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Upcoming Events

The end of the voluntary sector’s infrastructure? Are intermediary bodies doomed? Does it matter?

Booking now open

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 today!

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-end-of-the-voluntary-sectors-infrastructure-tickets-45938492267?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

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.

Programme

 9.45       Registration and Coffee

10.15       Taking the long view of voluntary sector infrastructure
                 organisations: Where did they come from? What were they for?
                  Colin Rochester, Practical Wisdom R2Z

10.45       Tensions and contradictions within and towards infrastructure
                  organisations
                   Sean Creighton

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

13.00      Lunch

13.45       Reports of our death are greatly exaggerated: The view of local
                  infrastructure 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

 

 

Voluntary Action History Society Study Day

The end of the voluntary sector’s infrastructure? Are intermediary bodies doomed? Does it matter?

Call for Papers!

Date and time: Saturday, 16 June 2018, 10AM-4PM
Venue: Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St, London WC1E

Target audience: Researchers interested in government/voluntary sector relations in general and intermediary bodies in particular; practitioners in intermediary bodies; staff of local authorities/government departments whose remit includes intermediary bodies

Issues: We are looking for papers which will address the issues set out below.

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 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 150 years 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.

Proposing a paper: If you would like to propose a paper, please submit a short abstract (around 300 words) by e-mail to meta@practicalwisdomr2z.co.uk no later than 3 April 2018.

If you have any queries or if you wish to discuss a proposed paper’s suitability, please e-mail Meta Zimmeck.

Booking: Booking will open once the programme is finalised.

Let us have your views about VAHS

We have recently sent a brief questionnaire to our members and supporters to seek their views about VAHS and its future direction. If you haven’t already done so, please let us have your opinions. If you haven’t had your questionnaire contact louis.carserides@outlook.com for details.

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