Category Archives: Research News

Learning how to manage money

The results from an evaluation of the My Money Now programme, run by the National Youth Agency and evaluated by Policy&Practice has now  been published.

The My Money Now project, delivered by the National Youth Agency was initiated to help young people, aged 16-21 years, to improve their knowledge about financial matters and to help them make good decisions about finances in the future. To ensure that participants could benefit significantly from additional support, the project was designed to cater for young people who had started apprenticeships, had joined or been placed upon employability programmes and/or were still in full-time vocational education in school or college.

When completed, the programme delivered 61 training sessions to 591 young people; 34 sessions were led by peer educators and 27 were delivered by established trainers. Apprentices participated in the programme in 17 of the centres (n=208), in the remaining centres most participants were on employability or vocational training programmes and a very small minority in self-selected ‘open’ sessions. The training was delivered across England. The evaluation had two elements:

  • Impact evaluation to examine how well received the programme had been by young people; whether they had garnered the skills and knowledge intended; and, if they felt that the acquisition of knowledge and ideas may change the way they thought about and managed money in the future.
  • Process evaluation, to assess whether the NYAs preferred option of using ‘peer educators’ to deliver the My Money Now programme made a tangible difference in terms of: delivery of the curriculum; experience of participants; and the likelihood of changed attitudes and behaviour by participants.

The evaluation was designed to capture qualitative and quantitative data from a range of standpoints to ensure that robust analysis could be undertaken through the triangulation of data. These included:

  • Collection of quantitative data using two survey questionnaires which were completed by all participants; at the start of training, and immediately after its completion.
  • Assisting in the training of peer educators (and subsequently, 4 peer associates) in reflective practice and observational techniques, and to mentor peer educators before, during the process of undertaking the programme and at its end.
  • Undertaking telephone interviews with up to 60 young people three weeks after they had been engaged in the programme so that they had an opportunity to: make a retrospective appraisal of the quality and efficacy of the training.

More evidence on financial capability is available on the Money Advice Service Evidence Hub which can be accessed here.

The full report by Tony Chapman and Stephanie Rich is available here. Money Advice Service My Money Now Evaluation Report

Beneath the iceberg of headline income statistics for the voluntary sector

The UK Civil Society Almanac has been published this week. According to NCVO’s Karl Wilding on twitter: ‘arguably, the biggest change (since 2000) has been from grants to contracts’.

In bald financial terms, that might be true, in the case of government grants and contracts. But the Almanac also shows that charities with income over £1m absorb 80% of all sector income (this is just 3% of all organisations  in the sector).

Most local areas do not host many major charities, so we need to know what is happening to charities in general in relation to grants and contracts. Thankfully, Third Sector Trends Study data is at hand to show what is going on under the surface.

Third Sector Trends Study research, funded by Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland has been running every two years since 2010. The survey of over 1,000 Third Sector organisations (TSOs), asks charity bosses to assess the value of different sources of funding in ‘relative’ terms – that is to tell us about the balance of reliance on different sources of income.

There’s not much point in including smaller charities in this analysis because so few of them are involved in contracts (only 3% of charities with income below £50,000 do contacts, and just 16% of those with income between £50,000 and £250,000 do so).

Analysis of the larger TSOs with income above £250,000 is more sensible because 46% of them are engaged in contracts. In this analysis we don’t restrict ourselves just to government grants and contracts though, but from all funding sources (including, for example, charitable foundations or business led corporate social responsibility programmes).

The evidence shows that the relative importance of grant income has actually risen since 2010, while reliance on contracts has fallen. Indeed, these sources of income are now level pegging in importance. It is also interesting to note that reliance on other forms of earned income (such as self-generated trading activities) has increased since 2010.

The importance of investment income has remained relatively flat, as is the case with gifts and donations. In-kind support and subscriptions have become less important too, in relative terms, while reliance on borrowed money is virtually insignificant.

If you want to read the full report from Third Sector Trends Survey, you can find it here.

If you want to look at the data, you can find them here: Relative importance of income sources TST 2010-16

The power of arts and heritage to deliver regional investment

A seminar organised by the Institute for Local Governance. took place at Mea House, Ellison Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8XS 27th April 2018 from 9.30 – 1.00.

Arts and heritage initiatives, it is often claimed, can make a substantive contribution to social and economic regeneration in addition to their cultural contribution. In bald economic terms, assessing the value of such interventions is not so hard to do. The economic value of the direct local spend on services or employees can be measured, together with estimates of multiplier effects on other activities.

