Last online discussion:
1 February 2012, 2pm – 4pm
Below the Radar and the unintended consequences of voluntary sector reconfiguration.
Organised in partnership with Big Lottery Fund.
An introduction from panel members is below. Scroll down to see all discussion comments.
More discussions are being held on the Globalnet21 website. See home page for details.
Sioned Churchill, Director of Special Initiatives and Evaluation, Trust for London
Sioned has worked for Trust for London since 2001. The Trust is an independent funder of community and voluntary sector groups tackling poverty and inequality in London and distributes approx. £7 million annually.
Over the past 25 years the Trust has established a particular interest in funding small and emerging grassroots community groups, as it believes these groups are often in the best position to identify needs and find possible solutions. During this time, many new communities have settled in London and therefore the Trust has had a strong emphasis on supporting refugee and migrant communities, who are often the first access point for information and support.
Prior to working at the Trust Sioned worked for 20 years in community development in King’s Cross, London. Her experience included managing three community centres, co-ordinating the local community safety and health partnerships, supporting tenants’ and residents’ participation in Estate Action and Regeneration programmes as well as organising a range of community projects. Sioned continues to take an active interest in the voluntary and community sector, and was a Trustee of Voluntary Action Camden from 2001 – 2010.
Angus McCabe, Senior Research Fellow, Below the Radar Research Stream Lead, TSRC
Angus is currently seconded to the Third Sector Research Centre and the Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Mental Health at the University of Birmingham and leading a longitudinal study on Shelter’s Children’s Services in England and Wales with Merida Associates. He is a Board Member of the International Community Development Journal, an Associate of the Federation for Community Development Learning and has been involved in training and development work with non-governmental organisations in Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
“One of the assumptions underlying the Big Society agenda is that larger charities in the sector will bid the capacity of community groups to engage in service delivery. Yet there is very little evidence that this has happened in the recent past: and even less evidence that ‘below the radar’ groups are interested in ‘scaling up’ to deliver public services. Indeed, in the current competitive commissioning environment there is some suggestion that those very groups are losing out to larger voluntaries as they become preferred sole providers.”
Debbie Pippard, Head of Programmes, Barrow Cadbury Trust
Debbie Pippard is Head of Programmes, with overall responsibility for both the Trust’s grass-roots grants and policy work and for making sure those two aspects of our work complement each other to improve social justice. Debbie joined the Trust in May 2010, having spent seven years as a grant-maker with the Big Lottery Fund and prior to that holding senior management posts in the voluntary and health sectors.
Alison Seabrooke, Chief Executive, Community Development Foundation (CDF)
Alison has been the Chief Executive of the CDF since 2005. She spent a year on secondment to the Home Office and DfE and prior to this was involved in her community, setting up a range of local organisations. As a volunteer and later chief executive, she initiated and led a project which raised funds for a new community facility. She cut her enterprise teeth on managing a 15300sqft building, setting up new businesses and community services. The award-winning centre is still in business, 12 years later.
CDF is a social enterprise that has over 40 years experience of brokering relationships between communities and government, on a range of policy areas. It has delivered grants to 1000s of grassroots organisations, advised on policy and conducted research; currently CDF is managing the Community First programme for OCS, setting up the new £200m Local Trust on behalf of Big Lottery Fund and delivering the Community Action Against Crime; Innovation Fund, for the Home Office and Active at 60 for DWP.
“I remember, around 2004/5 being part of a working group looking at the potential catastrophic effects of the demise of SRB and ESF funding. Many people in the sector described this as the knife-edge group. However, the sector didn’t disappear, as feared, not will it in the current economic circumstances.
In some respects CDF reconfigured early – in May 2010 we were still a public body and were subjected to government freezes on recruitment, communications, use of consultants (aka CDF associates) We were not allowed to spend on these items and we found creative ways to meet the same goals, whilst saving a lot of public money (it wasn’t without its challenges). The second unintended consequence is that we have found we are working with lots of new partners and increasingly with the private sector. This has been partly driven by new tendering processes, but also a genuine climate of people wanting to do things differently.”
Peter Wanless, Chief Executive, Big Lottery Fund
Peter Wanless has been the Big Lottery Fund’s Chief Executive since 1 February 2008. He has overseen development of “Big Thinking – a strategic framework to 2015” and the five funding portfolios within it (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and UK-wide). During this time BIG has also become an increasingly significant distributor of non-Lottery funds. He has championed the importance of effectiveness, efficiency and quality of customer experience, describing the role of the Lottery distributor as being about much more than getting cash out of the door.
Peter was previously a senior Civil Servant at the Department for Education, specialising in schools’ reform.
Between 1987 and 1998 Peter worked at the Treasury, operating in a range of roles including Head of Private Finance Policy and Principal Private Secretary to three Cabinet Ministers.