All posts by Tony Chapman

Homes for the future in North East England

New initiatives to deliver decent, affordable homes in appealing communities. A seminar organised by the Institute for Local Governance.

This successful seminar rook place at Teikyo University, Elvet Hill, Durham on 21st June 2019

Since the establishment of the welfare state, good quality housing has been regarded as one of the central pillars of citizenship. And yet definitions of what constitutes ‘good housing’ seem always to be changing. Change can be driven by the confluence of a number of factors including the state of the economy, supply of land and planning policy, performance of the building industry, and government policies etc.

In recent years such factors have led to corners being cut in terms of the size, style and facility of homes. There are also important social and demographic pressures and specific government policies such as welfare reform, which can result in the structure and needs of households changing and transforming patterns of demand. Demand for housing is affected by more than style, structure and facility.

Since the 1980s ‘right to buy’ schemes were introduced, and debates about the efficacy of different forms of tenure in terms of renting, mixed provision, social and private housing have dominated discussions at a policy level. The evidence suggests that demand to buy homes is still strong, but the proportion of households which are able to achieve that aim has fallen, especially amongst the young.

These factors, taken together, have led to the development of a much more complex mix of tenures available to people – but the indications are that the current range of tenures and types of housing in the North East of England is not well matched with current or future likely patterns of demand. This seminar looks at how such a challenge can be met by looking at some of the innovative ways social landlords, the private sector and local authorities are tackling these mis-matches.

The seminar was chaired by Professor John Mawson, Director, Institute for Local Governance.

Speakers will include:

Professor Janice Morphet, Bartlett School of Planning, University College London, on the changing landscape in local authority provision of housing

Karen Brown, Senior Policy Advisor, Northern Housing Consortium, on the impact on national housing policy on housing in the North East England.

Richard Horniman, Director of Regeneration, Middlesbrough Council, on the ambitions of MHomes, Middlesbrough Council’s housing company.

Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, Gentoo Group, on adding value to the contribution of social housing providers though new build and improvement of existing stock.

Presentations from the seminar can be downloaded here:

ILG Homes – Janice Morphet – 21st June 2019

ILG Housing – Nigel Wilson 21 June 2019

ILG Housing – Karen Brown 21 June 2019

ILG Housing – Richard Horniman 21 June 2019

The Institute for Local Governance is a North East Research and Knowledge Exchange Partnership established in 2009 comprising the North East region’s Universities, Local Authorities, Police and Fire and Rescue Services. Further information about the content of the event can be obtained by contacting: – or

How do charitable foundations support North East England?

Policy&Practice has been commissioned by the Community Foundation serving Tyne & Wear and Northumberland to look at the way charitable foundations support the voluntary sector in the North East of England.  The research has involved in-depth interviews with 25 regional and national charitable foundations and is concluding with seminars in Newcastle and London to test the findings from the research.

In recent years funding for the voluntary sector has remained fairly similar but its composition is changing – with a lower level of reliance on local and national government sources during a long period of austerity policy.  Charitable foundations have often stepped in where social needs have been growing in areas such as homelessness, poverty, health and personal wellbeing.  Reduction in funding for youth services by local councils has also led to higher levels of investment by charitable foundations.

The research is not just about where money from grants is flowing, Instead it is focusing on how charitable foundations determine what issues they want to support, how they know  if their grant giving is making a real difference and how they work alongside each other to have a greater overall impact.  Another key purpose of the exercise is to feed new questions in the forthcoming Third Sector Trends survey across the North beginning in June 2019.

Charitable foundations involved in the study include all Community Foundations serving Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, County Durham Community Foundation, Tees Valley Community Foundation, The Ballinger Family Trust, The Barbour Foundation, Big Lottery Fund, Children in Need, Comic Relief, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Greggs Foundation, The Henry Smith Charity, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Lloyds Bank Foundation, Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation, Millfield House Foundation, Northstar Ventures, The Pilgrim Trust, Power to Change, Sage Foundation, The Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, Sir James Knott Trust, The Tudor Trust, Virgin Money Foundation and Wolfson Foundation.

