Coalition of organisations commit to ‘rethink how the social sector works’

07 Dec 2018 News

Representatives from a number of charities, infrastructure organisations and membership bodies have today signed up to a commitment to “rethink how the social sector works with partners, communities and causes”. 

Ahead of today’s National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (Navca) conference in Sheffield, a place-based declaration drafted by NPC and signed by 14 representatives from across the sector, has been published. 

The declaration commits the signatories to “advocate and begin to campaign for a broad shift in thinking” about how the social sector works with local communities and to engage with “people in the places they live and build communities” to improve “the social sector’s efficacy, accountability and legitimacy – and maximise both our social impact and mission”. 

It also said that those organisations involved will be “taking on new responsibilities in the organisation of local places” and will require “fresh, collective thinking about the long-term future of commissioning and public service markets, stretched to their limits after nearly a decade of austerity”. 

A spokesman at NPC said that, at a time when local government finances are pushed to breaking point, “the signatories hope that by further developing existing work on place, innovating new models and sharing what is known to work, the social sector can be a large part of the solution”. 

He said that the declaration follows on from “media attention of successful place-based initiatives in Greater Manchester” and the greater focus on community and place proposed in the government’s recent Civil Society Strategy. 

Seven place-based commitments 

Signatories to the declaration have also agreed to a number of commitments over the course of 2019. Those are:

  • Discuss how to better shape and agree the place agenda with partners, policymakers, funders and local people; 
  • Make the case for a range of models of place-based organisation, leadership, partnership and delivery and try to understand if there are common feature which make them effective;
  • Think about how we can work better together to overcome the ongoing effects of austerity on the sector, including the potential for reforming commissioning processes and realising the aspirations for collaborative commissioning in the 2018 Civil Society Strategy;
  • Share what exists and encourage new, locally developed, tools that can be used by communities, councils, businesses and charities to build and renew their place networks from the ground up, and disseminate existing ones;
  • Agree priorities for re-investment in social infrastructure—and how we can help bring this about; and
  • Promote the need for social sector improvement, including new models of support for small-to-medium charities provided by large charities, other social organisations and the private sector.

The declaration has been signed by: 

  • Nathan Yeowell, NPC
  • Jane Ide, Navca
  • Kathy Evans, Children England
  • Tom Neumark, Peel Institute
  • Oona Aitken, Volunteering Matters
  • Arvinda Gohil, Community Links
  • Ed Wallis, Locality
  • Joanne Cholerton, 3SC
  • David Mortimer, ERSA
  • Kirstina Glenn, Islington Giving
  • Rachel Rank, 360 Giving
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