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A new direction for infrastructure•Bill Freeman, Director of Services and Business Development,NAVCA•Dr Rob Macmillan, Res...
Third sector infrastructure             an unsettled state and an uncertain future                               Dr. Rob M...
In brief…•   Context… the voluntary and community sector is experiencing    a great ‘unsettlement’, and particularly its i...
Context: the great ‘unsettlement’‘Shake-out’?    - organisations and projects downsizing or coming to an end‘Shake-up’?   ...
Researching infrastructureThree basic questions addressed in research on infrastructure andcapacity building:1. Purpose/Th...
1. What is infrastructure for?Key questions•   What do we mean by infrastructure and capacity building?•   What is it for?...
2. How is infrastructure organised? Key questions • What does it do? (support, linkage, and voice) • How is it provided? (...
3. What difference does it make?Key questions - the ‘so what’ question…•   What does infrastructure seek to achieve and wh...
A changing landscape of and for infrastructure• De-coupling - withdrawal of central state support for national and  local ...
An emerging research agendaKey questions seem to be about:1. How can we understand this emerging landscape of and for   in...
For discussion…Why should infrastructure organisations decide what kinds ofsupport are provided – why not let frontline or...
Value ofInfrastructure Programme     (VIP)Sakthi Suriyaprakasam
VIP supports you toVIP AimsAssess impactImprove impactCommunicate impactWorking and learning togetherTalking to funders
Engagement with VIP• 99 members of the VIP Ideas group• 89 attended development workshops through   2009-10• 100 organisat...
Principles Growing impact is even more important than showing it Contribution not attribution Evidence not proof This ...
Representation                                                                                        ConsultationInfrastr...
From functions to impact                                                    supportive                                    ...
Dials give                   Organisation   pictures of                       Dial                                   Chang...
VIP Online
Update• 115 Infrastructure organisations trained by  end of Feb 2012• TLI partnerships trained on VIP• Sustainability of t...
Response to VIPVIP interim evaluation October 2011Training:•Overall very positive response to theframework and tools•98% u...
Response to VIP cont.Use of framework and tools•For those in the early stages understandingtheir impact was key•95% said t...
Journey of change1.          2. Clarity of   3. Focus       4.              5. Changing andMuddling    purpose.        and...
How VIP moves agencies up the JOC• The training helps people move from 1-2 by clarifying  their impact• The tools support ...
Opportunities• Shared language and agreement about purpose• Collaboration with a positive focus –   – joint approach to ta...
Challenges• Timescale for evidence to emerge• Embedding new systems and ongoing learning• Implementing improvement in the ...
Challenges and changes              for VCS infrastructure                        Bill Freeman         ‘A new direction fo...
Areas I will cover...• The NAVCA network and our work on impact.• External drivers affecting VCS infrastructure.• Internal...
The NAVCA Network• Around 400 member organisations covering most local  authority areas in England, including:    – Provid...
The NAVCA Quality Award• Around 100 members hold NAVCA’s Quality Award and a  further 40 are working towards it.• It enabl...
Understanding infrastructure organisations                        Political                      legitimacy              T...
External drivers affecting VCS infrastructure• State funding for infrastructure thought to be in decline.• State initiativ...
External drivers affecting VCS infrastructure• Drive for services to be “digital by default”.• Greater emphasis on role of...
Transforming Local Infrastructure• £30million competitive fund from OCS.• One bid was allowed per upper-tier local authori...
Transforming Local Infrastructure• Aim was for sustainability in the long-term without ongoing  support from central Gover...
Demand-led capacity building• National dialogue and emerging practice:    –   Real Help for Communities Modernisation Fund...
Demand-led capacity building• Public and charitable funds, so safeguards need to be in place:    – Diagnostic review to id...
Demand-led capacity building• Concerns about the approach:    – Where’s the evidence base of its effectiveness? – BIG Assi...
Internal challenges affecting VCS infrastructure• Leading in difficult times.• Strain on funding model requires rethinking...
Leading in difficult times• The most frequent areas of challenge identified in NAVCA’s  2011 Chief Executives survey were:...