A report will be published in the late summer of 2019 on the research findings and further reports will emerge in 2020 using quantitative data from the Third Sector Trends surveys.  For more information on the project, contact

The Social Process of Supporting Small Charities

Small charities make a big contribution to wellbeing in local communities and as recent research has shown, they can be effective at supporting people who are hard to reach, hard to hear and hard to help than bigger charities or public sector organisations and agencies.

The Lloyds Bank Foundation ‘Grow’ project was devised to support small charities with income below £75,000 which were ineligible for support through the Foundation’s existing programmes. This research report explains how these charities responded to support offered to them by specialist consultants.

There have been several initiatives in the past to help small charities to become stronger, bigger and more sustainable, and to encourage them work together to increase their impact. These are all ‘big asks’ and charities often resist attempts by outsiders to change them. But there is little good evidence to make sense of the ‘social processes’ involved in providing such support and explanations for how charities respond.


This report attempts to help fill that gap in our understanding by exploring how the culture and dynamics of small charities affects their readiness to embrace change, to accept support act upon advice in several areas of development which may be important for their future wellbeing.

Small charities may lack structural complexity (unlike larger more formal organisations with a specialised division of labour and hierarchical command chains which are underpinned by bureaucratic principles and procedures) but this does not mean that their internal dynamics are simple.

The analysis hinges upon a recognition that very small charities are much more complicated social entities than immediately meets the eye.

The summary report can be accessed at this address:

The full report can be downloaded here: The Social Process of Supporting Small Charities (March 2019)

Tackling barriers to young people’s aspirations and ambitions in County Durham

durham-county-council-logoMany young people in County Durham are not achieving as much as they should as they make their journey towards adulthood. While much support is lent to young people to achieve their potential, it falls unevenly – too often being focused upon those who already have many advantages.

Recognising that this was unacceptable, Durham County Council commissioned this research via the Institute for Local Governance in 2016 to start a debate in the County on how to achieve more for young people from less advantaged backgrounds.  There is widespread belief in the UK that young people from less-advantaged backgrounds are less likely to make successful transitions to adult life because they lack aspiration and ambition.

Over-simplified explanations such as these are readily backed up with examples, garnered from observation and experience, which serve to reinforce falsehoods. With sufficient repetition these falsehoods start to ring true. To instigate discussion across all sectors, this study was undertaken to  hold up a mirror to County Durham, and ask policy makers and practitioners  to look again at the situation of young people and challenge popular narratives about young people’s presumed lack of aspiration and ambition.

Policy makers and practitioners are encouraged to consider critically the differences between ‘aspiration’ and ‘ambition’; ‘attitudes’ and ‘behaviours’; ‘attainment’ and ‘achievement’, and most crucially, ask questions about what constitutes ‘success in life’ for young people from different starting points. By doing so, it is hoped that organisations in the education, public, private and voluntary sectors will be able to focus their resources individually or in complementary ways on those young people who are most in need of support.

Professor Tony Chapman, Dr Tanya Gray, Dr Stephanie Rich and Paul Braidford were commissioned by the Institute for Local Governance to undertake a project on young people’s ambitions and aspirations in County Durham.

The report was launched on 29th March 2019 at an event at Bishop Auckland Town Hall which was opened by the Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Paul Butler.

A summary report on the project can be downloaded here: Tackling barriers to young people’s aspirations and ambitions in County Durham SUMMARY REPORT March 2019

The full report can be downloaded here: Understanding barriers to young people’s aspirations and ambition in County Durham (full report March 2019)

The event presentation can be downloaded here: Understanding barriers to young people presentation March 29th 2019


Who says young people in County Durham have low aspirations?

A  seminar will take place at Bishop Auckland Town Hall, DL14 7NP, between 1.00pm and 4.30pm on Friday 29th March 2019, where policy makers, practitioners and young people will be asked to consider the differences between aspiration and ambition; attainment and achievement, and ask questions about what constitutes ‘success in life’ for young people from different starting points.

The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd. Paul Butler will open the event by setting the scene. This seminar is needed because many young people in County Durham are not achieving as much as they should while they make their journey towards adulthood. While much support is available to young people to achieve their potential, it falls unevenly and a lack of support is often more common in less affluent communities.

The County Durham Children and Families Partnership, County Durham Economic Partnership and the Institute for Local Governance, who are jointly hosting the event recognise that the aspirations and ambitions of our young people are vital for our communities’ success, whilst acknowledging the challenges and barriers our young people continue to face.

