Category Archives: Research News

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.

This 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

Third Sector Trends in East Yorkshire and Hull

A new report has just been published on the current situation of the Third Sector in East Yorkshire and the city of Kingston upon Hull.  The report has been produced to help inform the development of a new leadership programme which will be established in the area in January 2018.

The report provides a localised picture of the situation in East Yorkshire and Hull using a relatively small sample of organisations (n=146). These responses have been  extracted from the much larger Third Sector Trends Study undertaken in 2016 for Joseph Rowntree Foundation.  To ensure careful interpretation, the report should therefore be read in conjunction with the wider ranging regional report.

The report can be downloaded here: THIRD SECTOR TRENDS EAST YORKSHIRE AND HULL


Who Runs the North East?


Prof Fred Robinson

Professor Fred Robinson has been working with Professor Keith Shaw and Sue Regan of Northumbria University on a major study of governance in the North East of England. The findings have just been published; the Report is now available at

The researchers looked at the region’s political structures and the local Councils, bodies and boards running key public services. The research covered 100 organisations in local government, health, education, arts and culture and housing. This unrivalled analysis of power and accountability shows that the North East’s public services are run by a narrow range of people: largely middle aged, middle class people who are not representative of the region’s population. The majority of those in charge are men, but women are more involved than they used to be.


Key findings are:

  • The North East today has very little clout. Most of the region’s MPs (26 out of 29) are in Opposition — and London is more dominant than ever. The former regional institutions have been abolished and — despite the rhetoric — there’s been little devolution of power to the regional or sub-regional level.
  • Local government has been weakened by austerity  and that’s on top of a continuing problem of low election turnouts.
  • Many public services are run by people who are appointed,  they can’t be voted out, so there is little democratic input.
  • There’s been a big increase in the involvement of women in governance. Now, 14 of the region’s 29 MPs are women, compared with 4 women out of 30 MPs in 2000. It’s the same on Councils: 43% of North East Councillors are women, compared with 23% in 2000. However, most senior positions are still held by men.
  • Many appointed boards still have male majorities, but the dominance of men has been steadily reducing. Even so, boards where the majority of members are female are very rare indeed.
  • In other respects, the people who run the North East are far from representative of the population. Very few are under the age of 45; very few are from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds; and few are disabled. Most have professional backgrounds. There are far more accountants appointed to boards than people from BAME backgrounds. Seven of the 12 Councils have no BAME councillors. No less remarkably, hardly anyone running the region’s NHS organisations is disabled.

The report says that many voices are unheard, many points of view are effectively unrepresented. Big decisions about health and education have little or no input from many of the people who use these services.

There may not be much that the North East can do to counter the dominance of London. But organisations in the region could do much more to be representative and accountable. They need to be far more open about what they do; some of their websites, for example, certainly do not give the impression of transparency and openness. Boards should hold meetings in public and publish minutes of meetings, as a matter of principle and good practice. They should be thinking much more seriously about diversity in their governance and how to foster it; vague policies are not enough.

Fred Robinson said “This research provides the facts and figures that can be used to challenge and change existing practices. Public services need to be much more open and accountable, so that they are more responsive to local communities”.


This research was supported by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Newcastle law firm Muckle LLP, and the Institute for Local Governance.

Third Sector Trends in North West England Report published

A major new report on the Third Sector in North West England has been published by Policy&Practice.  The study, funded by IPPR North and Garfield Weston Foundation, includes responses from 1,462 third sector organisations in the North West of England.

The work forms part of IPPR North’s ‘The Future of Civil Society in the North’ programme.  The first report on the programme was published by IPPR earlier in 2017 by Tony Chapman and Jack Hunter and is available here: Third Sector Trends in the North: a summary of key findings.

The work runs alongside two other major studies in North East England, funded by Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland (who are now responsible for the legacy of the Northern Rock Foundation Third Sector Trends study and for the development of future iterations of the project) and Yorkshire and the Humber funded by Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Jack Hunter, Senior Researcher at IPPR North has reviewed the key points from the report in a blog which can be found here:

The North West England report is  available here THIRD SECTOR TRENDS IN NORTH WEST ENGLAND 2016.

Reports from Yorkshire and the Humber and North East England are also available at these web addresses:


North East England:






Yorkshire and the Humber Third Sector Trends Study published

A major new report on the Third Sector in Yorkshire and the Humber has been  published by Policy&Practice  on Monday 17th July 2017.

The Third Sector Trends study has been running in Yorkshire and the Humber since 2010.  The first phase of the work, funded by Northern Rock Foundation established a baseline assessment of the size and structure of the sector. This work was carried out by NCVO and Southampton University.