The Institute for Local Governance has organised two seminars to debate the issues. The first well received event, held in Darlington in January, explored interactions between local political and strategic investment in the arts and heritage and the associated management challenges.

Specifically it addressed and the development of tangible, sustainable and well used projects and programmes which can contribute to social, cultural, environmental and economic wellbeing.

Speakers at the first seminar included: Linda Tuttiett, Head of Culture and Tourism, Tees Valley Combined Authority; James Beighton, Director, Tees Valley Arts; Liz Fisher, Director of Engagement, Auckland Castle Trust; and Lynda Winstanley, Director, Hippodrome Theatre, Darlington.

This second seminar took forward the issues by bringing together speakers from research, policy and practice perspectives in the north of the region to debate the principal that ‘nothing stands still’ and that the impetus for political, financial and community investment must be continually nurtured. This is easily said, but we asked,  how can this happen with so many ‘competing’ demands?

Professor Jonathan Blackie, Trustee and Chair, Alnwick Garden and Visiting Professor Northumbria University: introduced and chaired the seminar

Speakers at the event on the 27th April 2018 included (power point presentations are available to download under each speaker’s presentation title:

  • Professor Tom Mordue, The Norman Richardson Professor of Tourism, Northumbria University: on the impact of heritage and tourism on regional economic prospects. Tom Mordue
  • Abigail Pogson, Managing Director, Sage Gateshead: on the hosting of major regional events to highlight the region’s strengths. Abigail Pogson
  • Jane Robinson, Chief Operating Officer, Durham University: on the interaction between the University and World Heritage Site to promote a strong image of the region. Jane Robinson
  • Mick Wilkes, Culture Change Lead, Newcastle City Council (seconded from the National Trust): on sustaining Newcastle upon Tyne’s estate of heritage parks and gardens in a period of austerity. Mick Wilkes

The Institute for Local Governance is a North East research and knowledge exchange partnership established in 2009 comprising the North East region’s university researchers, local authorities, police and fire and rescue services.

 

How to work effectively with the third sector

A discussion paper for public sector organisations

by Tony Chapman, John Mawson, Fred Robinson and Jonathan Wistow, Published by Institute for Local Governance, 9th March 2018.

Public-sector bodies tend to share common values and approaches to policy, procedure and practice which shape ideas about what is ‘possible’ and ‘desirable’ when thinking about working with other sectors. These values and practices stem largely from the fact that they are large, complex, formal and publicly accountable organisations. Large organisations, by definition, have a complex division of labour and principles of professionalism are underpinned by shared values surrounding expertise and specialisation.

As hierarchical and bureaucratic entities there are strong imperatives to ensure that practice is, as far as possible, continuous and consistent, and that services provided are apportioned fairly and are of equivalent quality or value. Similarly, ways of rectifying complaints or correcting internal failures are embedded in organisational culture, structure and practice.

It is not, therefore, surprising that people who work in public-sector organisations such as local authorities or health organisations tend to internalise and take for granted such values and, in turn, often expect that their approaches to practice should be understood, valued and complied with when working with people in third sector organisations

The problem is that most TSOs are not large, formal complex organisations. Often they do not necessarily share the values that underpin the structures and functions of public sector organisations. And many people in the third sector may feel that their organisations came into existence to tackle issues which had been ignored, neglected or even caused by the failure of big public-sector bodies.

Commitment to specific issues and causes often overrides ‘generalised’ objectives in the third sector. This is not a flaw in sector dynamics. Instead it merely reflects the strong sense of independence held by TSOs and their close focus on their mission. These generalisations about differences in values may not be immediately obvious in inter-sector interactions – and most often interactions are quite good. But they can, all too readily, come to the surface quickly when problems occur.

In our report we say that there are ten ways that public sector organisations need to ‘think again’ about how to work with the third sector. And we have a good deal more to say about ‘what not to do’.

What we say isn’t that hard to do – and much of it people will recognise in their current practices. But keeping things simple isn’t easy. And it’s a big complicated issue that doesn’t lend itself to soundbites – but we hope that for those who make the journey through the ideas we present – it might help to make relationships better for all concerned.

The report can be downloaded here: ILG How to work effectively with the third sector discussion paper March 2019.