Recognising these challenges, both the County Durham Children and Families Partnership and the County Durham Economic Partnership commissioned research via the Institute of Local Governance, to start a debate in Durham on how to achieve more for young people from less advantaged backgrounds.

The research was led by Professor Tony Chapman, Director of Policy&Practice at St Chad’s College, Durham University.  A summary report of the research can be downloaded here: Tackling barriers to young people’s aspirations and ambitions in County Durham SUMMARY REPORT March 2019  The full report will be published on the day of the conference.

To instigate discussion across all sectors and with our young people, this research holds up a mirror to County Durham, and asks partners to look again at the situation of young people and challenge popular narratives about young peoples presumed lack of aspiration and ambition.

By doing so, it is hoped that organisations will be able to focus their resources individually, or in complementary ways, on those young people who are most in need of support.

Places are limited, so if you are interested in attending the seminar, you can register your place by completing the booking form before the 18th March 2019 at:

Consumption, Recycling and Waste

How to capitalise on secondary markets in North East England & Cumbria

A seminar organised by the Institute for Local Governance at Council Chamber, North Tyneside Council, Quadrant, Cobalt Business Park, North Shields, NE27 0BY

Friday 15th March 2019, 9.30 – 13.00

For too long, North East England was a throw-away society – but in recent years, the region has been learning to think again before dispensing with material resources which could have a second life or using up resources that, once gone, cannot be replaced.

In debates on patterns of consumption, waste and recycling, attention often turns first to issues surrounding the reduction in energy use and diminishing the need for waste disposal. These issues are, of course, vitally important – but under the surface of these headline issues lays much complexity and indeed opportunity.

This seminar took a fresh look at patterns of consumption by focusing on how to encourage people to recognise the value of using and wasting less. But in so doing, the debate must also explore what is understood by the term waste and explore which of its constituents might more properly be described as resources if they are handled well.

By using the term ‘secondary resources’ the seminar will encourage participants across all sectors to consider those good practices they already adopt but do not necessarily recognise as environmentally valuable. And, as importantly, to think again about how, if awareness is raised, such practices might be adopted in new contexts.

The seminar, which was chaired by Colin MacDonald: Senior Manager, Technical & Regulatory Services, North Tyneside Council, had a number of speakers who addressed the issue of consumption and waste from a number of stand points.

  • Professor Mike Crang, Department of Geography, Durham University: on the current situation and how to increase awareness of secondary markets for materials.
  • Stuart Foster, Chief Executive Officer, RECOUP: on the plastic recycling journey and the use of recycled plastics in manufacturing.
  • Robin Osterley, Chief Executive Officer, Charity Retail Association: on the social, economic and environmental contribution of charity shops.
  • Stephen Armstrong, Programme Manager, Groundwork North East: on changing public attitudes to issues surrounding consumption, waste and recycling.

This was the first of two seminars in this series.  A second seminar will take place in Redcar and Cleveland in the summer on the issue of ‘circular economies’.

Seminar presentations can be downloaded here:

Stuart Foster – ILG Seminar 15th March

Stephen Armstrong ILG Seminar 15 March 2019

Robin Osterley – ILG Seminar 15th March 2019

Mike Crang – ILG Seminar 15th March

The Institute for Local Governance is a North East Research and Knowledge Exchange Partnership established in 2009 comprising the North East region’s Universities, Local Authorities, Police and Fire and Rescue Services. Further information about the content of the event can be obtained by contacting:- or

Whatever happened to the North East?

A new academic article by Professors Keith Shaw (Northumbria University) and Fred Robinson (Policy&Practice) shows that governance in the English regions has been undermined and weakened by recent structural changes.

Although well established during the New Labour era, the regional level of governance in England did not survive the post-2010 process of institutional churn shaped by economic austerity and central government’s aversion to the regional level. This has subsequently led to rescaling to the sub-regional level and the introduction of devolution ‘deals’ involving new combined authorities with elected mayors.

This article looks at the experience of North East England, where regional structures have been broken up and the region disempowered by such changes. It reviews what has happened to governance in the North East over the past 20 years and discusses why the dismantling of regional governance matters.

