Community Assets – Under the Hammer
The Social Investment Business has announced the launch of Community Assets – Under the Hammer. From 4th December until 8th February 2013 they will be accepting expressions of interest for the capital element of the Community Assets and Services Grants. These are part of a grants programme previously called Community Rights support grants, renamed to be clear that the grants can be used for more that those seeking to use the community rights in the Localism Act.
Supporting Community Shares to buy Community Assets
A new service has been launched by Cooperatives UK and Locality with Government backing, to help the growing number of communities wanting to raise finance for co-operative and community-owned assets, such as the local pub or shop. At the same time residents are starting to use the Community Right to Bid to get time to raise money, and to influence planning permissions on change of use.
Tenants organisations investigating community rights
The last of the Urban Forum and Locality community rights events took place on 13th December in London, with the National Federation of Tenant Management Organisations and the London Tenants Federation. Delegates discussed how tenants organisations might be able to use the Community Rights in the Localism Act to acquire buildings, influence development or provide community services. NFTMO is currently monitoring the use of the rights by Tenant Management Organisations, to draw out good practice and learning on how the rights can be used in conjuncture with the existing rights, such as the Right to Manage. For more information contact NFTMO
Additional money to support Neighbourhood Planning
Planning Minister, Nick Boles, has announced £17 million over two years for local authorities to support local groups develop neighbourhood plans.
Payments of up to £30 000 for a neighbourhood plan are to fund local authorities to carry out their duties to provide advice and assistance, hold an examination of the plan and arrange a community referendum. For more information about neighbourhood planning visit MyCommunityRights
What small community groups want
A new research report, Seeing and Doing, from the Third Sector Research Centre finds that learning and skills-development within small community groups has little to do with formal training, but more to do with learning from similar groups and social networks.
More community organisers to be recruited
The 7th round of community organiser hosts have been selected
and will be recruiting people to become organisers in their local area. The latest hosts are Stockwell Partnership and High Trees Community Development Trust, Halifax Opportunities Trust, VISTA, Cornforth Partnership, Cornwall Collaborative CIC, North of England Refugee Services, Portobello Community Forum, St Paul’s Crossover and Firmstart CIC. They will recruit and support community organisers while they undergo a years training as part of the
community organisers programme.
The changing face of poverty in the UK
The 15th annual Monitoring Poverty report 2012 by the New Policy Institute was published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation last month. It shows how the composition of poverty in the UK is changing, with poverty among working households rising by one third since the early 1990’s and now outnumbering poverty among workless households. The report highlights low wages and underemployment as the key contributing factors, and also examines the impact of welfare reform.
What information should local authorities should be publishing
Consultation on turning the Code of recommended practice for local authorities on Data Transparency (2011) into regulations has been taken place, ending 20th December. The DCLG published a summary of existing rights and the code of guidance.
Making town and parish councils easier to set up
DCLG is currently consulting on plans to make it easier to set up town and parish councils. The deadline for responses to the discussion paper they have published, outlining their proposals, is 9th January.
Can the Social Value Act change commissioning practice?
The public sector is gearing up for the introduction of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, which will be coming into force in January. Social Enterprise UK has published a report on where outsourcing has gone wrong, and a guide for public bodies on how to implement the Social Value Act. A number of local councils, including Liverpool and Camden, have announced plans for how they intend to do this.
A view of commissioning at the local level
As the latest in a series of stories about commissioning, the National Coalition for Independent Action has published the views of Michael Bell from the Patchwork Project in Newcastle about the experience of a consortia of local providers competing against a large national charity.
Debunking myths about partnerships and economies of scale
New research by the Third Sector Research Centre challenges some of the assumptions driving the push for partnership working and scaling up of third sector organisations and finds that service user voices were often silent in current partnerships.
Treasury Autumn Statement
The Treasury published its Autumn Statement on 29th November. Included in this were announcements that austerity policies will be extended to 2017-2018, tax on corporations to be cut by 1%, local government budgets cut by 2% in 2014, and benefit increases to be capped at a below inflation figure of 1%.
Pressure to make multi-nationals pay tax
Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee is carrying out an inquiry into tax avoidance and this month heard evidence from google, amazon and. This followed a report earlier in the year that revealed the extent to which profit across the world is held in off shore accounts. After being targeted by campaigners, Starbucks this month ‘voluntarily’ offered to pay an additional £10million in tax that it is legally obliged to.
NCVO and Volunteering England to merge from 1 January
The NCVO and Volunteering England merger is complete. The new organisation will be called NCO with Sir Stuart Etherington as its chief executive. Volunteering England CEO Justin Davis Smith will become the executive director of volunteering, in a new directorate within NCVO. There are to be no redundancies as a result of the merger. Volunteering England’s 1,800 members will join NCVO, bringing its membership to just under 10,000
Government sets out plan for equal marriage
Minister for Women and Equalities, Maria Miller, announced this month that legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry in civil ceremonies will be brought forward next year.
What is putting people off giving to charity?
Research by nfpSynergy has shown that ‘too little money going to the cause’ is the public’s top reason for not donating to charities, with the next most popular reason that charities are ‘not clear about how donations are spent’.
New Big Local areas announced
The next 50 areas to be part of Big Local were announced on 10th December by the Big Lottery. The Big Local is managed by Local Trust, which is working with £200m from the Big Lottery Fund and a range of partners to support residents in 150 areas of deprivation. The 50 areas that have been chosen will join 100 communities announced as Big Local areas in July 2010 and February 2012. CDF, who set up Local Trust has also published a new resource for Working with Communities.
The value of older volunteers in combatting social isolation
CDF has published a new report on the Action at 60 Community Agent programme, funded by the DWP. The project aimed to reduce social isolation and the report on how well they succeeded highlights that older volunteers can play an important role in reaching out to older people in the community.
Nesta has published its top ten and a half tips for social entrepreneurs considering a crowdsourcing campaign. Crowdsourcing is money raised by submitting pitches to an online platform for a period of time as a way of accessing lots of potential funders willing to contribute small amounts. Recent examples include funding for a documentary of the Spirit level.
A new form of charity launched
Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, has announced a new form of charity – Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs). This new type of organisation allows charities to enter into contracts and hold property without needing to go through the process of registering as companies in order to avoid trustees being personally liable if the organisation runs into financial problems.
Decentralisation – national government to neighbourhood services
Greg Clark MP has published a progress report on how far 12 government departments are implementing decentralization policies. DCLG has published the outcome of four pilots where local budgets were decentralized to a neighbourhood level
New guidance to clear up confusion about CIL
The Community Infrastructure Levy allows local authorities to impose a charge on new developments in their area which can be used to fund community projects, such as parks, schools and health centres. Following confusion about how the levy its with planning obligations under section 106, the Government has issued new guidelines.
New service for rough sleepers
A new service, StreetLink, has been launched. It’s national hotline and website puts people sleeping rough in touch with local help and advice. It also allows the public to alert local authorities to people sleeping rough in their area. The service is funded by DCGL and Greater London Authority.