Category Archives: Research News

The comprehensive university

St Chad’s College Lecture, Thursday 18 October 6.00-7.00pm, Williams library. ‘The Comprehensive University: why we need to rethink academic selection in higher education’, chaired by Professor Fred Robinson of Policy&Practice.

In this hard-hitting paper, Tim Blackman, a serving Vice-Chancellor, calls for a much less hierarchical higher education sector.  He shows how this will benefit students, the quality of learning and social mobility and, most importantly, he shows how to get there.

The Comprehensive University can be downloaded here: https://www.hepi.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Hepi-The-Comprehensive-University_Occasional-Paper-17-11_07_17.pdf

Tim Blackman is Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University and Professor of Sociology and Social Policy.  His previous roles include Pro-Vice Chancellor and Acting Vice-Chancellor at The Open University and Head of the School of Applied Social Sciences and Director of the Wolfson Research Institute at Durham University. After leaving school he worked at sea for a year before undertaking a degree in Geography, a spell as a community worker in Belfast and a PhD on housing policy.

He started his academic career at the University of Ulster before moving into local government for five years and later returning to higher education as a Deputy Dean at Oxford Brookes University and subsequently Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law at Teesside University. He has written on urban policy, housing, social care and health inequalities, worked as a government adviser on the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Generosity Festival for the North East

As Policy&Practice gear up for the fifth wave of the Third Sector Trends study in 2019 across North East England, it is crucial to understand the link between the wellbeing of the charity sector and philanthropic giving.

A Festival of Philanthropy and Giving, jointly organised by the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland and Newcastle University is looking at this important link in the chain of understanding.

Philanthropy is about giving money, time and resources to help others. Generosity – past, present and future – binds individuals and communities together, making the North East a special place to live and work. In November 2018, through a series of activities, debates, performances, the Generosity Festival will:

  • Celebrate and raise awareness of what philanthropy has achieved in the North East;
  • Question, debate and inform the future role of philanthropy in the North East;
  • Encourage more philanthropy in all its forms, by demonstrating the joy of giving and the good it can do.

On 7 November 2018, at The Generosity Festival will be launched in Newcastle, details can be found here: https://www.generosityfestival.co.uk/

 

Real goals for real people?

In recent years, debates on social mobility have been dominated by discussion about access to elite higher education institutions. The danger of this is that other routes to adult life can be dismissed, wrongly, as lesser achievements. In this recently published article in Discover Society, Professor Tony Chapman, Director of Policy&Practice, and Honorary Professor of Social Policy in the Department of Sociology summarises the pitfalls of focusing too much on individuals’ responsibility to commit to long-range social mobility at the expense of more proximate and realistic ambitions.

In the European philosophical tradition,  equality is associated with social justice, liberty and citizenship, while in the United States the focus has been on meritocracy and self-determination  to  ‘get ahead of the pack’.  Policy makers and practitioners in the UK, it is argued, are now  moving in this direction – one consequence of which is that ‘winners’ see themselves as worthier than ‘losers’.  Thus Theresa May’s announcement on the steps of Downing Street that ‘we will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you’ (BBC News, 13th July 2016 ) has pejorative undertones.  What happens to those who are judged to have less ‘talent’, ‘ambition’ or ‘character’?

The article, together with contributions from several leading commentators can be accessed here: https://discoversociety.org/2018/10/02/real-goals-for-real-people/

 

Securing a future for community business

Interactions between businesses, public authorities and charities. A seminar organised by the Institute for Local Governance at Council Chamber, Hartlepool Civic Centre, Hartlepool Friday 26th October 2018, 9.30 – 13.00

This seminar will explore the potential of community business to contribute to the economic and social wellbeing of localities in the north of England. Community businesses work across a wide range of sectors including, for example, employment support, training and education/business support, housing, health and social care, transport, sports and leisure, arts, libraries, pubs, shops, catering and food production, energy, craft and manufacturing, finance and environment/nature conservation.

It is generally accepted that community businesses are distinctive because they are locally rooted, they trade for the benefit of the local community and, as such, they are capable of achieving community impact. While community businesses may be located in communities and contribute to them socially and economically, to what extent are they accountable to communities; and if so, how might that be assessed? Furthermore, the seminar asks: does community accountability matter if they are providing jobs, facilities and services?

