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Voluntary Sector North West and CLES research partnership

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  1. Voluntary Sector North West and CLES research partnership Demonstrating the local economic and social value of grant-making with the vcs Neil McInroy, Chief Executive, CLES Matthew Jackson, Senior Policy Researcher, CLES

  2. CLES Independent charity. No commercial sponsor or government grants What is CLES? 20 staff: planners, geographers, local government, environmental scientists, economists Established 1986 Growing-but will stay small Economic development but with social fairness and within limits of environment Hybrid; research, consultancy, members UK, but also work in Europe and beyond!

  3. CLES Research and policy work • Economic resilience: • Norfolk Fellowship international research project • CLES resilience Pilot – with 12 Local Authorities • Economic and social tools • Economic footprint of public sector in Manchester, Swindon, West Lothian • Sustainable benefits of ‘progressive’ public spend (with APSE) • Social return on investment modelling and Social network analysis • LEAN Local Economic Assessment network • Economic Policy work • North West England Integrated Regional Strategy Review

  4. CLES Research and policy work • Futures work: • Future city game (with British council) – Moscow, Pilsen, Blackburn, Riga and now in South West • Green Economy: • Green skills/green new deal/green behaviours • Financing economies/regeneration • Equity finance/changing behaviours to venture capital • Poverty/economic inclusion • Anti-Poverty strategies • Well being • Evaluation of BIG lottery well being programme (with New economics foundation)

  5. Today Broad overview of policy Objectives of research Findings from north west research Concluding thoughts Discussion

  6. Background to work • Been a move toward service contracts opposed to grants in recent years • This research work anticipated that this trend would continue • The known unknowns is that things are changing • Philosophically – changing relationship between the state, society and individual – a new social contract? • New discourse- ‘Big Society’, ‘civil society’, ‘Office for Civil society’ • Cuts and a new social contract – can you do both? • The government thinks we can and the VCS is key to this new social contract • ‘Big Society’ requires a cultural shift from the commercial sector in terms giving (philanthrocapitalism), and in investment

  7. Background to work Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil society - three fold approach: ‘the sector's share of the cake will grow, even if the cake shrinks’ ‘there is philanthropy, which has struggled to make progress, and we have said that we need a concerted effort to deliver a step change in cultural attitudes to giving.’ ‘social investment, and it is money from sources that are prepared to consider a blend of traditional financial return and social impact. That source is worth about £1 billion, but it could be worth a great deal more’

  8. Objectives of research To seek to demonstrate the continued viability and value of grant making in the region To think again about the move towards contracting as a panacea for development To unpack voluntary and community sector policy and the definitive role of grant making in that policy To demonstrate the scale of grant making in the region and the distribution of that grant funding To explore the local social and economic impact of grant making To influence national policy thinking

  9. Stage 1 – think-piece • Economic and social value of grants explored around three supposed ‘values ‘ • 1. Operational values • Grants as start-up capital • Grants as stimulators of innovation • Grants as a fosterer of partnership • Grants as sustainers of organisational ethos • Grants as enablers of economic viability • 2. Local economic • Grants as stimulators of local employment and volunteering • Grants as fosterers of entrepreneurship • Grants as value adders to mainstream delivery

  10. Stage 1 – think-piece • Economic and social value of grants explored around three themes: • 3. Local social benefits • Grants as facilitators of social interaction • Grants as tacklers of worklessness and deprivation • Grants as area and environmental improvers • Grants as providers of needed and bespoke support services

  11. Stage 2 – survey • Headline descriptions: • Response rate of 37%- accounted for £126million of grant-making in NW • An actual added to projection- £16million of grant-making given by Local Authorities • 44% of grant issued in Greater Manchester • Strong reliance in Cheshire and Lancashire upon one grant-maker • 21.3% of grant issued for volunteering activities • 29.9% of grant issued for children (5-16) focused activities

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  17. Stage 2 – survey • Key results – views on the shift from grants to contracts • It all depends upon time and capacity • Grants should always be the starting point • Contracting discourages innovation • It assumes the sector is homogenous with similar bidding capacity • It is ‘the future’ • Key results – the impact upon the region on service contracts • It has favoured a small minority of VCS –the big ones • Shift to contracts has not seen the mainstreaming of worthwhile community projects • It has had an adverse effect in two-tier areas and ‘localness’

  18. Conclusions and Recommendations • Conclusions from research • Grants are the trigger point for start-up • There is a reliance on one grant maker –very vulnerable • Grants spark innovation , creativity and neighbourhood level ideas • Contracts are not always wanted nor is there capacity, skills or aptitude in the region to deliver • Grants enable a string of operational, economic and social values • Grants allow for cooperation and partnership not competition • Grants enable VCS to retain ethos/activism, geography and values • Some recommendations for VSNW - online database of grant-issuers and grants issued in the region

  19. Conclusions and Recommendations • Wider conclusions and thoughts • An effervescent ‘civil society’ needs grants • Grants spark innovation , creativity and neighbourhood level ideas • Will the cuts agenda result in the commercial outsourcing agenda ‘squeeze’ out’ the sector • Just because there is an absence of provision and a gap through cuts there is no guarantee that the VCS can fill it..just gov’t pressure! • The role of VCS is not just to deliver on the governments agenda • The VCS needs to retain an oppositional/activist role if required • Demand may be up, less money but to shrink is not a failure • ‘Big Society’ is predicated upon a cultural shift from the commercial sector in giving (philanthrocapitalism) • Next steps: to decide upon how this is all publicised