In defence of voluntary sector support services


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Wendy Stephenson, David Whittaker, Voscur and Alex Marsh, University of Bristol
Traditional infrastructure organisations create social impact through a broad range of support, parts of which are notoriously hard to measure. A 'market-led' approach arguably delivers focused improvements in performance that are much easier to evaluate. This session compares the practical and policy implications of both.

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  • Wendy: introduce VoscurDavid: presentationBoth: any questions
  • So what does that figure really mean … ?It means that for every £1 invested (through grants/contracts/earned income) Voscur creates £11.82 of social value in a variety of different ways.It is calculated by assessing:the social impact that Voscur’s member/customer organisations create for their clients/communitiesVoscur’s contribution to our members/customers’ improved performance and impact (13% and 12%)the broader (indirect) impact of Voscur’s work on local organisations and communitiesthe financial value to these social impactsDoes this approach capture impact? Yes, because:A) it takes a very broad approach to impact on: Voscur’s stakeholders (staff, board, volunteers, funders, partners)Organisations we work with directly (members, customers, partners, their clients)The wider local community (residents, public bodies, partners)B) it uses financial proxies from independent academic research to assign economic value.Does it measure value? Yes and no …
  • In defence of voluntary sector support services

    1. 1. David Whittaker In defence of voluntary sector support services: providing evidence of impact against a context of market driven service provision Alex Marsh
    2. 2. Outline  Introduction and expectations  Questions and discussion  Summary
    3. 3. Traditional infrastructure  Local CVSs  Public (local authority) core funding  Interrelated services: support, development, representation, advocacy, br okerage, collaboration  Impact on organisations and their clients in diverse ways - measurement difficult
    4. 4. Market-driven / demand-led  Austerity  Critique of ‘supply-side’ approaches:  Difficult to demonstrate value for money  Frontline groups have less say in support  Private sector support should be available
    5. 5. Demand-led to date  Trial and error / work-in-progress  Time / take-up / familiar providers  Customer and supplier capacity limited  Diagnosis of needs more important than thought  Automated processes still need human input A brave new world for voluntary sector infrastructure? Vouchers, markets and demand led capacity building Caron Walton and Rob Macmillan, March 2014 (TSRC)
    6. 6. Proving Our Value  Develop methodology / tool to measure the economic impact of infrastructure  University of Bristol SROI analysis - £11.82  Simplified tool for any infrastructure organisation now in development  Does this capture impact?  Does this measure value?
    7. 7. What makes a market function well?  Under what conditions would a market for infrastructure be more efficient?  Demand side  Choice is more effective than voice at signalling what is valuable  Informed consumers  Supply side  Economies of scale and scope limited  Barriers: transitional or structural?
    8. 8. Demand v supply  Demand-led:  Easier to quantify impact  Competition over cooperation  Doesn’t address representation, collaboration, advocacy  Supply-side:  Full range of support (and diagnosis)  Difficult to measure impact
    9. 9. Questions  Will a demand-led approach create more impact? Or just make what happens easier to measure?  How is the demand-led system developing in different parts of the country? Problems? Possibilities?  What sort of information are commissioners currently looking for on impact? (How) is it changing over time?  If the future is a market/demand-led system, what does this mean for infrastructure organisations and frontline groups?