While the region’s external relationships with central government are problematic, it is also argued that governance problems within the region are no less important and need reforming. Longitudinal research indicates that organisations providing public services in the North East have continued to be characterised by inadequate accountability, unrepresentative governance and lack of transparency.

The combined effects of the devolutionary consequences of Brexit and the ineffectiveness of small-scale ‘devo-deal’ interventions mean that the ‘Regionalist case’ in England will need to be refashioned and restated. The article concludes by considering the case for reintroducing regional-level governance and points to ways of bolstering the accountability and effectiveness of this level of sub-national governance.

Shaw, K. and Robinson F. (2019) ‘Whatever happened to the North East? Reflections on the end of regionalism in England’, Local Economy 33(8): 842-861.


National Youth Agency’s ‘The Environment Now’ Evaluation

Policy&Practice at St Chad’s College was commissioned to evaluate the National Youth Agency’s ‘The Environment Now’  programme of work funded by the Big Lottery’s ‘Our Bright Future’ initiative in 2016.  The project was also supported by O2 Telefonica.

Our Bright Future allowed the NYA to to work intensively with young people over three years developing environmental projects. Funding was awarded to undertake 50 projects devised and run by young people who were, in turn, supported and trained through a comprehensive programme to develop their sustainability learning, employability skills, digital understanding and self-confidence.

An  investment of up to £10,000 was made in each of the 50 projects to help meet key environmental challenges.  Project leaders were supported by NYA programme staff and specialist O2 Telefonica mentors. The project aimed to help produce sustainability leaders of the future.

The evaluation of the programme was undertaken independently by Professor Tony Chapman and Stephanie Rich of Policy&Practice who were involved from the initial planning stage to design a comprehensive and rigorous methodology to blend qualitative and quantitative data.

The final report was published in January 2019. NYA The Environement Now Programme Evaluation (January 2019)


Policy&Practice Annual Report 2018

Policy&Practice has had a productive year.  Projects have been completed for the National Lottery in an evaluation of a project in the Our Bright Future programme,  the evaluation of a National Youth Agency project for The Money Advice Service and a project on how to work with the third sector for the Economic and Social Research Council.  And new projects have started for Power to Change, Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, and Auckland Castle Trust.

Several more reports have been published this year from the Third Sector Trends study – which will start its fifth round of surveys in 2018 – representing over ten years of intensive study.  Two studies were published with IPPR North with groundbreaking data on the contribution of business to the third sector  and on the value of volunteering to local charities.  A study was also published on community business as a prelude for more intensive research in 2019 for Power to Change. The Third Sector Trends project, which covers the whole of the North of England has become increasingly influential on thinking about how best to support and fund charities in the North.

Policy&Practice has also continued to organise and host events across the North East of England with the Institute for Local Governance, including seminars on arts and heritage, community business, social isolation, the future of town centres, amongst other things.

To read about our past, current and future work in detail, you can download our report here: Policy&Practice Annual Report 2018

Let’s talk about value: how universities create value for students, staff and society

St Chad’s College Lunchtime Lecture, Wednesday 30th January, 12.30 – 1.30 p.m.

Carol Adams, Professor of Accounting in Durham University Business School, will consider the appropriateness of measures of university performance.  Her talk will be based upon her recent report: ‘Let’s Talk Value: How Universities create value for students, staff and society’.  In her lecture, Carol will ask what universities create for society and how that can be better communicated.

Professor  Adams is an expert in integrated reporting, social and environmental accounting, sustainability reporting and developing strategy to address sustainable development.  She is founding editor of the Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal and writes on her website at

Carol has been involved in various global corporate reporting initiatives and is currently a member of the ACCA’s Global Forum on Sustainability, the ICAS Sustainability Panel, the Climate Disclosure Standards Board’s Technical Working Group and she is Chair of the Stakeholder Council of the Global Reporting Initiative.

She was a member of the Capitals Technical Collaboration Group for the International Integrated Reporting Council. She has also served as a Director and Council Member of AccountAbility and was involved in the development of the first AA1000 Framework.

Carol is an experienced non-executive director and consults to multinational corporations and other organisations on corporate reporting and integrating sustainability into business practices. She has led the development of internationally award winning management and governance processes and sustainability reports