Category Archives: Research News

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.

If you would like to have a copy sent to you by email when published,  please contact



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 free to attend, but places are very limited and they tend to book up quickly, so please register your attendance via: Janet Atkinson, Institute for Local Governance, Durham University

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

Young People and Society Study Group

There will be a meeting of the study group on Thursday 8th March 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.”

Kanji Tanimoto seminar on Corporate Social Responsibility Management in Japan

Professor Kanji Tanimoto from Waseda University, Tokyo, will be speaking on the topic of ‘The Institutionalization of Corporate Social Responsibility Management in Japan’.

The seminar will take place on Thursday 18th January from  2.00 – 3.30 p.m.  in Williams Library, St Chad’s College, Durham University, 18 North Bailey, Durham DH1 3RH.

The seminar will discuss how pressures for corporate attention to CSR have been increased in Japan for the past decade and a half. Many Japanese companies have introduced CSR management system following leading companies and conformed to institutional isomorphic pressures. However it is not an easy task to incorporate CSR into management processes in actuality. This study explores a gap between ‘expected CSR management ‘ and ‘actual conventional management’ by giving an examples from a study  of Toshiba.

If you would like to attend, please contact Professor Tony Chapman at St Chad’s College to secure a place (

Professor Tanimoto will be staying at St Chad’s College, Durham on a two week research visit as a Visiting Professorial Fellow.

Kanji Tanimoto is Professor in Business and Society at the School of Commerce, Waseda University, Japan.  He is Founder and President of an academy: Japan Forum of Business and Society, which is the first academic society in this field in Japan. He is an editorial member of several journals. He serves on the program committee of the International Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility at Humboldt University.

His research interests include the relationship between business and society, corporate social responsibility, social business and social innovation. He has published numerous books and papers.His personal website is: and email address:

Policy&Practice Annual Report 2017

It has been a busy year for us in Policy&Practice as several research projects have been completed and new ones started.

Key highlights of the year include the publication of a series of Third Sector Trends reports for Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Garfield Weston / IPPR North.

A major new study Who Runs the North East Now? was published for Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Institute for Local Government and Muckle LLP.

A new book was also published by the Commonwealth Secretariat on the Contribution of Sport to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

We’re doing new projects for Lloyds Bank Foundation, Big Lottery Fund, Durham County Council and the Economic and Social Research Council  all with reports out next year.

Read all about it in our Annual Report by clicking here: Policy&Practice Annual Report 2017

Professor Kanji Tanimoto to visit St Chad’s in January 2018

In January 2018, Professor Kanji Tanimoto from Waseda University, Tokyo, will come to Durham on a two week research visit to St Chad’s College as a Visiting Professorial Fellow.  In addition to the  delivery of  a seminar on 18th January in St Chads, he will meet colleagues from Durham University Business School, Newcastle University Business School and Newcastle Business School (Northumbria University).  Meetings have also been arranged with the Institute for Advanced Studies, Teikyo University and the North East Initiative on  Business Ethics (NIBE).

Kanji Tanimoto is Professor in Business and Society at the School of Commerce, Waseda University, Japan. He recently was Visiting Professor at the Free University of Berlin, Cologne Business School and National Taipei University. Prior to joining Waseda, he was a professor at the Graduate School of Commerce, Hitotsubashi University. He received his doctorate in business administration from the Graduate School of Business Administration, Kobe University.

He is Founder and President of an academy: Japan Forum of Business and Society, which is the first academic society in this field in Japan. He is an editorial member of several journals. He serves on the program committee of the International Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility at Humboldt University. He has been consulting and providing advice to leading Japanese companies on CSR management over the last 20 years. He also has advised Japanese government committees on business & society and social business.

His research interests include the relationship between business and society, corporate social responsibility, social business and social innovation. He has published numerous books and papers.

His personal website is: and email address:

Tackling poverty in the North: the role of the third sector

A new report is published today (Friday 1st December, 2017) from the Third Sector Trends Study which will show that thousands of charities help address poverty across the North of England.

The report, Tackling Poverty in the North: the role of third sector organisations, is based on a survey of 3,500 charities across the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber to capture their contribution in the region.

As a national charitable organisation which seeks to tackle poverty, Joseph Rowntree Foundation commissioned this short report to assess the extent to which Third Sector organisations contribute towards solving poverty in the North of England.

