Hubs of Expertise
Hubs are partnerships of voluntary and community organisations who have come together to improve the support available to the voluntary and community sector.
There are six Hubs established under ChangeUp for key areas of VCS expertise:
News from Around the Hubs
The ChangeUp programme has established six national hubs of expertise linked to key voluntary and community sector infrastructure issues.
These Hubs have brought together VCS infrastructure and other key stakeholders in their respective fields of interest to:
- improve efficiency, coherence and strategic development
- identify gaps
- drive up quality
- better equip those already providing support to the sector
The presence of the Hubs should also help to reduce the confusion in the sector about where to go for advice and support, by providing a gateway through which organisations can access the full range of existing support and development services and opportunities.
Tel: 020 7832 3016
Governance - a partnership of organisations who provide services and resources to improve the quality of governance in the voluntary and community sector. All their proposed initiatives respond to specific identified needs and build on existing work. The Head of Hub and Administrator are based at NCVO, the accountable body.
Tel: 020 7520 2514
Helpdesk: 0800 652 4886; firstname.lastname@example.org
ICT - composed of voluntary sector organisations who have come together to plan and deliver a co-ordinated framework of ICT guidance, good practice, advice and support for VCS organisations, accessible at a local level through a range of ICT resources. The core groups of the hub are LASA, NCVO, NAVCA, AbilityNet and IT4Communities.
Tel: 0207 520 2509
Helpdesk: 0800 652 4737; email@example.com
Performance - aims to enable VCS organisations to achieve more through performance improvement. Of the six partners, Charties Evaluation Services (CES) and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) are the lead partners; CES is the accountable body.
Tel: 0800 652 5787
Helpdesk: 0800 652 5787; firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteering - work is organised under the themes of: 1) strategy and management; 2) information dissemination, good practice and management development; 3) modernising infrastructure. Volunteering England is the accountable body.
Tel: 0121 633 5525
Workforce - deals with: learning and skills; employment practice; promoting the sector as a positive place to work and volunteer; leadership and management development. Its host and accountable body in England is NCVO.
Tel: 020 7520 2490
Helpdesk: 0800 652 5737; email@example.com
National Hubs joint website - hubs.org.uk
Around the Hubs
The new Finance Hub website has improved access to resources that make sense of finance and funding in the Third sector. The website will become a one-stop portal aggregating all the available resources of financial information relevant to the voluntary and community sector.
New toolkits in fundraising, trading, procurement, contracting and loans are now available to download from the Finance Hub website.
The pocket guide 'Introducing Funding and Finance' presents the basics of sustainable funding, planning, good financial management, fundraising, trading, contracting and loans.
The next round of the Partnership Programme has been launched - a small grants programme. The Hub is looking to work in partnership with umbrella organisations and federated charities to support and develop a significant improvement in the quality of governance within the sector at a national, regional and local level.
A reference group is being formed of people and organisations in the field willing to comment on the plans and performance of the hub.
'What Managament Committees Need to Know' is a new guide aimed at helping small voluntary organisations and community groups understand the Trustee and Management Committee National Occupational Standards and to provide an introduction to key issues related to the running of their organisations.
The Business Plan for 2007-11 has been published by the Governance Hub.
A mentoring programme for Chairs is being piloted to enable Chairs to support and encourage each other in exploring new ways of working and of re-energising their boards.
Two new online resources for Chairs have been launched - 'Starting on the Right Track: A Guide to Recruiting and Inducting a New Chair'; and 'Setting up a Network for Chairs', which contains seven key steps to establishing a network and guidance on how to make the network successful.
Research into Board Recruitment Services has been awarded to Chris Bonnard Consulting and Arte Research. Due to be completed in July 2007, this work includes developing a plan for services to support third sector organisations and individuals involved in recruitment.
Working in an advisory partnership with the Social Enterprise Coalition, the Governance Hub has commissioned research into the governance support needs and perceptions of social enterprises, in order to inform its own work and future planning and explore the distinctive governance needs and perspectives of this strongly growing part of the third sector. The work was awarded to the Open University Business School (Research Directorate) and is due to be completed in summer 2007.
