1 The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Office for Civil Society (OCS) and The Big Lottery Fund (BLF) are keen to fund projects that put people in the lead, using social action, in partnership with public services, to find solutions to local challenges.
2 The joint programme would build on our collective experience from previous programmes and that of our proposed partners by supporting communities and local public services to work together to transform local systems so that more people are participating in social action locally, complementing the delivery of local public service
3 We are proposing a programme that will enable people to take the lead through:
4 We know that local authorities are under increased pressure to maintain essential services and cut spending, and that local VCSE organisations are experiencing increased demands, whilst simultaneously facing reduced income.
5 Alongside these public sector public sector pressures there is a fast paced devolution agenda that aims to give new powers to local authorities in key policy areas, additional budgetary powers, enhanced power over local taxes as well as the creation of new structures and accountable bodies such as combined authorities and directly elected mayors.
6 Although these are challenging times, there is also a great deal of opportunity for (and demand from) local communities to have a stronger voice and influence on how public money is spent in and for their community.
7 This programme aims to empower communities and harness the power of individuals to work together to enable local change to happen. Our hypothesis is that enabling people to take the lead will ultimately lead to better outcomes by tailoring services to people’s needs. Research also demonstrates that investing in increasing the social capital that exists within a place can lead to increased civic engagement.
8 The programme would work with communities, leaders from local statutory agencies and academics to achieve the following:
9 The programme would be delivered with an external partner and would involve a mixture of direct capacity building support and some direct funding.
10 The places will produce plans that make fuller use of resources within communities aimed at achieving clearly defined outcomes, have buy in from local public services and can be sustained by communities. The funders would then work with the delivery partner to select around 10 of these areas to receive more in depth support and funding to implement their local action plan. These 10 projects would be selected according to clear criteria such as the strength of the plan but also ensuring a diverse range of projects and the extent to which the plan could be implemented without further support. The exact package of support at both stages would be co-designed between the delivery partner and each area.
11 BLF, DCLG and CO will have responsibility for joint decision making and provide oversight of the programme. All partners will agree the programme design principles and approach with delegated responsibility to BLF for: * Appointment of a Support Contractor including the procurement process and grant management * Assessment and grant management with successful local area partnerships during the implementation phase
12 The Support Contractor would work with us in setting up and managing this work. The procurement of this contract would be based on knowledge of what has worked well from previous programmes, but would allow providers room for innovation in their approach to delivery.
13 During Year 1, we, with the expert advice of the Support Contractor, will select a cohort of areas (c. 25 places). The Support Contractor will then work with these areas to identify, map and bring together a set of leaders and community anchors who have ambitions to make change in their local community. We anticipate this process will be the most resource intensive in terms of the support needed, will last approximately one year and will include:
14 At the end of year one, we would expect all areas to have a vision/plan outlining their ambition to create change. We would aim to run an relational assessment process that includes a face to face interview along with written documentation (potentially in the form of a plan) to help us make decisions around which areas will receive more in depth support.
15 At this point we would expect the successful areas (c.10) will receive more in depth support and funding (amounts to be confirmed) to implement their local action plan. The exact package of support would be co-designed between the Support Contract and each area, but could include:
16 We expect this phase to last between 3-5 years.