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Infrastructure in 2020: A force for good or a spent force?

Presentation for the NCVO NAVCA Evolve conference, June 2013, about the future of infrastructure

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Infrastructure in 2020: A force for good or a spent force?

  1. 1. Infrastructure in 2020:A force for good ora spent force?Tony Okotie,Chief ExecutiveJune 2013
  2. 2. Who are we?• Tameside:• East of Manchester city- 1 of 10 GM boroughs• Population 220,000• Mainly urban, traditional manufacturing, multipledeprivation, ‘heart disease capital of England’• State of the voluntary sector research:• 1,000 VCS organisations – 70% income under £10k• 26,000 volunteers; 1,200 employees• worth £100m pa
  3. 3. Who are we?• CVAT the joining of two ‘traditional’infrastructure organisations:• Tameside 3rdSector Coalition – formed 2001• Volunteer Centre Tameside – formed 1975• Employ 30 staff, income approx £1m• No direct services (ish)• New organisation opportunity to think aboutinfrastructure again
  4. 4. The overarching mission of CVAT:‘to build, and support strong,vibrant volunteering,community and voluntaryaction in Tameside’
  5. 5. Mission split into 5 aimsExternal: 1. Capacity building2. Volunteering3. Communities4. PartnershipsInternal: 5. Our organisation
  6. 6. Looking to 2020...• 2020 is just 7years away- the time it tookto build theLondonOlympics!Does what infrastructure looked like 7 years ago (in2006) offer any clues?
  7. 7. The unsettlement of infrastructure1. changing demands and challenges facingfrontline organisations – tailored support for acompetitive environment?2. withdrawal of central state support for nationaland local infrastructure – ‘de-coupling’3. income generation and a changing geography ofinfrastructure; TLI as unfinished business fromChangeUp? – ‘reconfiguration’Rob Macmillan, Third Sector Research Centre, University of BirminghamReproduced with permission
  8. 8. The unsettlement of infrastructure4. changing delivery mechanisms - on-linesupport; peer to peer learning; pro-bono;community organising; prime contracting; ‘fiscalsponsorship’, incubation and shelter5. ‘demand-led’ approaches - market making ininfrastructure?6. rethinking functions and staffing of infrastructureorganisations - hollowing outRob Macmillan, Third Sector Research Centre, University of BirminghamReproduced with permission
  9. 9. Implications – challenges and opportunities• ‘Customers’o what support do we need, or want? (and do we know?)o do we want to shop for it, and if so how do we choose?o how will we know if it is any good?• ‘Suppliers’o how do we reach ‘customers’? how do they know about us?o what is our business model and organisational structure?o what niche can we occupy in relation to other providers?o how do we set and adjust our prices?• ‘Market makers’o is there a viable market for chargeable support services?o how far should it be ‘managed’ or left open?o how is quality understood and assured?o what support is available for new, smaller or marginalised groups?o what about ‘voice’ and advocacy?Rob Macmillan, Third Sector Research Centre, University of BirminghamReproduced with permission
  10. 10. So , how have we responded?• Merger to form CVAT• Opportunity to rebrand, lose ‘baggage’• Financial efficiencies• Redefine services and ‘offer’• The offer to VCOs– 3 levels:1.Self Service / ‘digital by default’ underpinning strategy1.Free offer – because someone else is paying2.CVAT+ -our chargeable offer
  11. 11. Digital by default / self service• Online access to:• Self assessment of group needs (and onlinesignposting)• funding portal• e-learning• Closed discussion space (s)• Factsheets• Good People – an alternative to ‘Do It’?• Note: work in progress!
  12. 12. So , how have we responded?• Collaboration• Our offer to other organisations:• Make – sell – buy – share?• 3 touchstones for collaboration:Can’t negatively affect the service local VCOs getMust be better than cost neutralKey stakeholders must approve• Specialist support fund• Way to buy / commission specialist support on VCOs behalf• Tests out VCOs contributing / paying
  13. 13. So , how have we responded?• Development of other services• Consultancy• Grant management• Project management / consortia / supply chains• Being ‘solution focussed’ with commissioners• Tameside 4 Good• Need to provide practicalsupport to help VCOs increasework with business / community
  14. 14. Tameside 4 Good• Increasing giving of time and skills, resourcesand money – locally• Business engagement• community fundraising• volunteering• Replicable model -other infrastructureorganisations can licence
  15. 15. What have we learnt?• We have no ‘right’ to be funded – wehave to be excellent• Competition - baseline is private providers• Demonstrate impact – to VCOs andfunder• Voice is important• Be clear – what is free, what isn’t
  16. 16. What have we learnt?• Be lean / efficient• the cake is getting smaller, so overheadsshould be a thinner slice• Avoid mission drift• It’s a journey – which takes time• If you haven’t already started.........?