Leading in difficult times• Other challenges that featured in multiple responses were:   – morale and motivation;   – poli...
New areas of focus for income generation        Reducing operating costs                                    Doing it alrea...
Promising solutions• We need tools and approaches which work in real-time to  help us be more agile and adaptive in a dyna...
Promising solutions• Keeping conversation with the State about the priority of  funding those infrastructure activities wh...
For discussion…• When it comes to thinking about the future  providers of infrastructure support and services, do  we need...
About NAVCA  • We are the national membership body for local support    and development organisations.  • We strengthen an...
For discussion…Why should infrastructure organisations decide what kinds ofsupport are provided – why not let frontline or...
A new direction for infrastructure (NCVO Annual Conference 2012)
A new direction for infrastructure (NCVO Annual Conference 2012)
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A new direction for infrastructure (NCVO Annual Conference 2012)

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More presentations from the NCVO Annual conference:
http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/networking-discussions/blogs/20591


Sakthi Suriyaprakasam, Value of Infrastructure team, NCVO
Rob Macmillan, Research Fellow, Third Sector Research Centre
Bill Freeman, Director of Services and Business Development, NAVCA

In the current context of funding cuts and the focus on frontline organisations, where do infrastructure or support organisations fit? Join us for a highly interactive workshop that will address key questions for infrastructure groups, including how infrastructure organisations can demonstrate their value effectively, how you work with funders and charities to make the biggest difference and how we can work together differently to shape the future of infrastructure ourselves.

You will have the opportunity to connect with representatives from across the sector to actively discuss and decide how infrastructure can respond to the challenges it is facing.

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  • Transcript of "A new direction for infrastructure (NCVO Annual Conference 2012)"

    1. 1. A new direction for infrastructure•Bill Freeman, Director of Services and Business Development,NAVCA•Dr Rob Macmillan, Research Fellow, Third Sector ResearchCentre (TSRC)•Sakthi Suriyaprakasam, Consultant, NCVO Value ofInfrastructure Programme
    2. 2. Third sector infrastructure an unsettled state and an uncertain future Dr. Rob Macmillan Third Sector Research Centre University of Birmingham NCVO Annual Conference ‘Moving Forward: Solutions and Inspiration’ London, 5th March 2012 Funded by:Hosted by:
    3. 3. In brief…• Context… the voluntary and community sector is experiencing a great ‘unsettlement’, and particularly its infrastructure• Research… on infrastructure and ‘capacity building’ tends to address three main questions: o Purpose (not much research here) o Organisation (lots here) o Value (not so much here)• Looking ahead and an emerging research agenda… focusing on a changing landscape of and for infrastructure, such as making a market, reconfiguration and hollowing out
    4. 4. Context: the great ‘unsettlement’‘Shake-out’? - organisations and projects downsizing or coming to an end‘Shake-up’? - enterprise - reconfiguration - demonstrating value‘Room’ – is there enough for everyone?The state and the VCS - a partial decoupling?
    5. 5. Researching infrastructureThree basic questions addressed in research on infrastructure andcapacity building:1. Purpose/Theory: What is infrastructure; what is it for? • Leat, D. (2011) New tools for a new world (or why we need to rethink capacity building)2. Operation/Organisation: What does it do; how is it organised? • Harker, A. and Burkeman, S. (2007) Building Blocks • Shared Intelligence (2010) Learning from mergers3. Value/Impact: What difference does it make? • Halton and St Helens VCA (2011) Inside the black box – Discovering what really works
    6. 6. 1. What is infrastructure for?Key questions• What do we mean by infrastructure and capacity building?• What is it for?• What is its rationale or ‘theory of change’?• What role does it play?• Why does it exist?• Who wants or needs it and what for? (e.g. support needs of frontline organisations; funders and public bodies)• Who uses it and what for?
