Category Archives: Research News

Blurring the lines of responsibility in emergency services

When does partnership end and dependence begin?

A seminar organised by the Institute for Local Governance. It will take place at Teesside University, Vicarage Road, Darlington DL1 1DR on 23rd June 2017,  9.30 – 1.00

The political language surrounding partnership working is appealing.  Originating from many initiatives established in New Labour governments, partnership became a catch-all phrase to encourage ‘joined-up working’, determining ‘what works’, and producing ‘added value’. When there’s plenty of money on the table, partnership working is easier because notions of shared responsibility don’t necessarily include expectations of sharing out resources. But when money is very tight, things change.

Austerity measures have weakened the provision of services to some of society’s most vulnerable people; such as people who are homeless, people with severe mental health problems and people suffering from alcohol or drug addiction. All too often such factors are inter-linked – which makes the situation more complex because lines of responsibility become blurred.

If agencies are obliged to water down or withdraw support for essential services, those partners which feel a strong sense of duty to maintain provision often try to fill the gap. Quite often such responsibilities fall to the emergency services – but with what consequences for their officers and for those other areas of responsibility for which they have a statutory duty to attend.  How are key services, including  the Police, Fire and Rescue, Ambulance, Health and Local Government responding to the challenges?

In policy terms, the Government has intervened through a series of legislative devices including the Policing and Crime Act 2017 which enables Police & Crime Commissioners, if there is local support, to oversee the local Fire and Rescue Authority. Similarly, the development of Combined Authorities could empower “Metro-Mayors”  to play a significant role in governance of emergency services.

These developments, taken together with increasing budgetary pressures on all three emergency services, are producing new levels of complexity in the delivery of emergency services and various initiatives to secure enhanced collaboration. The big question for the seminar is not just to ask how service providers in the public, local government and voluntary sectors can continue to tackle front line issues, but also to look at how to alleviate problems before they become too severe or prevent problems in the first place.

The seminar’s starting point is not crisis management,  but it is a chance to explore what needs to be done and can be done to prevent situations arising and to ensure that those in need are channelled to agencies that have the expertise to meet their complex needs. How can collaboration across service area boundaries help maximise the use of resources and enhance efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery?

Speakers include:

  • Professor Howard Davis, Professor of Social & Local Policy, Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, Coventry University
  • Chief Superintendent Jane Spraggon, Head of Command, Strategic Demand Management & Harm Reduction Command, Durham Police
  • Jim Cunningham, The Community Peer Mentor – Project Coordinator, Office of the Durham Police Crime and Victims Commissioner, Durham Police
  • Chris Lowther, Chief Fire Officer, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Services
  • Professor Eileen Kaner, Professor of Public Health and Primary Care Research, Newcastle University
  • Kelly Stockdale, School of Health, Teesside University

This is the fourth seminar in the current season which covers a variety of topics including: welfare reform, revitalising coastal communities; graduate retention and recruitment; and, tackling the democratic deficit in the context of devolved responsibility. 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

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


Graduate enterprise and employability

A question of ‘retaining’ or ‘attracting’ graduates to North East England?  

A seminar organised by the Institute for Local Governance, Bridges Room, Gateshead Council, Civic Centre, Gateshead, Friday 26th May 2017, 9.30 – 1.00

Recent research from the Centre for Cities demonstrates that the North East is leeching graduates to the London and the South East of England.  The exodus of talented young people is undoubtedly a cause for concern – which has been reflected in policy statements from both the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and the Tees Valley Combined Authority. But is it the right to put too an strong emphasis on the retention of North-East graduates to secure the future of the North East economy, or should more emphasis be placed on the attraction of graduates to harness the opportunities the region presents to them?

The seminar will consider issues surrounding employer demand for graduates and ask whether the ‘offer’ presented to prospective candidates is right for graduates as well as for the region.  The seminar will also focus on the quality of graduate employment in the region by identifying the extent of ‘under-employment’ of graduates and debating it’s consequences for the incumbents of such jobs and for the region more generally.

Speakers will look at the current Creative Fuse initiatives to improve interactions between business, universities and the public sector to promote new ventures in creative industries using digital technology, arts, traditional and new communications media.  A specific case study will be presented on digital innovation and the incubation of graduate businesses at Digital City in Middlesbrough to demonstrate how long term initiatives take root.