Putting too much emphasis on the ‘accountability’ of community businesses could be counterproductive in that such organisations may be expected to bear too much of a burden of responsibility for the wellbeing of their communities – and to do so autonomously – when the reality is that such responsibilities must be shared by other third sector organisations, private businesses and public authorities.

Indeed, the seminar asks, how should these sectors interact to secure the value community businesses can bring to localities and what is reasonable to expect from community businesses in social, political and economic terms?

The seminar will be chaired by Councillor Kevin Cranney, Chair of Hartlepool Borough Council Regeneration Committee. Speakers include:

  • Suzanne Perry, Senior Research Officer, Power to Change Research Institute: on current investment to secure a future for community business.
  • Professor Tony Chapman, Policy&Practice, St Chad’s College, Durham University, on the distinctiveness of community business in comparison with other third sector organisations.
  • Tom Johnston, Chief Executive Officer, Glendale Gateway Trust, Wooler, Northumberland: on the journey of established community businesses. 
  • Sacha Bedding, Manager, Wharton Trust: on supporting the development of community business.
  • Stuart Macdonald, Associate Director and Grace Brown, Researcher, Centre for Local Economic Strategies: on the interactions between community businesses and their localities.

The seminar is free to attend, but places are limited and they tend to book up quickly, so please register your attendance via: Janet Atkinson, Institute for Local Governance, Durham University janet.atkinson@durham.ac.uk.

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.

Approaches to the settlement of refugees and migrants in Northern England

Interactions between communities, public authorities and charities.  A seminar organised by the Institute for Local Governance

Middlesbrough Town Hall, The Old Fire Station, Albert Road, Middlesbrough TS1 2QJ, Friday 21st September 2018, 9.30 – 13.00

The settlement of migrants and refugees can lead to sensitive political, social and service delivery challenges including how best to approach and manage the process at the local level.

The seminar draws on contributions from speakers currently engaged in research, policy and practice initiatives surrounding issues of migration, ethnicity and community cohesion in the North of England. Taking as its starting point the, Integrated Communities Strategies Green Paper, the seminar will look at long-standing and newer initiatives to promote community cohesion in northern towns, cities and rural areas.

Policy makers may consider that the arrival of migrants in already established ethnic minority communities will achieve an easier transition or that densely populated communities will be more amenable and capable of adapting than is the case in towns and rural areas.

However, such assumptions and the complexities surrounding settlement in areas with different geographical and socio-economic characteristics needs to be fully understood and openly debated. This event will also address the challenges and opportunities of settlement in areas where migrants or refugees are very much in the minority.

In analysing these issues, attention will be given to the journeys individuals follow and how their adaption to new local circumstances is influenced by a range of factors such as personal and wider social networks as well as the individual’s economic, social, cultural and demographic characteristics. In seeking to provide outside assistance it is important not to presume that all individuals need the same kind of support or will share the views of others as to the lives they wish to lead.

Personal journeys are also shaped by the reception migrants and refugees receive from established communities and neighbourhoods and the support they get from public authorities, voluntary and community organisations. It is therefore important to consider how such engagement can be provided in the most positive and effective manner and how the support can be offered in a complementary way which avoids duplication of effort and thereby maximises impact.

Speakers include:

Professor Gary Craig, Visiting Professor University of Newcastle upon Tyne and Chair, North East Race Equality Forum, will look at current challenges and will ask where we hope to be in ten years’ time.

Amria Khatun, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, will provide an overview of the Green Paper and consider ways of tackling challenges different areas may face.

Shahda Khan, Strategic Cohesion and Migration Manager, Middlesbrough Council, will look back over the last ten years on integrated interventions by public authorities, charities and community groups to bolster community cohesion.

Georgina Fletcher, Chief Executive, Regional Refugee Forum North East (with Alison Holland and Chris Ford), will look at interactions between public authorities and charities to effect successful approaches to settlement across the North East.

Speaker presentations can be accessed here:

Amria Khatun 21st September 2018Georgina Fletcher, Alison Holland & Chris Ford 21 September 2018;  and Shahda Khan 21 September

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