 

 

The contribution of business to the local third sector

IPPR North published a report today on the contribution business makes to the local third sector based on the longstanding Third Sector Trends study.  The report, written by Professor Tony Chapman (St Chad’s College, Durham University) and Jack Hunter (IPPR North),  shows that:

  • Businesses in the North of England make a “significant contribution” of £1.9bn to charities and other voluntary organisations.
  • Nearly 70% of third sector organisations in the North receive some form of financial support from business.
  • But the voluntary sector prefers businesses’ cash over their in-kind support.

IPPR North’s Jack Hunter said:

“Business in the North make a significant and valued contribution to the third sector, but businesses need to get much smarter in how they support charitable activity. One-off volunteering events might be easy to arrange and encourage teambuilding, but they tend to have limited value on the ground – instead charities get the most benefit from a long-term and sustained relationship with businesses.”

And as Tony Chapman said:

“Many charity and business leaders may be surprised by the volume of financial and in-kind support given on social issues such as poverty. If the contribution of business remains largely invisible, then less of it will happen than could be the case. This research opens the door for more debate on where business can make a difference at the local level.”

The report can be downloaded at this address: https://www.ippr.org/publication/third-sector-and-business

 

 

Trading interactions amongst community businesses in Bradford, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough

Professor Tony Chapman and Dr Tanya Gray are starting a new project for the  Power to Change Research Institute on trading interactions amongst community businesses in Bradford, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.

The term ‘community business’ (CB) includes a range of organisations including: Companies Limited by Guarantee, Cooperatives and Community Benefit Societies, Community Interest Organisations, Community Interest Companies and Registered Charities. Some CBs have been operating for decades while others are relatively new, emerging from, for example, asset transfer programmes. While some community businesses are large, employing many staff, the majority are quite small.

Most CBs rely primarily upon trading to sustain their activity. Trading includes sales of space, self-generated services that meet the identified needs of the local community or manufactured goods, and through the delivery of services for other organisations. Because they also tend to rely on grants and in-kind support from other organisations, we need to know how that affects their approach to earning income from trading.

The principal aim of the research is to explore the extent to which community businesses build beneficial relationships with other community businesses – thereby strengthening each other’s financial situation and deepening their contribution to local economy and society.

Examples of such interactions may include opportunity signposting and appraisal, customer referral, inter-trading, sharing facilities or kit, partnership bidding for grants or contracts, skills-exchanges, media and public relations initiatives, informally sharing the burden of roles in representation on boards and committees, and so on. These interactions may produce indirect or direct financial benefit.

In the research we intend to explore the range and depth of relationships CBs establish and find out how they were initiated and became embedded over time. We also want to find out if these trading relationships are more effective in meeting ‘local needs’ and being ‘locally accountable’ than other charities or private businesses. Finally, it will be useful to find out what kinds of support CBs may need to build stronger relationships with other CBs in their locality and explore how and by whom such support be best delivered.

Knowing how and why some CBs successfully build and sustain positive working relationships with other CBs will help gauge the scope for and benefits to be gained from intensifying positive, trusting and mutually beneficial trading relationships. In disadvantaged areas, where there may be fewer private sector businesses, such interactions could produce significant economic and social benefit by retaining resources within the community.

Indirectly, CBs may benefit significantly if funders and development organisations such as Power to Change become aware of the benefits of promoting or engendering certain types of CB-to-CB interactions and thereby deepen the quality, volume and depth of positive interactions.

Communicating the benefits of CB-to-CB interactions may help to encourage more of this kind of activity – but only when we can be sure that the circumstances leading to the establishment of such relationships are identifiable, understood and replicable.

The research begins in March 2018 and will conclude in April 2019 with a series of reports and events to communicate the key messages.

Saving Silverlink Bridge

The Friends of Pelaw Wood, assisted by Durham University students, are a voluntary group working with Durham County Council in the care of Pelaw Wood on the northern bank of the River Wear.

In the heart of the Wood is Silverlink Bridge, a steel footbridge built in 1938, with a span of almost 200ft over the Pelaw Beck.  The northern abutment of the bridge, leading to Gilesgate, is onto land with former industrial use – a soft drinks factory had for many years used the site as a tip for unwanted bottles, some of which are now highly-prized and valuable.

The consequent illicit bottle-mining into the bank at high level, apart from constituting a danger to children, has led to a number of trees becoming destabilised, particularly those in close proximity to the bridge.

Attempts by Police, Council and volunteers to prevent the mining have largely failed, due to a significant section of the land having no registered ownership.