The seminar will be Chaired by Jonathan Blackie CBE, Visiting Professor Northumbria University. Speakers will include:

  • Shona Duncan, Head of Skills, Education and Employment, Tees Valley Combined Authority, on graduate employment and underemployment in Tees Valley
  • Laura Woods, Director of Academic Enterprise, Teesside University, on the achievements and ambitions of Digital City for graduate enterprise
  • Michelle Rainbow, Skills for Business Manager, North East Local Enterprise Partnership, on the changing skills needs and generation of labour market strategy
  • Helen Ross, Project Manager, Creative Fuse North East, on building relationships across NE universities and businesses to promote graduate employment and enterprise in creative industries
  • Paul Swinney, Principal Economist, Centre for Cities, on causes and extent of graduate migration from North East England

This is the third seminar in the current season which covers a variety of topics including: welfare reform, revitalising coastal communities; evidencing personal wellbeing and social value; tackling the unforeseen consequences of unmet need; and, tackling the democratic deficit in the context of devolved responsibility.

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

Presentation slides are available here: Laura Woods on Digital CityPaul Swinney on Graduate Migration; Helen Ross on Creative Fuse; Shona Duncan on Tees Valley; Michelle Rainbow on the North East LEP

Community wellbeing in Japan and the UK

Professor Yoshinori Isagai, Keio University

Chad’s College has continued to develop its research, policy and practice links with a number of universities in Japan this spring.  In addition to established connections with Tokyo, Waseda and Teikyo Universities, Professor Tony Chapman visited Keio University for a second time this spring to further develop his working relationship with Professor Yoshinori Isagai, Executive Director, Keio Research Institute at SFC, on issues surrounding community development and empowerment.

At Keio University, Professor Chapman was formally introduced to Professor Jiro Kokuryo, Vice President and Professor of Faculty of Policy Management to discuss the possibility of formalising relationships between our two universities.

Profs Chapman and Takatani

Work with long-standing colleagues at Tohoku and Sanno Universities continues with Professors Nakajima and Shibukawa on issues surrounding social enterprise and community wellbeing.  Professors Chapman and Takatani also share a strong interest in comparative studies on community architecture, urban planning and social wellbeing which continues to develop.

Next academic year it is anticipated that Professor Kanji Tanimoto from Waseda University will come to Durham on a research visit both to St Chad’s College and to Durham Business School.

The contribution sport can make to global social and economic wellbeing

Dr Iain Lindsey, School of Applied Social Sciences

The Commonwealth Secretariat will host a live debate on the role of sport in contributing to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals on 6th April 2017. The event marks the 2017 International Day of Sport for Development and Peace the Commonwealth Secretariat is convening the 2nd Commonwealth Debate on Sport and Sustainable Development.

Two teams of experts and personalities drawn from across the Commonwealth will provide a reflective and entertaining debate on the motion: ‘Corruption in elite sport undermines the potential to promote development and peace through community sports’.

Details about the debate are available here:

The debate will coincide with the launch of a major new publication for the Commonwealth Secretariat by Dr Iain Lindsey and Professor Tony Chapman.  The book offers new thinking on how to implement new policy and practice to meet the ambitious goals set by the United Nations.

The guide builds on the work of previous Commonwealth publications that have presented analysis of the role of sport in progressing sustainable development. Aimed at governmental policy-makers and other stakeholders, it provides evidenced and balanced policy options to support the effective and cost-efficient contribution of sport towards six prioritised SDGs.

The report is underpinned by an emphasis towards strengthening the means of implementation and the measurement and evaluation of progress, as emphasised by the SDGs and existing Commonwealth principles. Developed through extensive Commonwealth Secretariat-led consultation with relevant experts and organisations, it represents an important addition to the growing body of SDP publications, guides and research.

For full details of the publication, go to this web address:

Third Sector Trends Headline Report Published by IPPR

The initial headline findings from the Third Sector Trends Study, undertaken in 2016 by Professor Tony Chapman have now been published.  The study was funded by Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland (in North East England), Joseph Rowntree Foundation (in Yorkshire and the Humber) and by IPPR\North and Garfield Weston (n North West England).

