ARCHIVE: Enabling our delivery bodies
On this page:
- Defra and WRAP help establish REconomy Community Interest Company
- British Waterways working with the third sector
- Regional Development Agencies(RDAs) working with and to support the third sector
Defra, through its delivery body WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), was instrumental in establishing REconomy CIC. A Community Interest Company is a new form of company which is a social enterprise. REconomy CIC includes a commitment to a new third sector re-use and recycling capacity building programme contained in the 2007 Waste Strategy. Defra secured additional funding to implement the commitment and worked alongside WRAP and REconomy CIC to shape the new programme.
REconomy CIC is made up of four networks, which all have an equal share:
- Community Recycling Network UK (CRN UK);
- Furniture Reuse Network (FRN);
- Community Composting Network (CCN); and
- London Community Recycling Network (LCRN).
WRAP entered into a consultation process with REconomy CIC to agree shared objectives and goals. Challenging targets for outcomes – including an increase in tonnages of goods diverted from landfill, carbon savings and job placements created - along with proportionate monitoring requirements were also agreed.
Reconomy CIC’s principal objective is to:
Provide development support, guidance and information to Third Sector Waste Management Organisations and to represent their interests in the further development of this sector.’
The support provided by the WRAP Third Sector Programme with REconomy CIC has five strands:
- organisational development and capacity building;
- training and networking;
- investment for growth;
- market development; and
- direct funding for wider project opportunities.
The programme is intended to enable organisations to sustain and develop local, regional and national community waste management activities. This will in turn:
- increase reuse as well as recycling;
- reduce the total amount of waste produced;
- reduce carbon emissions;
- provide low cost products (e.g. reused furniture) to alleviate poverty; and
- provide work and training opportunities to excluded communities.
Steve Creed, Director of Business Growth at WRAP, says; “We knew that working in partnership with REconomy CIC represented a new challenge to WRAP. Early on we became aware of the Government’s Compact and it proved to be a good framework and model for best practice for the third sector programme. Time will tell how effective this process has been, but the foundations for an effective new approach to waste management solutions and for the inclusion of communities and the voluntary sector and the development of social enterprises are in place.”
Matthew Thomson, Managing Director of Reconomy CIC and Chief Executive of LCRN, says; “REconomy CIC needed the sort of strong track record of delivery and achievement of hard targets that WRAP has achieved. Building on this experience, REconomy CIC can bring a high level of commitment, voluntary action and innovative ways of working to achieve new and alternative solutions to waste management issues.”
By ensuring that policy makers at all levels of government are aware of the needs of and opportunities presented by third sector waste management organisations, REconomy CIC helps to ensure that community based groups have a favourable environment in which to operate and that any new policies and regulations treat these groups fairly.
The inland waterways are indebted to the third sector for ensuring that many of the canals now taken for granted, enjoyed and used by communities around the country, survived the 1950s and 60s. The third sector continues to be engaged in around 80 restoration schemes nationally only a handful of which British Waterways are involved with.
Canals and navigable rivers are used today as facilities by a wide range of third sector organisations including angling clubs, BTCV, Thames 21, those running community boats, etc. having just as wide a range of purposes and activities.
British Waterways, as custodians of a large part of the nation’s waterways, engages with these groups at a variety of levels examples of which are given below. In 07/08 British Waterways engaged with volunteers delivering over 8,000 days of work valued at £400,000. In recognition of the increasing role the third sector is likely to play, and the demand to be able to play that role, British Waterways recently recruited a National Volunteering Manager.
Since 2005 the British Waterways Advisory Forum, run by its members (principally third sector) and with a remit to debate and advise on strategic issues and representing all national waterways interest groups, has held two general meetings each year, attended by senior British Waterways managers.
The inland waterways have the enviable position of being able to offer a wide range of opportunities and benefits to a wide range of groups, be they relating to heritage, environment or education outputs and delivering economic, environmental or social benefits – more often than not, a mixture of all of these.
British Waterways has a number of strategic partnerships which have developed through lessons learnt by both British Waterways and the third sector partner.
RDAs are delivery partners for a range of Defra programmes, such as the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), sustainable production and business resource efficiency. RDAs engage with the third sector in a variety of different ways, taking into account variations from region to region and in line with the respective Regional Economic Strategy. Some examples of how RDAs do this are as follows:
The NWDA has supported stakeholders from the five North West sub-regional social enterprise networks to develop the regional forum Social Enterprise North West (SENW). The main aims of SENW are to promote, represent and strengthen the social enterprise sector in the North West, and providing a cohesive voice that can influence and contribute to strategic thinking and policy development.