For safety of the bridge and general public it became imperative that the unregistered land be clearly delineated and that subsequently it should become vested in Durham County Council and managed by the Friends of Pelaw Wood, under the Council’s supervision.

Ian Zass-Ogilvie, a Research Fellow of Policy & Practice, is carrying this project forward on behalf of the local community.

Saving Silverlink Bridge in Durham

Working well with the voluntary sector

Sharing the responsibility: defining how public sector organisations can work effectively with the third sector. A seminar organised by the Institute for Local Governance, to be held at Teikyo University, Elvet Hill, Durham, 9th March 2018, 9.00 – 12.30

In 2015, a group of academics and senior officers in local authorities and health authorities got together to start talking about how to work more effectively with the third sector. The idea was to begin a learning journey which drew on debate and discussion about the existing evidence and draws some new insights from consultation with 40 organisations within the third sector.

The outcome of this programme of work, which was funded by the ESRC, is a new discussion paper on the 10 key findings and recommendations from the programme of work. As the report is launched on 9th March, the Institute for Local Governance is hosting a seminar to present the recommendations and to give people an opportunity to debate their value and potential impact.

Participants are invited from across a range of organisations including health organisations, local authorities, charitable foundations and third sector organisations across North East England.

The seminar will be chaired by Professor Paul Keane, Chairman, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.

The seminar will open with a brief presentation on the key findings from the work by Professors Tony Chapman and Fred Robinson, St Chad’s College, Durham University, Professor John Mawson, Director, Institute for Local Governance, and Dr Jonathan Wistow, Department of Sociology, Durham University.

Following the presentation, there will be clearly focused table debates on the principal recommendations facilitated by partners from local authorities, health organisations, charitable foundations and third sector infrastructure organisations. To close the session, there will be a panel of key stakeholders to discuss key questions raised in the table debate.

Agreed panellists include Harriet Stranks, Lloyds Bank Foundation; Rob Williamson, Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland; Gillian Peel, Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington; Sally Young, Newcastle CVS; Kirsten Francis, Northumberland County Council; and, Gordon Elliott, Durham County Council.

Attendees at the seminar will be provided with a pre-publication copy of the report to prepare for the event, together with a shorter briefing paper on the 10 key findings and recommendations.

The seminar is now fully booked

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:- tony.chapman@durham.ac.uk or john.mawson@durham.ac.uk.

Young People and Society Study Group

Due to industrial action, this meeting has been moved to Thursday 17th May  2018 between 1.45 and 4.00.

We have two speakers:

Professor Simon James, Department of English Studies, Durham University on Dickens’s Myths of Childhood. This presentation will consider theories of autobiographical memory in relation to literary texts by Charles Dickens. In particular, it will concern the importance to Dickens of adult mnemonic connection to childhood, and the role of the Blacking Factory in narratives of Dickens’s own development.

Professor Tony Chapman, St Chad’s College on Narratives about the successful life transitions of young people in County Durham.  The presentation will include discussion of new evidence on the provision of support to young people in County Durham by public, private and third sector organisations – asking whether the whole is worth more than the sum of the parts.

The presentations will take place in the Horsfall Room, Ramsay House, St Chad’s College, 26 North Bailey (a few doors down from the Main College St Chad’s College building).

 

 

Auckland Castle Trust Heritage Lottery Fund Project Evaluation

A remarkable regeneration project is now well underway to create a world-class visitor destination in Bishop Auckland, County Durham. At its heart is a mission to revitalise the future of the town through employment, training and educational opportunities.

As an attraction, The Auckland Project will comprise Auckland Castle, for centuries the private palace of the Prince Bishops of Durham, along with galleries, gardens, restaurants, a park, a hotel and England’s first museum exploring the history of faith in the British Isles.

Thanks to National Lottery players, The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has made a substantial grant of £11.4m to The Project to support the conservation of the Castle and the creation of the new Faith Museum, as well as associated community activities.

Professor Fred Robinson and Ian Zass-Ogilvie from St Chad’s College have now been commissioned by The Auckland Project to undertake an evaluation of this important HLF-supported work.

Fred Robinson said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to support The Auckland Project. It’s a really interesting approach to regeneration and we all hope it will make a big difference to the local economy and help revitalise the community.”

“Our role is to evaluate what’s being achieved by the Project – and look at the wider impacts too. We look forward to working closely with The Auckland Project.”