?
Expectations and contradictions: for every truth there is and equal and opposite truth
POLICY CONTEXT QUIZ 1
“ It is my belief, after a century in which to tackle social injustice the state has had to take power to ensure social progress, that to tackle the social injustices that still remain the state will have to give away power.”
Who said this?
And for a bonus point: When?
POLICY QUIZ 2
This is not just devolution that takes power from central government and gives it to local government, but power that goes from local government down to local people, providing a critical role for individuals and neighbourhoods, often through the voluntary sector.”
Who said this?
Which one? (a clue)
EXPECTATIONS OF COMMUNITY
“ You can call it liberalism. You can call it empowerment, you can call it freedom, you can call it responsibility. I call it the Big Society”
(Prime Minister David Cameron: 19th July 2010).
Increased role in (public) service delivery
More ‘active citizens’
Reconnecting the democratic process
A ‘bastion’ mitigating the effects of globalisation
COMMUNITY POLICY; CHANGE OR CONTINUITY: 1?
Big Society, localism – double devolution and ‘Communities in Control’ (2008)
Participatory budget setting
Asset transfer – The Quirk Review (2007)
National Citizen Service – Building Britain’s Future (2009)
Promotion of social enterprise
Social Investment Bank – Big Society Bank
Communities as ‘change agents’
COMMUNITY POLICY; CHANGE OR CONTINUITY: 2?
Continuity with a ‘new language’? From pathfinders to vanguards and kick-starts etc.
‘ Freedoms’ rather than targets
Speed of cuts/deficit reduction strategy
Change of ‘tone’ – from ‘nudge’ to ‘push’?
From community development to social action, but………
RESPONDING TO THE NEW POLICY ENVIRONMENT
No single ‘sector’ response:
‘ Bi-polar’: depending on role/positioning
The two ‘O’s: opportunity versus opposition
THE IMPACT OF CHANGE
Too early to tell – but early indications:
For many below the radar groups: no impact: receive no funding/not linked to governmental policy agendas
Loss of small grants/pro bono support for groups with wellbeing agendas (pensioner groups, mental health support groups etc.)
The ‘multiplier effect’?
LEARNING NEEDS FOR CHANGE
Delivering on localism, asset management etc. requires highly technical skills:
‘ Workforce’ management
Issue of cuts to infrastructure bodies but also
Reflecting on how people learn in community groups
A network model of learning
Different to ‘traditional’ capacity building
THE CHALLENGES OF DELIVERING THE NEW AGENDA 1
Rates of volunteering; static over last decade; concepts of a ‘civic core’
Understanding motivations: good citizens, social citizens or angry citizens?
Public perceptions of policy shifts
Change in role at a community level:
From active citizen to big citizen
From influence to management and responsibility
A reluctant civic core?
THE CHALLENGES OF DELIVERING THE NEW AGENDA 2
Aspirations or assumptions around philanthropic or corporate support for the delivery of public services
Social action versus individual rights: consumerism or citizenship?
The need for a ‘new public/civil servant’: from manager to ‘storyteller, architect or bricoleur’
Local freedoms versus ‘central influence/control’
THE CHALLENGES OF DELIVERING THE NEW AGENDA 3
‘ Scaling up’ or ‘replication’?
The nature of contracting: fewer and bigger?
Risk averse commissioning
‘ Barrier busting’ but barriers to community activity beyond government influence?
Funding and the ‘funding gap’ between ‘old’ and ‘new’ money
The private sector role: not bio-diversity?
Other????? Over to a debate…
THE QUESTION TREE
Using the ‘luggage tags’… big society, open public services and localism:
What the new policy agenda means to you?
What are the opportunities for community groups?
What are the challenges/threats for Community groups?
What are the challenges to Government in delivering the new policy agenda
Thriving community activity ‘beyond the state’: still below the radar
Struggling groups offering services to the public but not (statutory) public services
Increasing gap between have’s and have not’s in the ‘third sector’
Public perception of government, local government and the formal voluntary sector
Freedoms versus ‘checks and balances’
FURTHER INTO THE FUTURE?
“ I don’t want to predict what the future, say in five years, will look like for voluntary never mind community groups. There may be a leaner but more efficient and effective sector, a more entrepreneurial and business like sector – or just a leaner one. What we will see played out in some form is a profound change in the relationships between people, government and the sector.” (Development Agency Interview)
The below the radar reference group
And all the participants in the research so far. Thanks for the time, the commitment and keeping us going in difficult times