Booking is now open for VAHS’s study day, The end of the voluntary sector’s infrastructure? Are intermediary bodies doomed? Does it matter?
We welcome the attendance of members and friends of VSSN and others interested in the historical role and future development of infrastructure bodies in the voluntary sector.
Please join us!
Date: Saturday, 16th June 2018
Place: Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Time: 10 AM to 5 PM
Registration fee: £35 for members of VAHS and £40 for non-members
Register via Eventbrite:
Further details: Meta Zimmeck – [log in to unmask]
Points of interest:
A varied programme of talks, discussion and debate including lunch and concluding with drinks and VAHS’s AGM.
What it is about:
Many organisations that promoted and supported important segments of the voluntary sector have been decimated in recent years. The London Voluntary Service Council has come to an end after more than a hundred years of service to the voluntary agencies of the capital; Volunteering England has been folded into the NCVO with the loss of its distinctive voice and dedicated research identity; and a host of local intermediary bodies like councils for voluntary service, volunteer centres, community associations and settlements as well as specialist associations for women, disabled people, and BME communities have been forced to close their doors.
The intermediary bodies under threat are local, regional and national organisations which aim to represent particular communities, interests or geographic areas; co-ordinate services and other forms of action; and lobby or campaign on behalf of these communities, interests and areas.
Over the course of the last century government, voluntary organisations supported by intermediary bodies and intermediary bodies themselves developed shared expectations that intermediary bodies would provide, where needed, comprehensive coverage and support; enjoy productive working relationships (partnership) with government through, for example, involvement in policy-making and -implementation; and receive adequate financial support from government for basic functions as well as specific projects. These expectations reached their greatest fulfilment under New Labour (1997-2010), which highlighted and, indeed, expanded the role of intermediary bodies as capacity-builders for the voluntary sector, gave formal recognition to partnership (local, regional and national compacts) and provided substantial funding to secure their better functioning.
However, since 2010 governments have changed their priorities: they have largely ignored intermediary bodies and cut their funding. This has had a negative impact: many intermediary bodies have reduced the scope of their activities or abandoned some activities altogether; some have merged with other bodies or organisations or redefined their missions in order to keep going; and some have closed.
This study day will explore the development of intermediary bodies and their current actual and metaphysical crisis. It will ask whether their historical role was meaningful and effective, whether they have the capacity and nerve to continue in this role or to find a new role and indeed whether they will continue to exist. It will ask whether intermediary bodies matter and, if so, what we can do to save them.
9.45 Registration and Coffee
10.15 Taking the long view of voluntary sector infrastructureorganisations: Where did they come from? What were they for?
Colin Rochester, Practical Wisdom R2Z
10.45 Tensions and contradictions within and towards infrastructure organisations’
11.30 A brief history of central funding of voluntary sector infrastructure
Nigel Siederer, Good Foundations
12.15 The disorganisation of voluntary sector infrastructure
Rob Macmillan, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University
13.45 Reports of our death are greatly exaggerated: The
view of localinfrastructure from the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action
Soo Nevison, Community Action Bradford & District and NAVCA
14.30 Changing the paradigm
Bob Rhodes and Chris Brown, Forest Voluntary Action Forum
15.15 Panel discussion
Alex Buckmire, Voluntary Action Harrow
Jan Crawley, South West Foundation
Mike Locke, Volunteer Centre Kensington & Chelsea
Andrew O’Brien, Charity Finance Group
16.00 Drinks followed by VAHS AGM
17.00 Close of study day
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