Better Governance - An Introduction to Measuring and Improving Board Effectiveness has been published. This is a new online guide for trustees, staff and volunteers of voluntary and community organisations who want to develop the governance of their organisations.
Get On Board - is a public campaign to raise awareness of trusteeship and recruit more trustees in the voluntary and community sector. The campaign is primarily aimed at young professionals, including those from minority backgrounds.
Case studies are requested for the Advisers' toolbox. They will be part of the practical learning materials available to advisors to enable informal and peer learning with organisations and groups.
Living Values is a pocket guide for trustees based on the findings of a research project carried out by Community Links into values in third sector organisations. It has interesting case studies and exercises to help organisations put values at the centre of their activity.
The document Reducing the Risks: A Guide to Trustee Liabilities provides unambiguous advice on the liabilities of trusteeship based on qualitative research and analysis commissioned by the Governance Hub. The research highlighted the need to raise awareness about the reality of risks and to signpost existing resources available to trustees on a wide range of issues, including the broad legal framework around liabilities. The Guide is aimed primarily at trustees of small and medium sized organisations, as well as support staff and advisers.
Boards Count is a new scheme to share governance practice between voluntary and community organisations. The Governance Hub is providing bursaries to enable small groups to take part. The information, compiled in tailored reports, will help an organisation understand how it compares with its peers, pinpoint strengths and areas for development, formulate strategies for development and link to other participants to share good practice. To register your interest, please visit www.BoardsCount.com
At govhc.org.uk organisations can take a quick health check on their governance by answering 7 multiple choice questions to establish a benchmark.
The ICT Hub is planning a series of conferences for next year, aimed at addressing the ICT needs of different communities of interest. Plans are underway for conferences targeted at people working in arts and youth organisations and also those organisations working with older people. To suggest a topic for discussion or to find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of its 2007/08 business plan, the ICT Hub is commissioning work on telephony, open source and reaching the hardest to reach groups.The closing date for applications for each piece of work was Friday 15th June.
Presentations from the ICT Hub Conference in March are available on their website.
The ICT Hub Awards has selected winners and commended entrants from 130 applicants in the categories: Most Innovative Use of ICT; Most Accessible Organisation; Delivering Social or Environmental Benefits through ICT; Most Effective Use of ICT; Individual Contribution to ICT in the Voluntary Sector.
Regional ICT Champions are in place for each of the nine English regions to provide better resourced and connected infrastructure for championing support in ICT.
Research and reports about the way the voluntary sector uses ICT, or the best way to support its use, are wanted for a new baseline survey by Paul Ticher and Andrea Eaves. If you have produced any kind of written report on ICT in the sector, or if you know of something that is not on the ICT Hub web site, please contact Paul at email@example.com
A free online directory has been launched, which provides voluntary and community organisations with the means to find ICT companies who can provide them with technology services. All listed suppliers must demonstrate a positive track record of working in the voluntary and community sector. The directory can be searched or browsed by categories.
The ICT Hub Think Tank is made up of senior figures from across the new media industry, focusing on developing practical cost-effective solutions for issues faced by the voluntary and community sector. The panel welcome any ICT queries from the VCS and also wish to hear from people who would like to attend one of the Think Tank meetings to contribute and have one-to-one support.
A Discussion Forum allows comment on ICT issues. Current topics are: Discuss IT Volunteers, Funding, ICT in the Regions, Communicating with ICT and Discounted Products and Services.
Guidance on three additional areas will be offered by the Performance Hub in 2007-2008:
- getting ready to focus on performance - guidance on ways to map out the resources needed for performance improvement;
- market research into user needs and communicating success - promoting the value of marketing, of market research, and of pro-active communications;
- operational planning - focus on researching and signposting to existing resources.
A bank of common indicators is being established through research undertaken by the New Economics Foundation. Organisations are needed to take part in the research through a 30 minute telephone interview. The aim is to understand whether the task of measuring what matters could be made easier and clearer through creating a bank of shared indicators (ways of knowing that an outcome has happened).
