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Trust, power and collaboration: Funding relationships

Newcastle Business School (part of the University of Northumbria) is drawing together case studies on the way people and organisations are approaching better ways to understand local commissioning processes and manage performance. Complexity-informed practice looks at different forms of accountability and has a focus on building a healthy system, developing trust and relationships, joint learning and capturing the effects on users of services.

IVAR has been funded by Tudor Trust to support and add value to this research by extending its scope to include a specific focus on Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations. The overarching aim of this additional work is to consider the implications and requirements (e.g. skills and relationships) of new and different approaches to commissioning for VCS organisations. We will facilitate a series of conversations with VCS organisations, which we expect to focus on the themes of trust, power and collaboration.

This will contribute to a more complete picture of what is needed to ensure systems work for the people they are designed to serve, both locally and nationally.

Recession Watch Revisited

Funded by the IVAR Research Development Fund, in partnership with Cripplegate Foundation and Comic Relief

In 2012, we undertook research with 60 small voluntary organisations across the UK to explore the challenges they were experiencing and how independent funders might help them navigate the ongoing political and economic uncertainty sparked by the recession.

Five years on, we continue to see, hear about and research many of the same challenges – less funding and more need has become the new ‘normal’, and austerity seems to be here to stay. The original research highlighted the reduced availability of core funding; higher demand for services due to increasing poverty, hunger and unemployment; and a lack of time for forward planning. We also identified a number of ways that funders could support organisations to overcome these obstacles, which we have explored further in subsequent publications: for example, the importance of core funding, difficulties around ‘sustainability’, and the role of funders in supporting advocacy work.

In 2017 we are revisiting the voluntary organisations that took part our 2012 research to understand if and how their circumstances and outlook have changed. We will also carry out a series of interviews and discussions with independent funders to reflect upon changes in funding practice over the last five years, with the aim of highlighting the most useful and/or progressive practices.

For more information, take a look at the 2012 research ‘Duty of Care‘ and our wider work on Funding: Core Funding; Sustainability; Funding Plus.

If you have any questions, please do get in touch with eliza@ivar.org.uk