Still below the radar angus mc cabe

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Still below the radar angus mc cabe

  1. 1. Below the Radar Still below the radar? Big Society, Localism and community groups: what now? Where next? Angus McCabe and Jenny Phillimore
  2. 2. STARTING POINTS 1 <ul><li>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) </li></ul><ul><li>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). </li></ul>
  3. 3. STARTING POINTS 2 <ul><li>A literature review illustrating: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Less research into community activity (focus on formal voluntary organisation) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A fragmented literature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A grey literature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A literature with gaps and absences </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Toepler remains true……so </li></ul>
  4. 4. DEFINING BELOW THE RADAR <ul><li>Unregistered groups (unincorporated associations not on charity of other regulatory registers) </li></ul><ul><li>Income thresholds: under £10k (NCVO), under £25k (Thompson) under £35k (CEFET) </li></ul><ul><li>Below other ‘radars’: local directories, web, policy, funders etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Issue of ‘fuzzy’ boundaries and definitions </li></ul>
  5. 5. RESEARCHING MYTHS AND REALITIES <ul><li>Drawing on the literature review: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are community based/BTR groups distinctive/different? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A ‘sector’ or diverse sectors? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Charity deserts or ‘oases of activity’: mapping community activity below the radar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communities lack capacity; learning, skills and knowledge in BTR groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who/what do we know least about? </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. RESEARCH ACTIVITY <ul><li>A three level approach </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Placing BTR activity in the policy debate context </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exploring specific ‘community sectors’ – arts, refugee and migrant, gypsy and traveller….. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Issue based model…how do people groups learn, gain skills, resources…. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Starting with the policy context… </li></ul>
  7. 7. BUT…SOME EARLY CONTROVERSIES <ul><li>The term ‘below the radar’: a deficit model of community activity? </li></ul><ul><li>Why map/micro map? A diversion or a central activity? </li></ul><ul><li>Expectations and contradictions: for every truth there is and equal and opposite truth </li></ul>
  8. 8. POLICY CONTEXT QUIZ 1 <ul><li>“ 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.” </li></ul><ul><li>Who said this? </li></ul><ul><li>And for a bonus point: When? </li></ul>
  9. 9. POLICY QUIZ 2 <ul><li>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.” </li></ul><ul><li>Who said this? </li></ul><ul><li>Which one? (a clue) </li></ul>
  10. 10. EXPECTATIONS OF COMMUNITY <ul><li>“ 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” </li></ul><ul><li>(Prime Minister David Cameron: 19th July 2010). </li></ul><ul><li>Increased role in (public) service delivery </li></ul><ul><li>More ‘active citizens’ </li></ul><ul><li>Asset management </li></ul><ul><li>Reconnecting the democratic process </li></ul><ul><li>A ‘bastion’ mitigating the effects of globalisation </li></ul>
  11. 11. COMMUNITY POLICY; CHANGE OR CONTINUITY: 1? <ul><li>Big Society, localism – double devolution and ‘Communities in Control’ (2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Participatory budget setting </li></ul><ul><li>Asset transfer – The Quirk Review (2007) </li></ul><ul><li>National Citizen Service – Building Britain’s Future (2009) </li></ul><ul><li>Promotion of social enterprise </li></ul><ul><li>Social Investment Bank – Big Society Bank </li></ul><ul><li>Communities as ‘change agents’ </li></ul>
  12. 12. COMMUNITY POLICY; CHANGE OR CONTINUITY: 2? <ul><li>Continuity with a ‘new language’? From pathfinders to vanguards and kick-starts etc. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Freedoms’ rather than targets </li></ul><ul><li>De-regulation </li></ul><ul><li>Speed of cuts/deficit reduction strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Change of ‘tone’ – from ‘nudge’ to ‘push’? </li></ul><ul><li>From community development to social action, but……… </li></ul>
  13. 13. RESPONDING TO THE NEW POLICY ENVIRONMENT <ul><li>No single ‘sector’ response: </li></ul><ul><li>Enthusiasts </li></ul><ul><li>Pragmatists </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Bi-polar’: depending on role/positioning </li></ul><ul><li>Reluctant followers </li></ul><ul><li>Opponents </li></ul><ul><li>The two ‘O’s: opportunity versus opposition </li></ul>
  14. 14. THE IMPACT OF CHANGE <ul><li>Too early to tell – but early indications: </li></ul><ul><li>For many below the radar groups: no impact: receive no funding/not linked to governmental policy agendas </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of small grants/pro bono support for groups with wellbeing agendas (pensioner groups, mental health support groups etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>The ‘multiplier effect’? </li></ul>
  15. 15. LEARNING NEEDS FOR CHANGE <ul><li>Delivering on localism, asset management etc. requires highly technical skills: </li></ul><ul><li>Asset management </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Complex legislation </li></ul><ul><li>Financial management </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Workforce’ management </li></ul>
  16. 16. DELIVERING LEARNING <ul><li>Issue of cuts to infrastructure bodies but also </li></ul><ul><li>Reflecting on how people learn in community groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Seeing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Doing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A network model of learning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Different to ‘traditional’ capacity building </li></ul>
  17. 17. THE CHALLENGES OF DELIVERING THE NEW AGENDA 1 <ul><li>Rates of volunteering; static over last decade; concepts of a ‘civic core’ </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding motivations: good citizens, social citizens or angry citizens? </li></ul><ul><li>Public perceptions of policy shifts </li></ul><ul><li>Change in role at a community level: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From active citizen to big citizen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From influence to management and responsibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A reluctant civic core? </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. THE CHALLENGES OF DELIVERING THE NEW AGENDA 2 <ul><li>Aspirations or assumptions around philanthropic or corporate support for the delivery of public services </li></ul><ul><li>Social action versus individual rights: consumerism or citizenship? </li></ul><ul><li>The need for a ‘new public/civil servant’: from manager to ‘storyteller, architect or bricoleur’ </li></ul><ul><li>Local freedoms versus ‘central influence/control’ </li></ul>
  19. 19. THE CHALLENGES OF DELIVERING THE NEW AGENDA 3 <ul><li>‘ Scaling up’ or ‘replication’? </li></ul><ul><li>The nature of contracting: fewer and bigger? </li></ul><ul><li>Risk averse commissioning </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Barrier busting’ but barriers to community activity beyond government influence? </li></ul><ul><li>Funding and the ‘funding gap’ between ‘old’ and ‘new’ money </li></ul><ul><li>The private sector role: not bio-diversity? </li></ul><ul><li>Other????? Over to a debate… </li></ul>
  20. 20. THE QUESTION TREE <ul><li>Using the ‘luggage tags’… big society, open public services and localism: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What the new policy agenda means to you? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the opportunities for community groups? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the challenges/threats for Community groups? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the challenges to Government in delivering the new policy agenda </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. FUTURE GAZING <ul><li>Thriving community activity ‘beyond the state’: still below the radar </li></ul><ul><li>Struggling groups offering services to the public but not (statutory) public services </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing gap between have’s and have not’s in the ‘third sector’ </li></ul><ul><li>Public perception of government, local government and the formal voluntary sector </li></ul><ul><li>Freedoms versus ‘checks and balances’ </li></ul><ul><li>Equalities </li></ul>
  22. 22. FURTHER INTO THE FUTURE? <ul><li>“ 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) </li></ul>
  23. 23. AND FINALLY <ul><li>Thanks to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The below the radar reference group </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Volunteers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research Associates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And all the participants in the research so far. Thanks for the time, the commitment and keeping us going in difficult times </li></ul></ul>

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