A team have been selected to research into the future of civil society support in London

Srabani Sen OBE & Associates have been selected to carry out research into the support needs of London’s civil society

Srabani Sen OBE & Associates have been selected to carry out research into the support needs (traditionally shorthanded to infrastructure needs) of London’s civil society (including London’s diverse voluntary and community sectors). Full details on the team can be found here.

This project has been commissioned by London Funders, with funding from City Bridge Trust, and is being overseen by a cross-sector partnership – the specification itself was co-produced with the leading regional voluntary sector infrastructure agencies, London Voluntary Service Council (LVSC) and Greater London Volunteering (GLV).

London needs a vibrant civil society in order to prosper, yet these are unprecedented times economically for London’s communities. The voluntary sector, for example, is experiencing ever greater calls on its services whilst at the same time facing reduced funding. London local government has taken a 33% real cut in service funding from Central Government between 2009/10 and 2013/14 whilst deeper public sector funding cuts will come during 2015/16 and beyond.

In January 2015, the Commission on the Future of Local Infrastructure (established by NAVCA) published its report Change for Good. We therefore wish to build on the findings of that report, given London’s unique characteristics and the current context.

We want to understand how civil society in the capital can best be supported in order to optimise its positive impact on Londoners. We believe that the challenges presented by the economic downturn also present opportunities to review and re-think how civil society is supported in London.

Srabani Sen OBE & Associates will be starting work immediately, aiming to:

  • Develop a clear and robust vision for infrastructure in London, based on evidence of the needs of front line organisations
  • Develop clear recommendations, with a robust underpinning rationale, incorporating a clear definition of impact and how this could be evaluated
  • Develop an evidence base to shape future thinking and debate about infrastructure in London

Further information on the project can be found in the initial tender document (available here), and we will shortly be sharing more information about the project.

There are a number of developments taking place in London at the moment, such as London Councils’ review of funding priorities and proposals on devolution in London tied to the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review. To enable this project to feed into these developments, an Emerging Findings Report will be produced by the end of October, with the final report due in early December.

London Funders, and the cross-sector partnership which is overseeing this project, would like to be as inclusive and transparent about this process as possible, and this will involve sharing information publically as the research progresses. Despite the short timescales for the project we are very keen to engage with as many people as possible.  We will make details available soon as to how to contribute to the conversation.