In 2013, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) funded a major survey of over 1,000 charities in the region in collaboration with Involve Yorkshire & the Humber and St Chad’s College, Durham University. A second phase of the work was undertaken in 2016, also by Professor Tony Chapman of  St Chad’s College – again generously funded by JRF.

The results of the 2016 survey chart the progress the Third Sector has made over the last ten years in tackling key social, economic and environmental issues in the region.

The work runs alongside two other major studies in North West England, funded by Garfield Weston and IPPR North, and in the North East by Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland who are now responsible for the legacy of the Northern Rock Foundation work and for the development of future iterations of the project.

The 2016 study report can be found here THIRD SECTOR TRENDS IN YORKSHIRE AND THE HUMBER 2016

The 2014 study report can be found Third Sector Trends in Yorkshire and the Humber May 2014

Professor John Mawson becomes a Professorial Fellow at St Chad’s College

Professor John Mawson has joined St Chads College as an honorary Professorial Fellow.  John has a long-standing relationship with members of the leaders of the Policy&Practice team: Professors Fred Robinson and Tony Chapman.  They have worked together on a wide range of projects over the last six years on issues  surrounding governance issues across the third sector and public sector. Professors Mawson and Chapman also jointly supervise three PhD students in Durham University Business School.

John Mawson has a multi-disciplinary professional and academic background. He is currently the Director of the Institute for Local Governance in Durham Business School and has previously been Chief Executive of the pioneering West Midlands Enterprise Board Ltd., a local authority controlled venture capital institution which was to successfully operate across the region between 1981 and 2012.

In the academic world John was Director of the public sector MBA programme at the School of Public Policy, Birmingham University and went on to hold Chairs in Town and Regional Planning at Dundee University, and Public Policy and Management at Aston Business School. Between 2001 -2009 he was Director of the Local Government Centre at Warwick Business School.

In the world of practice, John has held Board positions in several private-public sector partnerships and community initiatives including serving as a Director of the West Midlands Technology Transfer Centre, Warwick Science Park and Greets Green New Deal for Communities.

Professor Mawson has published several books and over 100 journal articles together with official publications on the management of cities and regions. He has secured some 12 Research Council grants and raised over £4 million of research grants and consultancy from central and local government, the voluntary sector and research foundations.

In welcoming Professor Mawson, College Principal Dr Margaret Masson said, “John brings a wealth of experience to Policy&Practice. The College is delighted to welcome him as an honorary Professorial Fellow. We look forward to a new phase of development of our research, policy and practice initiative to make an even  stronger contribution to economic wellbeing and social justice in the North of England”.


Learning when not to do things, to keep things simple

As the ESRC funded ‘Keeping it Simple’ and ‘Sharing the Responsibility’ projects move to the final stage, a morning seminar was held on Friday 7th July at St Chad’s College  to discuss some of the key learning points from the project so far.

This is the first time in the project that public-sector organisations involved in the project have come together with other funding organisations, infrastructure bodies and practicing third sector organisations.

The purpose of the seminar was to discuss topics, including how to disaggregate different types of collaboration ranging from formal contracts, through partnerships, complementary relationships and good neighbourliness.

We also looked at issues surrounding the need for the measurement of impact and the way that contracts define beneficial outcomes of programmes. In the seminar, we had some self-declared ‘impact heretics’ who cast doubt on the value of nailing down project outcomes where this may not be possible or desirable.

The programme will now continue to produce four ‘what makes a difference?’ reports. Each of the short briefings will focus on learning points discussed in the seminar including ‘when not to measure impact’, ‘when partnerships do not need to be formal’, ‘when money isn’t the issue’, and ‘when the focus is the beneficiaries, not the organisations’.

Specially invited attendees at the seminar included:

Charitable Foundations

Rob Williamson, Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland; Clare Watkin and Julie Coxon, Big Lottery Fund; Nikki Crowther, Ballinger Charitable Trust; and, Harriet Stranks, Lloyds Bank Foundation.

Third Sector Organisations

Brendan Hill, Concern, The Mental Health and Wellbeing Group; Mark Davis, Middlesbrough Voluntary Development Agency; Sally Young, Newcastle CVS; Jane Hartley, VONNE; Gillian Peel, Age UK Darlington; Julia Bracknall, Carers Together; and Alisdair Cameron, Launchpad and ReCoCo.

Local Authorities and Health Organisations

Linda Whitfield, Gateshead Council; Natasha Tefler, Darlington Council; Sarah Perkins, Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust; Mark Adams, Redcar and Cleveland Council; and, Andrew Copland, NHS Hartlepool and Stockton CCG.


Professor Tony Chapman, St Chad’s College, Durham University; Professor Fred Robinson, St Chad’s College, Durham University; and, Professor John Mawson, Institute for Local Governance, Durham University.