NWDA are a key funder of SENW who are delivering a programme of activities to raise awareness of the sector and to promote the social enterprise business model as a potential enterprise, employer, supplier and customer. Alongside this they also deliver activities to encourage networking and collaborative working between social enterprises.
The establishment of SENW has plugged a gap in policy development in the North West. Through the component sub-regional networks of SENW, grass roots social enterprises can engage with the NWDA and other regionally significant agencies. SENW can also contribute to national developments as a member of the Social Enterprise Coalition.
SENW was fully involved in the strategic development of the NW Social Enterprise Support Framework which has informed the NWDA’s investment in support activity for social enterprises.
Working through local partnerships that included the third sector , SEEDA invested £6 million to support the delivery of three year Area Programmes in Thames Valley, Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes. These programmes targeted concentrations of deprivation (Super Output Areas in the bottom 20% according to the Indices of Multiple Deprivation) that exist within parts of the SE region usually associated with economic success.
All three Area Programmes were governed by multi-stakeholder Programme Boards. Third sector representation was sought from the outset:
- as a vital strategic partner to develop policy, performance plans and the dissemination of learning;
- as an important delivery partner, the Area Programmes delivered projects using existing and new third sector infrastructure, successfully building new collaborations.
In the case of Oxfordshire, a third sector partner was appointed as the programme’s Accountable Body. In Milton Keynes, another third sector partner employed / hosted the Programme Co-ordinator in the case of Milton Keynes. This integration resulted in the programmes being underpinned by strong community engagement and capacity building, and the successful utilisation of existing networks operating in these areas. Both these factors were viewed as particularly important in engaging ‘hard to reach’ groups.
A three pronged approach was set out at the beginning of the programmes, focusing on improving skills and access to employment, encouraging entrepreneurship and enterprise and engaging the private sector through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). As well as achieving the planned output targets in their performance plans, the Area Programmes have successfully forged new operational and strategic collaborations. For example, Milton Keynes Area Programme has facilitated commitment from all sectors in developing a framework for regeneration, co-ordinating on-the-ground activity.
We are now using the knowledge we have developed of private, public and third sector collaborations to establish a regional approach to achieving sustainable communities, in particular through the establishment of the Corporate Cabinet. The Corporate Cabinet brings together major companies across the region to generate action and leadership on CSR, to work more strategically and productively with the third sector in areas that are important for the delivery of the Regional Economic Strategy (RES).
Corporate Cabinet Partnerships will focus on policy themes, including Financial Inclusion, Digital Inclusion, Ready for Work, Healthy and Active Lifestyles, Cultural Awareness and Opportunities and Making the Most of 2012.
Supported by the RES evidence base, the partnerships will focus action on where it can have the greatest impact, ensuring a spread of activity across the region, and maximising impact in achieving sustainable prosperity.
SWRDA has invested in South West Forum (SWF) since 2002 to harness effective championing of the third sector at the regional strategic level in relation to key economic development objectives. In 2008, SWRDA negotiated a new contract with SWF for three years, with the aim to:
- strengthen the participation of voluntary and community organisations (VCOs) in the development and delivery of SW RDA strategy, policy and programmes and build the capacity of SWRDA to engage with VCOs at regional and local level.
- strengthen the capacity, workforce, skills, governance and sustainability of VCOs in the region, particularly in relation to their role in addressing economic inclusion including contributing to the implementation and delivery of the ESF Framework for the South West.
Our new contract with SWF is based on their robust delivery of previous contracts. SWF have been an active contributor to development of the sector in the region, in partnership with a range of regional stakeholders, including SWRDA. Key initiatives have included:
- The 2007 stakeholder review of the South West RDA Corporate Plan
- The continued enhancement and delivery of the South West Regional Compact;
- The leadership of the regions VCS Infrastructure Strategy South West;
- Increasing RDA staffs’ understanding of the contribution the sector makes to the economic development of the region and how VCOs can contribute to the delivery of our place shaping and economic inclusion agendas.
EEDA provides core funding support to five third sector regional bodies – COVER (regional voluntary/community body), MENTER (regional body representing Black Minority and Ethnic groups), Rural Action East, East of England Faith Council and Social Enterprise East of England (a membership network for social enterprise). The purpose of the funding is to respond to policy within the skills, employment and enterprise sector, undertake research as well as to advocate and represent their members.
EEDA has undertaken and supported research (BME access to skills, employment and enterprise) to highlight needs within certain communities and has conducted a number of Action Learning sets to better understand barriers and disseminate best practice.
Page last modified: 3 November 2008
Page published: 3 November 2008