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The Big Society: The Good, The Bad & The Unequal? shimAdd News551 to Scrapbook

‘The Big Society: The Good, The Bad & The Unequal?’ is a national conference organised jointly by JUST West Yorkshire, Runnymede Trust, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. It will critique the Big Society and attempt to posit solutions in the context of the challenges currently facing British society. This will also include a debate on the impact on Northern BME communities, which One North West and JUST have been working together to highlight

The event will also see the launch of JUST’s publication ‘The Big Society: The Big Divide?’ which draws on views from leading practitioners and commentators in the field.

All delegates will receive a free copy of the book. Places are limited and will be offered on a first come first served basis. Lunch and refreshments will be served.

The conference is free to attend and takes place in Bradford on 29 February 2012.

To book your places please call 01274 542222 or

Click herefor conference flyer

Reading the Riots: Community Conversations in the north shimAdd News550 to Scrapbook

The riots that took place in August 2011 shocked the nation. It could be argued that they heralded a new strain of civil unrest in the United Kingdom.

However, with the Government blaming 'criminality pure and simple' and the lack of a public inquiry similar to the one undertaken by Lord Scarman in the 1980s, there was a significant void in the evidence needed to explain the August riots and to help guide the policy responses that are necessary.

The Guardian and London School of Economics'Reading the Riots project has sought to redress this gap. As part of Reading the Riots, researchers spoke with over 270 rioters across England and found that hostility to the police, dislocation from society and inequality were major factors behind people of all ages taking to the streets, alongside the often cited consumerist urge to 'get some free stuff'.

Despite these clear commonalities, there were discernable geographical disparities in the way that the riots developed, differences which are bound up in specific historical and social contexts. These particular local characteristics need to be recognised and put at the heart of a suitable response.

The north of England in particular is suffering disproportionately from the ill-effects caused by the recession and the subsequent government responses. For instance, area based grants(ABG), which targeted investment to areas in need of regeneration and which laid great emphasis on tackling worklessness, have been ended. This has had significant impact in the North West, in which 21 of 39 local authority areas (including Manchester,Liverpool and Salford) were in receipt. At the same time, the representation of northern voices in government is shrinking.

Under the auspices of localism, there has been a centralisation of power and the emergence of a democratic deficit as regional voices are being neglected. The removal of the regional Government Offices and the link to Westminster that these provided, allied with the fact that there are very few northern Conservative MPs (or prospects of being more) is reflected in the current design of Government policy. Policies are rooted in a reality that few northern people recognise and that will not provide the solutions that are evidently required.

Similar scenes in Salford. 

Last year David Cameron declared that 'fairness means giving people what they deserve, and what they deserve depends on how they behave'. Although the behaviour of the rioters is not to be condoned, the voice of all our northern communities, including those who rioted, deserves to be listened to.

It is for this reason that I will be working with theGuardianand LSE in early March to put on the Manchester and Salford Reading the Riots community conversations, building on the lessons that I learned as a researcher in the project. This provides the opportunity to connect the communities of these two great cities with politicians and will contribute invaluable evidence to the national response.

This has already involved many discussions with a wide range of communities and decision-makers, many of whom passionately describe the deeper social issues that the riots have revealed. The results of these conversations should lead to insights that can shed light on the wider debate and contribute to the local explanations for the momentous events that cast such a long shadow over last summer and which continue to have implications today.

Daniel Silver

The northern community conversations are as follows:

Liverpool Thursday 1 March. In partnership with the Unity Community Project. The Unity, Toxteth, 6pm-8pm

Manchester Tuesday 6 March. In partnership with Manchester's Social Action and Research Foundation. Friends Meeting House, 6pm-8pm

Salford Thursday 8 March. In partnership with the Social Action and Research Foundation, 6pm-8pm

For more information, please see:

Voice 4 Change respond to Transforming Local Infrastructure shimAdd News549 to Scrapbook


The Transforming Local Infrastructure (TLI) programme was dubbed as the fund that would modernise the landscape of local infrastructure for the voluntary and community sector (VCS). Minister for Civil Society Nick Clegg said the £30m fund, shared between 72 partners was all about "making things better for the front line”.