    7. 7. 2. How is infrastructure organised? Key questions • What does it do? (support, linkage, and voice) • How is it provided? (interventions, mechanisms and practices) • Who does it? (organisations, consortia, networks and federations, consultants, peers) • How is it organised? o Function - generalist and specialist o Constituency – whole sector or specific field o Scale – national, regional, local o Sector – third sector, public sector, private sector • How do infrastructure organisations relate to each other? (duplication, competition, collaboration, merger) • How is it financed? (grants, contracts, fees and charges) • How is it governed? (stakeholders and their influence - funders, public bodies, partners, members and users)
    8. 8. 3. What difference does it make?Key questions - the ‘so what’ question…• What does infrastructure seek to achieve and what does it achieve?• How can or should infrastructure be evaluated?• By what criteria should infrastructure be judged? — organisational effectiveness and influence — value for money and distance travelled — accreditation systems and quality marks — benchmarking and public rating systems• How can its value be articulated and demonstrated?
    9. 9. A changing landscape of and for infrastructure• De-coupling - withdrawal of central state support for national and local infrastructure?• ‘Demand-led’ approaches - making markets in infrastructure?• Changing demands and challenges facing frontline organisations• Reconfiguration and a changing geography - transforming local infrastructure• Changing delivery mechanisms: — on-line support; peer to peer learning; community organising; incubation and shelter• Hollowing out of infrastructure organisations?
    10. 10. An emerging research agendaKey questions seem to be about:1. How can we understand this emerging landscape of and for infrastructure?2. How are markets being made in infrastructure?3. How are infrastructure organisations and relationships being reconfigured?4. What do frontline organisations (and their funders) need, want and expect from infrastructure?5. Which direction does infrastructure face: to public bodies or to its members and users?
    11. 11. For discussion…Why should infrastructure organisations decide what kinds ofsupport are provided – why not let frontline organisationsdecide?
    12. 12. Value ofInfrastructure Programme (VIP)Sakthi Suriyaprakasam
    13. 13. VIP supports you toVIP AimsAssess impactImprove impactCommunicate impactWorking and learning togetherTalking to funders
    14. 14. Engagement with VIP• 99 members of the VIP Ideas group• 89 attended development workshops through 2009-10• 100 organisations piloted tools(55 IOs and 42 frontline)
    15. 15. Principles Growing impact is even more important than showing it Contribution not attribution Evidence not proof This is a leadership issue, not a measurement issue Impact assessment works best when it fits quietly into day-to- day working practices rather than being a burdensome extra
    16. 16. Representation ConsultationInfrastructureFunctions Influence Promote Direct Support Develop Infrastructure Facilitating Learning Networking Connect Information Advice Guidance Collaboration BrokeringThis functions map has been developed by National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) for theValue of Infrastructure Programme. It is based on PERFORM: the Outcomes Framework for Infrastructure.Also influenced by the ‘Engage, Develop, Influence’ Model of Infrastructure Functionas developed by Growing up in the West Midlands (G:Up)
    17. 17. From functions to impact supportive Influence external strong dynamic agencies organisations sector Infrastructure strong Develop Infrastructure Impactsorganisations supportive capable Connect dynamic external people sector agencies
    18. 18. Dials give Organisation pictures of Dial Change Sector Dial Organisation Case Study Template Sector Case Study Internal Template Organisation Survey Survey of Sector Organisations Questions VIP Tools Action and give stats11 Tools to mix and match Review Grid External Agency Dial People Case External Agency Case Study Questions studies Template give External Agency stories Interview
    19. 19. VIP Online
    20. 20. Update• 115 Infrastructure organisations trained by end of Feb 2012• TLI partnerships trained on VIP• Sustainability of training and online system• Impact of Infrastructure 2012 Conference 25th April
    21. 21. Response to VIPVIP interim evaluation October 2011Training:•Overall very positive response to theframework and tools•98% understood the framework and tools•64% were keen to use the VIP tools•76% felt VIP Online would help them capturetheir impact
    22. 22. Response to VIP cont.Use of framework and tools•For those in the early stages understandingtheir impact was key•95% said the tools were either ‘excellent’ or‘mostly good and useful’•76% had used one or more tools– 44% theOrganisation Dial•Other dials, survey questions and case studiesalso used
