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ChangeUp Hubs Review

Capacitybuilders appointed an independent consultant to review the hubs, to assess whether their structure and services best meet voluntary and community organisation needs. The review report was published on 13 September 2006. A final decision on the review of the Hubs was made by the Capacitybuilders Board on 22 Nov 2006. The National Support Services Draft Framework 2008-11 draws on the Hubs Review and the Destination 2014 consultation.

National Support Services Draft Framework 2008-11

The draft framework paper on the National Support Services under ChangeUp is a culmination of the general consultations conducted through Destination 2014 during December 2006 to March 2007 and also draws on the Hubs Review of 2006.

The framework recommends four support themes of Finance, Performance, Workforce and Voice. Each would have a 'strategic lead' organisation coordinating the programmes, under the overall strategic leadership of Capacitybuilders. Within strategic themes, specific projects would be delivered by 'programme lead' organisations.

The suggested programme areas include for example: in Finance - fundraising, business planning, public service delivery; in Performance - quality assurance, strategic planning, ICT, mergers and alliances; in Workforce - governance, volunteer management, employment policies; in Voice - campaigning, user involvement, advocacy, community action.

A single gateway is proposed to information, advice and sign-posting for both infrastructure organisations and frontline third sector organisations.

From mid July to mid September there will be a process of identifying organisations capable of managing the strategic themes, and of gathering expressions of interest for the delivery of specific programmes. A further stage from October to December will involve detailed negotiations to determine specific 3-year business plans and delivery programmes.

The draft framework paper is principally being circulated to the Infrastructure National Partnership, Capacitybuilders formal advisory committee, and other specific organisations with a particular interest in helping to shape the future services.

If you would like to express your views about the framework paper, please contact Peter Williams, Acting Strategy and Policy Co-ordinator by email: - deadline for responses is Monday 2 July.

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Capacitybuilders Response to Hubs Review

Following the National Hubs Review, the Capacitybuilders Board, meeting on 22 November, committed itself to a programme of change in the future delivery of national support services to the voluntary and community sector and social enterprises:

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pointer National Hubs Review - Programme for Change - Press and Stakeholder Statement acrobat icon 30k

Capacitybuilders will take a greater strategic leadership role in pursuing all elements of the ChangeUp programme and an increased role as a direct commissioner of national services.

Chief Executive Simon Hebditch commented: “We all recognise the central importance of providing national support services to the voluntary and community sector and the social enterprise movement around the country. The Board has rightly commended the national hub staff for their commitment and work up to date.

"Capacitybuilders will be directly commissioning organisations next Spring to take responsibility for delivering essential national services to the sector. We will be consulting the sector between January and March 2007 on the future priorities for national support and will be opening up a major commissioning exercise in May 2007 to ensure that these programmes are taken forward effectively over the years to come.

"But change starts now. Capacitybuilders will be introducing new ways of working from the next financial year - ensuring effective cross hub work and improved communications, the adoption of a common accounting framework, common evaluation systems and a renewed focus on investing in the infrastructure of the sector. Most importantly, we will be making sure that the plans and programmes of the ChangeUp consortia across England relates closely to the provision of national support services."

Recommendations: The Way Forward for National Support Services

Capacitybuilders will:

  • Take a more strategic leadership role in pursuing all elements of the ChangeUp programme including the provision of national support services.
  • Set a series of objectives and outcomes relating to the delivery of national services following consultation with the voluntary and community sector over January/March 2007. Such objectives and outcomes will reflect the need to focus on supporting the infrastructure of the third sector for the benefit of front-line organisations, and will be aligned with the overall objectives and activities set out in the final strategic plan for the period 2006-2014.
  • Publish these sets of objectives and outcomes as tender documents for a commissioning exercise to be conducted from May to July 2007 with a view to agreeing contracts with main contractors by September 2007. The contract period will extend from April 2008 to end March 2011.
  • Ensure that there is an open, competitive tender process for the delivery of a range of national support services as indicated above. Capacitybuilders will invite applications from national bodies, regional/sub-regional organisations, social enterprises, community interest companies and the private sector – all of whom must be committed to the ChangeUp programme. All applicants for the role of main contractor must be able to demonstrate knowledge, understanding and experience of the third sector as a whole, the interests of a range of sub-sectors (such as mental health, elderly people, the role of sport and recreation etc) and equalities and diversity issues.
  • Develop further advisory mechanisms to ensure that it is receiving effective and timely advice from the voluntary and community sector as to the developing needs of the sector, and how they can best be met through the ChangeUp programme. Capacitybuilders will consult with the Infrastructure National Partnership and other appropriate bodies or networks in January/February 2007 to determine the best way to access effective advice. A refreshed advisory mechanism will be in place by April 2007.
  • New contracts will be negotiated with the existing accountable bodies and hubs for the period from 1 June 2007 to end March 2008 in order to ensure both continuity of service and the opportunity to further focus activity on supporting the infrastructure of the voluntary and community sector and social enterprise. Such new contracts will also include the need to introduce a common accounting framework, to move towards a common evaluation system and to ensure effective cross hub working and communications. Budget levels for the period June 2007 to end March 2008 will be determined in joint discussions.


Hubs Review - Durning Report

The Capacitybuilders Board of Directors, meeting on 4/5 September 2006, received the Durning report and recommendations concerning future options for the delivery of national ChangeUp services to local, sub-regional and regional infrastructure organisations in the voluntary and community sector.

The Board noted that all of the options contained in the report specify a greater role for Capacitybuilders in providing strategic leadership and management for the national element of the ChangeUp programme.

The Durning report relates to the national Hubs aspect of the overall programme, but the Board re-stated its commitment to an enhanced role in providing leadership for the ChangeUp programme overall and sees the need for creating better links between the work being undertaken at a local, sub-regional level and the national scene.

The Durning Report recommendations are re-produced in the document below - “Stakeholder Statement” - with each recommendation interspersed with the Capacitybuilders Board decisions.

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Expand Details of Document 278spacer  Hubs Review - Report in Full (Sep 2006) Word icon 129k

Other Hubs Review documents can be found in the documents finder.


Background to the ChangeUp Hubs Review

Part of the ChangeUp programme has been to set up six national 'hubs' to address voluntary and community sector infrastructure issues. The six national hubs are:

  •  Financing voluntary and community sector activity
  •  Governance
  •  Information and communication technologies
  •  Performance
  •  Volunteering
  •  Workforce development

£8.7 million of funding has been committed to the hubs in 2006/07.

Capacitybuilders appointed an independent consultant to review the hubs to assess whether their structure and services best meet voluntary and community organisation needs. 

The fundamental questions to be asked in the review were:

  • what do local, sub-regional and regional voluntary and community organisations need from a national set of services if indeed they are required?
  • what is the best way of delivering such services?

The first question does not simply imply a “reactive” set of services. There is a role for leadership and example in working with local and regional organisations.

The review was not meant to focus on “achievements so far” as the national hubs are all fairly recent additions to the ChangeUp programme. Rather the review was designed to concentrate on the right configuration for offering national services if indeed they are required.

The following criteria for the review were agreed:

  • evidence of the range of the added value that the national hubs may bring to the voluntary and community sector;
  • extent and quality of support and training offered to generic infrastructure organisations;
  • extent and quality of support offered to sub-sectoral, specialist, functional infrastructure organisations – including responses to the equalities and diversity agenda;
  • extent and quality of commissioning – including direct commissioning and competitive tendering;
  • evidence of leadership in developing/setting national standards in key areas of capacity building;
  • evidence of supporting the development of good practice at the regional and local levels;
  • extent and quality of engagement and partnership development work undertaken.
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