But national advocates for the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) VCS have warned that the programme may entrench existing inequalities in support services to the frontline. Voice4Change England, who are conducting research into equality and the Big Society, are concerned that the needs of disadvantaged communities are being neglected as some BME infrastructure organisations were left out from VCS partnerships during the bidding process. Additionally in areas where bids were unsuccessful, such as Bristol and Barking and Dagenham, there is a high BME population, leaving equalities organisations asking how BME frontline will be supported and represented in these areas.

The programme was designed to encourage collaborations and mergers in an environment of increasing funding scarcity. Successful bids would have to demonstrate how support for equalities would be met.

Traditionally, the frontline BME sector, made up of mostly small, local organisations, has been marginalised by mainstream infrastructure services who have failed to reach them and understand their needs. Specialist frontline and infrastructure providers have struggled to be included and recognised as equal partners in collaborations with mainstream organisations.

Vandna Gohil, Director of Voice4Change England says:
"We strongly believe that BME and generic support organisations need to work better together, but this should be an organic process to better meet users' needs and not driven by top down funding requirements.

The evidence is clear; when BME infrastructure is excluded from the planning and delivery of specialist services, BME communities are left behind.

It is crucial that successful partnerships now deliver on the commitments they made to equality in their bids. We call on the Office for Civil Society and the BIG Lottery Fund to put mechanisms in place to make sure this happens.

Voice4Change England will monitor progress and check back with our members to find out if services are accessible and relevant to the diversity of the sector.”

Invitation to the National Communities United Against Hate DVD launch shimAdd News548 to Scrapbook

Date: Friday 2 March Time: 1pm – 4pm

Venue: in Lancashire

This is your opportunity to:

· Hear about hate crime legislation and its implications from Superintendent Paul Giannasi from the Ministry of Justice

· Hear from Dr Paul Iganski, an internationally renowned academic specialising in researching and writing on hate crime

· Learn about the importance of tackling discrimination in sport from Gordon Taylor OBE, Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers' Association.

· Hear of ways of utilising the DVD in your organisations to complement hate crime awareness campaigns.

· Receive a copy of the DVD and be provided with details on how to access it online.

· Network with other practitioners and policy makers interested in the hate crime agenda.

Please email for details on how to book on to this free event.

Participation Works : Upcoming Training shimAdd News547 to Scrapbook

Participation Works is a partnership of six national children and young people's agencies that enables organisations to effectively involve children and young people in the development, delivery and evaluation of services that affect their lives.

We offer training and consultancy; a national network of participation workers (the Participation Works Network for England); and an online Gateway that offers a wide selection of information, the latest news and supporting resources on participation.

Our upcoming training courses include:

How to improve local services through youth inspection – 22nd March, Manchester

This practical one day course supports practitioners in developing and running inspection schemes. It covers the purpose and impact of youth inspection, and focuses on the five stages of running an effective youth inspection scheme.

How to use creative methods for participation – 20th June, Leicester

This new, innovative one-day course is based on the popular How To Guide on the same topic. At the end of the training day participants will have developed knowledge in this specific area of participation, ideas and exercises to use with children and young people and the confidence to incorporate the training in their work.

Building a culture of participation – 2nd May, Sheffield

This course explores how an organisation's culture can be established to support children and young people's active and meaningful participation. The course is based on developing participants' skills and knowledge in participation, involving self and organisational analysis as well as action planning.

For further information on any of our resources or training please visit or email at

Transforming Local Infrastructure North West Results shimAdd News546 to Scrapbook

Total 23 submissions – 15 successes (65%). Total North West investment = £5.618mil

Greater Manchester
11 Submissions – 8 successes (72%)

Combined authority - £290k

Central Manchester - £400k

Tameside - £338k

Oldham - £278k

Wigan - £373k

Bolton - £331k

Salford - £361k

Trafford - £383k

Total investment = £2.754mill

5 Submissions - 2 successes (40%)

Liverpool - £390k

Wirral - £373k
Total investment = £763k

3 Submissions – 3 successes (100%)

Lancashire - £599k

 Blackburn - £396k

Blackpool - £400k

Total investment = 1.395k

3 Submissions – 2 successes (67%)

Cheshire West - £387k

Warrington - £319k
Total investment = £706k

1 Submissions – 0 successes (0%)
Total investment = £0

Social Value Bill passes Lords second reading shimAdd News545 to Scrapbook

The private member’s bill, introduced by Chris White, the Conservative MP for Warwick and Leamington, is designed to make public sector commissioners take into account the social value bidders can offer alongside financial considerations. 