Author of the report, Professor Tony Chapman, commented:

“Many charities which aim to tackle poverty in the north of England are working hard to influence local public sector organisations in order bring more resources to bear on growing demand for services. But many are struggling to keep up, 26% of such charities are drawing upon their reserves to meet demand compared with just 16% of general charities.”

It is estimated that 5,000 Third Sector Organisations (TSOs) directly tackle the issue of poverty in the North of England and a further 3,200 TSOs address associated issues surrounding poverty.

The report shows TSOs tackling poverty are supported by 160,200 volunteers in the North of England who provide 11.5 million hours of work each year. The ‘replacement’ value of this contribution is between £83m (at national minimum wage) or £140m (at 80% of the average regional wage).

The number of volunteers is rising faster for charities tackling poverty than general charities – suggesting that this issue is highest on the priority list amongst members of the general public.

Over 45,000 people are employed by 3,900 TSOs directly addressing the issue of poverty in the North of England. The salary value of this work is between £912m and £1.1bn.TSOs which address the issue of poverty are generally optimistic that they will be able to raise sufficient income to meet the challenges of the future: 44% expect that their income will rise over the next two years compared with 32% of general charities.

However, there is also widespread pessimism about future levels of funding from public sector sources: 50% of TSOs tackling poverty think that statutory income will fall over the next two years compared with 46% of general charities.

The issue of poverty is rising on the political agenda. This research shows that TSOs which directly address the issue of poverty are the most likely to ‘strongly agree’ that they are attempting to influence local public-sector policy makers (50%) compared with 29% of general charities.

The Third Sector Trends survey was designed to examine how TSOs fare over time in the context of change. The findings presented in this report are based on a robust research methodology which has evolved over the last eight years to produce comparable time-series data.

The report can be downloaded here:Tackling Poverty in the North – Third Sector Trends.


The Role of Arts and Heritage in Social and Economic Regeneration

A seminar organised by the Institute for Local Governance which will take place at the Dolphin Centre, Darlington, 19th January 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. But social impact is harder to examine. There are ‘tool kits’ available to assess social impact in a more or less standardised way. But the likelihood is that the contribution has many dimensions and complex and controversial judgements on what constitutes impact.

The aim of this seminar is to get beneath the surface of these issues by exploring interactions between local political and strategic investment in the arts and heritage and the development of tangible, sustainable and well used projects and programmes which can contribute to social, cultural, environmental and economic wellbeing.The purpose of the seminar is therefore not merely to showcase good work, but to explore the challenges which have been overcome in garnering economic and political support for such interventions. It also explores the complexities surrounding funding and delivery of new and innovative projects and energising communities to use them.

The seminar is the first of two seminars on this topic. The second seminar will be held on Tyneside in the spring, entitled “The Power of Arts and Heritage to attract Regional Investment”. This follow-up seminar will take forward the issues by bringing together speakers from policy and practice perspectives in the north of the region to debate the principle that ‘nothing stands still’ and that the impetus for political, financial and community investment must be continually nurtured. This is easily said, but how can this happen with so many ‘competing’ demands?

Speakers at the Darlington event on the 19 January 2018 include:

  • Sharon Paterson, Associate Director, Mima (Culture and Engagement), Teesside University: will chair and provide a contextual introduction to the seminar.
  • Linda Tuttiett, Head of Culture and Tourism, Tees Valley Combined Authority: on the accumulated impact of arts and culture on the future social and economic wellbeing of Tees Valley.
  • James Beighton, Director, Tees Valley Arts: on the role of the arts in the diverse communities of Tees Valley.
  • Liz Fisher, Director of Engagement, Auckland Castle Trust: on the social objectives of a major arts and heritage investment in Wear Valley.
  • Lynda Winstanley, Director, Hippodrome Theatre, Darlington: on the contribution of theatre to the economic, social and cultural fabric of the region.

Recent seminars in our programme have included: Welfare Reform and Child Poverty in the North East; The Role of Emergency Services in partnership with the Third Sector; Revitalising Coastal Communities; Graduate Retention. Forthcoming events: Collaboration between Health, Local Government and the Third Sector; Who Runs the North East Now?; The Role of Arts and Heritage in Attracting Local and Regional Investment.

The presentations from the seminar can be downloaded here:

Liz fisher Auckland Castle Trust

Sharon Paterson Contextual-introduction

Lynda Winstanley  Darlington Hippodrome

James Beighton Tees Valley Arts.pptx

Linda Tuttiett Tees Valley Combined Authority