The key findings were published today by IPPR in a report by Professor Tony Chapman, St Chad’s College, Durham University  and Jack Hunter of IPPR North and can be downloaded here.  third-sector-trends-in-the-north-of-England_Mar2017.

News commentary on the research can be found on IPPR\North’s website which can be accessed here:

The key findings were announced at the IPPR’s ‘Civil Society and the North Summit’ in Newcastle upon Tyne on 30th March to an audience of voluntary and community sector colleagues, policy makers and academics from across the North of England.

Detailed results from each of the three regions of the North will be published in June.

Citizens House: Building a new Community Centre in Consett

St Chad’s College Professorial Fellow, Fred Robinson and Research Fellow, Ian Zass-Ogilvie have been working closely with  Citizens House, a community group in Consett, helping them to develop and expand their community centre. Now,  three years of hard work have at last paid off: the Big Lottery has pledged over £650,000 to build a new centre.

Over the past few years, Fred and Ian have been supporting  Durham County Council’s ‘asset transfer’ programme. They have been  helping  local organisations  to take responsibility for community centres  that the Council was struggling to maintain. Of course it’s not been easy, but most of these buildings have now been successfully transferred — and are continuing to provide valuable local services.

Citizens House in Consett is one of these centres. The building doesn’t look attractive, the layout is poor and it’s outdated. But it is very well used by a remarkable variety of local groups, ranging from AA to the WI. Following asset transfer, the management committee began to think about how to modernise the building and accommodate more activities. Ideas were generated and ambitions grew.

A partnership was developed, comprising the Citizens House management committee,  officers from Durham County Council, building experts — and Fred and Ian. That partnership supported the asset transfer process, then worked on proposals to secure funding to develop plans for the future. There were a lot of hoops to jump through. There have been difficult meetings and times when it looked like it wasn’t going to work out. A great deal of work had to be done to develop plans that really could bring out the potential of Citizens House, making it a beacon of hope and community support in Consett.

The original idea was to reorder the internal layout and build on to the existing building. But, late in the day, mine workings were discovered under the site. That was a huge challenge — but partners worked together to come up with a radical Plan B. That involves demolishing the existing building, stabilising the site, and building a brand new Citizens House. The Big Lottery has agreed to provide most of the funding for the new building – a major grant of more than £650,000.

Fred commented: ‘We are delighted that Consett is going to get a new Citizens House – it’s a wonderful project. We’ve been glad to play our part in helping to make it happen and we will continue to offer our support’.

He went on: ‘This is a project that shows how research skills can be used to make a real, tangible difference – and it shows how we at St Chad’s can respond to the needs and challenges that our region faces’.

Third Sector Trends 2016 headline results to be released

A summit will be held in Newcastle to discuss civil society and the Northern Powerhouse. The event will bring together a wide range of people from the third sector and wider civil society in the North of England, in order to discuss what the Northern Powerhouse and the devolution agenda means for them, and how they can adapt to a changing landscape, in order to help build a more progressive and inclusive North.  Key topics include:

  • The opportunities and threats posed to civil society organisations by devolution and the Northern Powerhouse agenda
  • How to engage with new structures such as combined authorities and metro-mayors
  • New campaigns and movements for a fairer North

Organised by IPPR\North and funded by Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Charities Aid Foundation, the event will take place on 30th March 2017. 9.45am – 4.30pm. Location: Event Northumbria, 2 Sandyford Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 8SB

The event will also be showcasing headline results from the Third Sector Trends 2016 study, run by Professor Tony Chapman at St Chad’s College, Durham University. This landmark study, funded by Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, JRF and Garfield Weston presents findings from a study of 3,500 third sector organisations across the whole of the North of England. Speakers at the event will include:

  • Ed Cox, IPPR North
  • Rob Williamson, Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland
  • Professor Tony Chapman, St Chad’s College, Durham University
  • Emma Stone and Katie Schmuecker, JRF
  • Rhodri Davies, Charities Aid Foundation
  • Sara Bryson, Citizens North East
  • Jane Hartley, VONNE
  • Eve Holt, DivaManc
  • Simone Roche, Northern Powerwomen

If you want to reserve a place, sign up with eventbrite here:





Local regeneration on Tyneside, 40 years on

Regeneration is usually considered in the here and now.  But what legacy do such projects leave many years on.  Professors Fred Robinson and Alan Townsend have undertaken two projects in Benwell and North Shields as part of the ESRC Imagine research programme hosted by the University’s Centre for Social Justice and Community Action.