The Performance Hub website content is being reviewed. People are invited to make suggestions by 10 July on how the content could be improved, particularly around new pages or sections.
A new strategic planning course for development workers is to be launched this September, exploring how to support frontline organisations with implementing a strategic plan.
Findings have been published from an evaluation of a range of activities undertaken in 2006/2007 as part of the Project Partnership Framework and Pilot Learning Programme.
A new Performance Hub publication 'Funding Better Performance' examines how funders and third sector organisations can work together to achieve more. The six case studies featured in the report show how working together to improve performance can help funders make their money go further, whilst enabling third sector organisations to learn and develop.
Action learning sets - provide an opportunity for development workers to exchange experience and learning with others further afield. The 'Traditional' action learning sets will focus on reaching smaller groups, benchmarking and providing services (£250 per person). These will be supplemented by a pilot of online supporting performance action learning sets at only £40 per person.
Downloads and links for material from the Kit Yourself Out event are available on the Hub website.
The Performance Hub has given a view of its vision for perfomance in relation to the Destination 2014 consultation.
New diversity and equality performance research supported by the Performance Hub is being led by Olmec, a London-based community investment foundation. It is considering the need and potential of producing a resource for organisations to more effectively monitor, measure and set performance targets around diversity and equality. From this research it is planned to develop a 'Total Equalities System' tool that will help organisations address equality and diversity issues. As part of the research there is a 10min questionnaire.
The Performance e-community offers the opportunity to participate in monthly e-surgeries on particular performance improvement topics, allowing users to post questions to an expert in a certain field. Performance e-community is an email forum for those supporting frontline organisations with performance improvement.. This free service can be used to share ideas and experiences with others in similar roles across the country. There is a category for sharing case studies. To help colleagues to network and identify people with experience in a topic of interest, there are details of member performance improvement support work areas.
A report on 'A Sustainable Funding Framework for Volunteer Centres', produced by Northampton Volunteering Centre for the Volunteering Hub has identified the key factors affecting the cost and performance of volunteer centre services, identified the true cost of providing some of the services, and developed a formula that allocates resources at a local authority level and a number of possible delivery mechanisms.
The Management Development for Volunteer Centre Managers programme is being designed and the initial pilot for the programme will commence later this year. The Volunteering Hub are keen for involvement in the design phase and are asking five questions around the needs and aspirations of Volunteer Centre managers.
New Risk Management research has found that fear of litigation and excessive risk management is causing a real barrier to volunteering. Volunteering England is calling for excessive risk management to be challenged, arguing that it stops potential volunteers from coming forward. A Risk Toolkit has been produced: How to take care of risk in volunteering: a guide for organisations.
The Volunteering Hub is the principle sponsor of the Commission on the Future of Volunteering established by the England Volunteering Development Council. They have recently been engaged in a wide-ranging consultation on volunteering.
The UK Workforce and Governance Hubs have begun a pilot of an accredited learning scheme for trustees and committee members. It aims to give existing trustees the opportunity to gain skills and also to encourage people from a diverse background to recognise trusteeship as a route to developing themselves.
A Steering Group is being formed to review and redevelop the UK Management of Volunteers National Occupational Standards.
The Skills for Business Network, in conjunction with the UK Workforce Hub, is moving into a new phase of joint work beginning April 2007. The overall aim is to promote skills development of staff, volunteers and board or committee members in the voluntary and community sector.
A report 'Consortia purchase of Human Resources (HR) support: a feasibility study' has been produced. The study, commissioned jointly by the UK Workforce Hub and NCVO’s Collaborative Working Unit, explores how Voluntary and Community Sector Organisations (VCSOs) that do not have a dedicated HR role, may be able to purchase HR support in other ways.
Good Employment Guide factsheets on the Hub website look at the employment process, from recruiting your first member of staff, drawing up contracts of employment, pay and benefits as well as volunteers and employment. There is also information about where you can find other sources of HR support. Case studies highlighting good employment practice on recruitment, retention and diversity are also available on the Workforce Hub wesite.