The bill was sent to be considered at committee stage by the whole House of Lords and if there are no more amendments to the bill by peers, it could become law within the next month.

Quoted in Third Sector magazine, Chris White said: "This bill is a great opportunity for us to not only spend public money better but also to support voluntary organisations, community groups and social enterprises across the country."

Tameside Race Equality Framework: A solution for Big Society shimAdd News544 to Scrapbook

The Race Equality Framework is an innovative pilot developed by One North West in Tameside, signalling a new approach to the Big Society and Localism. Within this document, we introduce a framework for social justice and equality that brings together the public and voluntary sector in true partnership. As intended, the Framework has taken on a new meaning that is specific to Tameside as delivered by DUO Development and Tameside Third Sector Coalition, but it was guided by five principles that were developed at the North West BME VCS Policy Forum.

These five equality principles emerged as a response to the challenges of Big Society and Localism, which if there are not measures put in place, could potentially serve to exclude minority communities from participating in the design and delivery of public services.

The framework provides an example of coproduction and shows that principles that are rooted in equality can be used, whilst still allowing for local action. It is one solution for the issues of localism


The framework will be officially launched at the One North West and Voice4Change Big Society event on 9th February, but it can be seen here:Tameside Race Equality Framework

Open Public Services - Passage of a bill workshop shimAdd News543 to Scrapbook

28 February 2012 10:00 - 14:00


In July 2011 the Open Public Services White Paper was launched looking at the reform of public services, particularly in terms of increasing the role of charities, social enterprises and the voluntary sector in public service delivery. This will naturally have a huge impact on our sector. In order to understand the parliamentary process further, this VSNW/Parliamentary Outreach Service eventwill include:

• Types of bills presented before Parliament
• The passage of a bill and its scrutiny through Parliament
• Key stages in which to engage with the passage of a bill
• Differences between Commons and Lords in their scrutiny of legislation
• Identifying relevant members to engage with on the legislation
• Useful resources in tracking and informing you of Public Service Reform

To register for this free event, email Helen Walker, VSNW Information Officerat call 0161 276 9300.

Cabinet Office Update for the North West - January shimAdd News542 to Scrapbook

1. £150 million Big Society 'endowment for the nation' launched - The new Community First endowment, which aims to raise £150 million to be invested to secure the future of local community projects in England, has been launched by Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society.

The Government will pay in up to £50 million, giving 50p for every £1 raised from individual, corporate and philanthropic donors. With Gift Aid tax relief, this will create a pot worth in excess of £150 million. The money will be invested and the return, expected to be up to £12 million per year, will be used to provide grants to local community and social action projects from 2015 onwards.

The Community Development Foundation (CDF), which manages Community First, will begin work with local Community Foundations in the Community Foundation Network (CFN) to raise money for the endowment. For more information -

2. The Social Action Fund Round Two opened on 9 January 2012
The Social Action Fund is a new grant fund of over £20 million managed by The Social Investment Business on behalf of the Office for Civil Society. The Fund aims to inspire organisations to create new social action opportunities; encouraging people to give what they have, be it time, money, assets, knowledge or specific skills. The second application window opened Monday 9 January 2012. All applications will have to be received by noon on Friday 3 February 2012. For more information -
Successful applications will address the following themes:
Encourage people to come together in their locality to support each other
Projects that scale proven models to regional or national levels, or replicate them in other localities. Some priority will be given to models that encourage those who do not traditionally get involved as volunteers. Particularly interested in models that offer people the opportunity to give time and / or money to activities that deliver a public benefit and complement the public sector.
Focus on the different life stages of volunteering
Programmes that target the following will be favoured:
- Building a culture of participation among school children and university graduates
- Encouraging professionals who have retired or are on point of retirement to use their experience and skills for community/public benefit.
- Inspire and support NCS graduates who want to continue contributing to their communities through social action projects.

3. NAO report into Central Government's Implementation of the National Compact
The National Audit Office (NAO) has published the findings from their inquiry into how government departments are implementing the Compact in their work. For more information download the report - information also at -

4. National Citizens Service Delivery Partners 2012 by Local Authority Area
In 2012 National Citizen Service will give up to 30,000 16-year-olds the chance to learn new skills and get involved in their community, a three-fold increase in the number of places in 2011.
The scheme will take place in a number of different locations across England. Information on providers by local authority area is available at -