The first report looks at the history of regeneration in the Benwell area of Newcastle upon Tyne (North East England) after the Community Development Project (CDP) ended in 1978. It provides an account of the development, implementation and impact of regeneration policies. It draws on archive documents including reports and maps and five in-depth interviews with key actors, past and present, conducted in 2014-15.

This account cannot, of course, cover everything that has impacted on Benwell. The principal focus is on the main ‘area-based initiatives’ that have been implemented in the area, especially those that conveyed explicit ideas about an imagined future – what the area might become.  The report shows the context: ideas about what needed to be done and how it should be done and concludes with a statistical section, tracking some key indicators of change in the area over the past 40 years, 1971 to 2011.

The second report looks at North Shields in North Tyneside which looks at the history of regeneration in the North Shields/North Tyneside area after the CDP. The report draws on archive documents including reports and maps and five in-depth interviews with key actors, past and present.

Both reports include a timeline to show the history of area-based policies in Benwell and North Shields, alongside the significant events and the changing local, regional and national political landscape.

Read the reports Benwell…..fortyyearsonrevisedSB4thversionwithexceltimelinespreadsheet23.2.17


Investing in small charities in ‘cold spots’: Redcar & Cleveland and Port Talbot & Neath

Small charities form the bedrock of civil society.   So their wellbeing needs to be attended to, especially in places where there are concentrations of economic difficulties.  The problem with previous attempts to strengthen small charities is that ‘gold standards’ about what a successful organisation should look like have been adopted.  And far too often, standardised tools have been developed to build the ‘capacity’ and ‘capability’ of such charities which simply don’t address the specific needs of individual charities.

Lloyds Bank Foundation has invested significant resources in the development of charities for many years through its Engage and Enhance programmes.  But some charities which really need help don’t meet the eligibility criteria. This project seeks to change that by working with a small number of charities, intensively, over a period of a year.

Known as Lloyds Bank Foundation’s ‘Grow’ programme, this project seeks to experiment with new approaches to strengthen small charities without demanding standardised outcomes which meet the expectations of outsiders rather than of charities themselves.

Based in two areas of the UK which have been challenged economically in recent years, the project will invest significant levels of support to help charities become more resilient as organisations and effective in what they do but without necessarily expecting them to grow or change beyond the ambitions they set themselves.

Professor Tony Chapman has been chosen to assist in the development of this two year programme and will evaluate the success of the intervention.


Can deferred gratification help young people stay committed to apprenticeships?

Professor Tony Chapman and Stephanie Rich are to evaluate the National Youth Agency’s TEN programme which is funded by the Money Advice Service. The project brings together tried and tested approaches to inform the development of financial literacy and sustained money management skills and builds on the success of an existing intervention (Barclays Money Skills Champions).

Its purpose is to strengthen the existing evidence on the immediate advantages of the previous programme for Money Skills Champions, to get a better understanding of how peer education improves the financial capability of 16-21 year olds who are engaged in apprenticeships and which, in turn, has the potential to help influence subsequent decision making which could have longer-term benefit by enhancing the likelihood of improved retention on apprenticeship schemes.

More specifically, the evaluation aims to explore the efficacy of the project through the following research questions:

  • To determine if the NYA’s existing approach to ‘peer education’ has distinctive and beneficial impacts upon young people’s approach to learning about discrete financial issues which are replicable for young people from disadvantaged or marginalised backgrounds.
  • To find out if the financial learning intervention has a positive impact by improving young people’s knowledge about financial issues and strengthens their locus of control when making immediate financial decisions.
  • To explore whether increasing knowledge and skills through peer education about financial issues may impact positively on young people’s ability to navigate key life transitions by weighing up the ‘opportunity costs’ of their decisions in financial and personal development terms.

The project runs for 18 months, beginning in January 2017.