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Introduction to ChangeUp

ChangeUp is a programme of capacity building for the infrastructure of the voluntary and community sector, developed in partnership with the sector. The aim of ChangeUp investment is to catalyse the modernisation of infrastructure provision in order to improve its sustainability, quality and reach. Led by sector expertise, the Capacitybuilders agency manages ChangeUp.

Infrastructure JunctionCross Cutting Review

The HM Treasury’s 2002 Cross Cutting Review of the Role of the Voluntary and Community Sector in Service Delivery (Acrobat icon 518k) recognised that the sector and Government have a mutual interest in building the capacity of voluntary and community organisations (VCOs).

The report made a series of recommendations that aim to strengthen the support and assistance available to voluntary and community organisations.


In response, the Home Office published ChangeUp, the cross-Government framework on capacity building and infrastructure in the voluntary and community sector, developed in partnership with the sector.

ChangeUp's aim is that by 2014 the needs of frontline voluntary and community organisations in England  will be met by support which is:

  • available nationwide
  • structured for maximum efficiency
  • offering excellent provision
  • accessible to all
  • truly reflecting and promoting diversity
  • sustainably funded

ChangeUp describes the basic architecture of support which frontline organisations need as agreed with the voluntary and community sector (VCS).


Infrastructure definitionInvestment is made at national, regional, sub-regional and local levels, with the bulk of investment (65%) going through the regions to support sub-regional and local initiatives benefiting organisations on the ground.

Investment is made in stages within three spending programmes:

  • Embedding Quality and Improving Reach
  • Modernising Infrastructure
  • Driving Up Activity in Key Areas

The aim of investment is to catalyse the modernisation of infrastructure provision in order to improve its sustainability, quality and reach in line with the high level objectives set out in ChangeUp.


Since its launch, much has been done to modernise infrastructure, embed quality and improve reach; the following are just a few examples:

  • Projects funded through the £8m early spend programme have been completed and delivered key learning for the main programme.
  • Across Government, ChangeUp investment has been integrated with the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) programme to improve support services for the rural voluntary and community sector to combat social exclusion.
  • A Public Services Programme is underway which will target investment throughout Government to build capacity in the fields of older peoples' health and social care, correctional services, ethnic minority employment, homeless hostel provision and parenting support.
  • There has been cross sector involvement and a leading role for the VCS in regional arrangements for oversight of the main programme, over 80 county and sub regional level consortia are working together and every area of England is covered by an Infrastructure Development Plan.


In order to address concerns about VCS focus and involvement, in March 2005 the Home Secretary announced the Capacitybuilders agency. Backed by a further £70m over the next two financial years this new agency manages the ChangeUp framework at arms-length from Government, led by sector expertise.

Capacitybuilders will provide:

  • a focus for accountability and ownership of ChangeUp led by sector expertise,
  • take ownership of fund management,
  • ensure the programme is joined up and co-ordinated,
  • mainstream diversity issues into the design and delivery of activities within ChangeUp
  • ensure real time action learning and longer term evaluation.

For details of progress see the Capacitybuilders and News pages.


pointer ChangeUp: Capacity Building and Infrastructure Framework for the Voluntary and Community Sector (2004) Word icon 780k

pointer ChangeUp: Executive Summary (2004) Word icon 864k

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