    23. 23. Journey of change1. 2. Clarity of 3. Focus 4. 5. Changing andMuddling purpose. and Interpreting communicating.through. Can measuring. and learning Put learningNot clear articulate Work to Analyse into practice.about impact but outcomes & data, Canimpact, not measure collect data interpret and demonstrateopen to this except draw out effectivenesslearning. ad hoc. learning
    24. 24. How VIP moves agencies up the JOC• The training helps people move from 1-2 by clarifying their impact• The tools support the shift from 2-3 by enabling measurement of impact• VIP Online is important to moving from 3-4 by providing data• It is less clear yet how VIP supports agencies to move from 4-5But• starting point and willingness/being ready to change key• The external environment
    25. 25. Opportunities• Shared language and agreement about purpose• Collaboration with a positive focus – – joint approach to tackling common issues, e.g. external agency – Data sharing/referrals – Setting baselines at a local level and working together on shared targets – Using the system and generating information on future priorities• Data on impact of infrastructure sector as a whole• Communicate to and engage with our stakeholders about the value of infrastructure
    26. 26. Challenges• Timescale for evidence to emerge• Embedding new systems and ongoing learning• Implementing improvement in the context of change
    27. 27. Challenges and changes for VCS infrastructure Bill Freeman ‘A new direction for infrastructure’ workshop NCVO Annual Conference - 5 March 201206/03/2012 NAVCA 28
    28. 28. Areas I will cover...• The NAVCA network and our work on impact.• External drivers affecting VCS infrastructure.• Internal challenges affecting VCS infrastructure.• Promising solutions.06/03/201206/03/2012 NAVCA 29 29
    29. 29. The NAVCA Network• Around 400 member organisations covering most local authority areas in England, including: – Providers of a comprehensive range of support and services which embrace all types of organisations in the sector. – Organisations specialising in providing certain types of activity and/or serving particular client groups.• All full members required to be charities and membership associations themselves.• Largely state-funded (c.80%) with other income from fees (membership and charged-for services).06/03/201206/03/2012 NAVCA 30 30
    30. 30. The NAVCA Quality Award• Around 100 members hold NAVCA’s Quality Award and a further 40 are working towards it.• It enables them to demonstrate effectiveness in achieving better outcomes for their local groups across five standards which relate to their core functions.• It involves self-assessment and audit which includes the testimony of critical external stakeholders.• Organisations of all size and shape are able to achieve the Award and renew it every three years.06/03/2012 NAVCA 31
    31. 31. Understanding infrastructure organisations Political legitimacy Technical Bestowed legitimacy legitimacy06/03/2012 NAVCA 32
    32. 32. External drivers affecting VCS infrastructure• State funding for infrastructure thought to be in decline.• State initiatives to bring about supply-side reform, e.g. Transforming Local Infrastructure Fund.• Quality, innovation and efficiency will be driven by… – Collaboration, reorganisation and integration. – Competition and choice.06/03/201206/03/2012 NAVCA 33 33
    33. 33. External drivers affecting VCS infrastructure• Drive for services to be “digital by default”.• Greater emphasis on role of the private sector in and VCS support providers being more businesslike.• More demand-led approach to capacity building and wider ‘marketisation’.• The pace of change in the policy and funding environment, requires infrastructure organisations to respond faster, whilst not being immune from pressures themselves.06/03/201206/03/2012 NAVCA 34 34
    34. 34. Transforming Local Infrastructure• £30million competitive fund from OCS.• One bid was allowed per upper-tier local authority; 72 awards made (about half of total).• Projects encouraged to focus on: – collaboration and consolidation; – redesign and integration of services; – Better links with local businesses; – peer-to peer support; and – stronger partnerships with local statutory bodies.06/03/201206/03/2012 NAVCA 35 35
    35. 35. Transforming Local Infrastructure• Aim was for sustainability in the long-term without ongoing support from central Government.• NAVCA is helping successful and unsuccessful areas to share good practice, exchange information and find the best way forward.• Big Lottery Fund is planning a distinct and additional investment in funding support services for voluntary organisations of at least £20 million.06/03/201206/03/2012 NAVCA 36 36
