2013 November - Funding Partnerships and Consortia: Benefits and Challenges for the Funder

Faced by a choice between a consortium of small specialist providers and a single 'one size fits all' provider, what are the benefits and challenges for the funder who picks the consortium? The meeting heard from:

• London Councils and consortium partners from the ground-breaking pan-London Violence Against Women & Girls Consortium;
• Rocket Science on their experience of partnership funding through the Mayors Mentoring Fund;
• City Bridge Trust on their experience of a consortium of funds seeking to commission  a consortium of partners to deliver the Fear & Fashion programme;
• LB Hounslow on their experience of funding a consortium to deliver their Hate Crime Support Service

Presenters
Janet McDermott, Aya Project, Imkaan and Women's Aid Capacity Building Partnership
Natalie Gyte, Women’s Resource Centre
John Griffiths, Rocket Science
Ciaran Rafferty, City Bridge Trust
Aine Haye, LB Hounslow
London Councils

Meeting Outcomes

Our Learning from Funders series enables funders to look together at good and innovative approaches to funding London’s voluntary and community sectors. Each meeting explores a particular aspect of the funder relationship with funded groups. This event, focusing on Funding partnership and consortia, enabled participants to consider amongst other issues:

• Why prefer partnership/consortia bids and when might they be appropriate?
• What lead-in time do groups need to prepare a joint bid?
• Structuring the contract arrangements:

§ Is the only way to have a lead partner handing all finance, collating monitoring information, undertaking due diligence with all partners?
§ What is cost for the lead partner?
§ How much will the funder allow them to charge?
§ What are the implications for the relationship with others in the partnership?
§ Is this administrative process appropriate for every kind of consortium structure?
• How is the lead partner selected? Is it feasible to run a contract with a lead partner that is smaller than other partners in the consortium?
• During the contract: what happens when a partner drops out, or when one fails to deliver?
• What are the challenges in monitoring the grant: is the funder’s relationship with individual partners or only with the lead; can you track service users over the partnership?
• If a partnership has been formed rapidly to apply for a particular pot of funding, what characteristics will enable it to build into something bigger or more far-reaching?

A full report from this meeting is available here.