    36. 36. Demand-led capacity building• National dialogue and emerging practice: – Real Help for Communities Modernisation Fund (2009). – OCS supporting civil society consultation (2010). – BIG “Building capabilities for impact and legacy” (2011). – Worcestershire County Council (2011).• In demand-led schemes organisations needing or seeking support are given money or a voucher to purchase it directly.• Main benefits: – Greater choice, control and tailoring for recipient organisations. – Broader range of suppliers drives quality, innovation and efficiency.06/03/201206/03/2012 NAVCA 37 37
    37. 37. Demand-led capacity building• Public and charitable funds, so safeguards need to be in place: – Diagnostic review to identify needs. – Quality assured list of providers.• Can it work? Yes, but... – It needs to be built around VCS infrastructure which already has the reach, profile and trust in place to make it work. – It needs everyone to work differently, not just suppliers. – There have to be some standards and adherence to good practice.06/03/201206/03/2012 NAVCA 38 38
    38. 38. Demand-led capacity building• Concerns about the approach: – Where’s the evidence base of its effectiveness? – BIG Assist programme will help us answer this question. – Makes tackling sector-wide issues harder. – Decouples connection and benefits derived from funding organisations to do both representation and capacity building. – Impact on health of local voluntary sector if the system favours private sector providers – such as no reinvestment or leverage of additional funds; scepticism from recent cases (Hounslow). – Can it work for supporting new and emerging groups?06/03/201206/03/2012 NAVCA 39 39
    39. 39. Internal challenges affecting VCS infrastructure• Leading in difficult times.• Strain on funding model requires rethinking or refining business model for many organisations.• Some of our language and labels might need redefinition.• Previously reliable tools not suited to the new environment.06/03/201206/03/2012 NAVCA 40 40
    40. 40. Leading in difficult times• The most frequent areas of challenge identified in NAVCA’s 2011 Chief Executives survey were: – financial climate and funding; – workload and capacity issues; – uncertainty and responding to change; and – managing relationships and dealing with conflict.06/03/201206/03/2012 NAVCA 41 41
    41. 41. Leading in difficult times• Other challenges that featured in multiple responses were: – morale and motivation; – political and policy environment; – difficulties with trustees; – engagement (or, more accurately, disengagement); – increased competition; and – managing expectations.06/03/201206/03/2012 NAVCA 42 42
    42. 42. New areas of focus for income generation Reducing operating costs Doing it already Bidding consortia Building/premises Not doing it and don’t plan to Fees for consultancy Non-infrastructure contracts Not doing it, but plan to Local businesses More member-only benefits Selling to each other Trading companyPhilanthropists/individual donors Commissions 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 06/03/2012 NAVCA 43
    43. 43. Promising solutions• We need tools and approaches which work in real-time to help us be more agile and adaptive in a dynamic environment. – More strategy, not so much strategic planning. – Stronger emphasis on marketing and branding.• Choosing business models which are about resilience, rather than sustainability. – ‘Networked non-profit’ principles (Wei-Skillern and Marciano, 2008). – Virtual CVS? – Fiscal sponsorship - a way to make it OK to do frontline services?06/03/2012 NAVCA 44
    44. 44. Promising solutions• Keeping conversation with the State about the priority of funding those infrastructure activities which cannot be marketised.• Only doing things which are known to be impactful.• Ensuring ‘demand-led ’ capacity building about evolution, not revolution.06/03/2012 NAVCA 45
    45. 45. For discussion…• When it comes to thinking about the future providers of infrastructure support and services, do we need evolution or revolution?06/03/2012 NAVCA 46
    46. 46. About NAVCA • We are the national membership body for local support and development organisations. • We strengthen and champion the work of our members in representing, supporting and developing voluntary and community action. • Our support and services include: – policy information, insight and ideas; – advice and guidance; – hands-on support and facilitation; – training and networking opportunities. • Email: bill.freeman@navca.org.uk.06/03/201206/03/2012 NAVCA 47 47
    47. 47. For discussion…Why should infrastructure organisations decide what kinds ofsupport are provided – why not let frontline organisationsdecide?We need to completely re-think what impact we are measuringand how we communicate this in the light of decreasing publicfunding and a move towards a market-led economyWhen it comes to thinking about the future providers ofinfrastructure support and services, do we need evolution orrevolution?
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