Latest NAVCA news and updates

Jul 24 2014

NAVCA publish response to local sustainability fund consultation

NAVCA has published its response to the Local Sustainability Fund consultation. The consultation seeks views on the design and delivery of a proposed new fund, worth up to £40m, aimed at supporting medium sized charities who are struggling to maintain vital local services.

NAVCA’s response highlights the crucial role NAVCA members will play in making this successful. NAVCA members provide an existing network with the skills, experience and knowledge the fund will need. Attempting to create a new network will be costly, time consuming and, based on previous experiences, doomed to failure.

 Read NAVCA’s response

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Jul 21 2014

NAVCA announces change at the top

Neil Cleeveley has been appointed acting chief executive of NAVCA following the announcement that Joe Irvin is leaving NAVCA to take up the post of chief executive at Living Streets, the national charity that campaigns on behalf of pedestrians. Neil Cleeveley was deputy chief executive of NAVCA and will take up his new role on Monday 21 July.

 Caroline Schwaller, Chair of NAVCA, said:

“I would like to thank Joe for his contribution to NAVCA and on behalf of trustees, staff and members wish him all the best for the future. I am delighted that we have someone with Neil’s experience to take up the reins. With the Independent Commission on the Future of Local Infrastructure due to publish its findings at the turn of the year, these are exciting and challenging times for us. We will continue to campaign tirelessly on behalf of NAVCA members and the people they serve.”

 Joe Irvin, said of NAVCA:

“It has been a real privilege to serve NAVCA members as their chief executive, and I am grateful to the trustees, staff and members for their support. I believe NAVCA members have an important role to play and look forward to the recommendations of the Commission on the future of local infrastructure later this year. I wish Neil, the trustees, staff and members of NAVCA all best wishes for the future, as I look forward to the exciting new challenge at Living Streets.”

 Neil Cleeveley, Acting Chief Executive of NAVCA, said:

“We are entering really exciting – but challenging – times. Across the country infrastructure has been put under intolerable pressure by cuts but we are now seeing the first signs of a new found confidence from members as funders start to recognise the implications of losing their vital work. My role is to ensure that we have a strong national champion of local infrastructure. NAVCA must foster this new found confidence and help members to translate this into finding ways to deliver first class support for local charities and community groups.”  

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Jul 11 2014

New NAVCA EU procurement rules briefing

NAVCA has published a new briefing that provides an update on the changes to the EU Procurement Directives. The new Directives came into force in April 2014, but EU member states now have up to two years to implement them into national legislation. The UK Government has made it clear that it intends to implement them in the shortest time-frame possible and formal consultation is expected later this month.

NAVCA’s briefing written by Commissioning expert Rachel Rhodes summarises the changes most relevant to the voluntary sector and what to expect.

Download the Update on the changes to the EU Procurement Directives

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Jun 24 2014

Labour plan smaller government contracts

NAVCA has welcomed an announcement from Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions minister, that a future Labour Government would create smaller contracts. The announcement came in an interview with the financial Times on Tuesday 24 June.

In the interview Rachel Reeves says that she would expect smaller charities and businesses to be able to get these contracts. She suggested that central contracts would be replaced by services being bought at a local authority or local enterprise partnership level.

Rachel Reeves also said that the Labour Party was considering requiring government suppliers to guarantee that they would pay the living wage to their employees as a condition of receiving contracts.

Neil Cleeveley, NAVCA Director of Policy and Research, said

“We welcome any proposal that makes it easier for local service providers, they understand the specific issues of their communities and are better able to engage local citizens in the design and delivery of services. As a Living Wage employer, NAVCA welcomes any move towards requiring suppliers of government contracts to pay the living wage to prevent a race to the bottom and to ensure quality and safety remain essential factors of public services.”

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Jun 11 2014

NAVCA defends Oxfams right to campaign

NAVCA is giving public support to Oxfam following the attack from MPs for their campaign against poverty in the UK. A Conservative MP has attempted to silence Oxfam by asking the Charity Commission to investigate whether the campaign breaches the organisation’s charitable status. NAVCA believes that charities’ right to campaign is a fundamental and healthy part of our democracy.

Joe Irvin, Chief Executive of NAVCA, said:

“Oxfam must not succumb to an attempt to bully charities into silence. Charities must not be party political but we must defend charities’ right to campaign, which is a fundamental part of our democracy. We have a duty to speak out to protect the people and communities they exist to serve.”

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Jun 04 2014

NAVCA responds to the Queen’s Speech

04/06/2014

The Government has announced its legislative programme for the coming year in the Queen’s speech. The speech contained eleven new proposed bills that will go before parliament in the coming year, in the run up to the General Election. A draft Protection of Charities Bill was announced as part of this programme. The bill is designed to give the Charity Commission tougher powers to prevent the abuse of charities and would equip them to tackle abuse more effectively and efficiently.

Commenting on the Protection of Charities Bill, Joe Irvin, Chief Executive of NAVCA, said;

“We recognise that the Charity Commission increasingly finds itself under pressure to act whilst having reduced resources. So we are generally supportive of measures that help the Commission do its job. However, we have in the past warned against the Charity Commission turning into some kind of Rambo, acting tough but showing little understanding. This means we will study this bill with interest.”

Commenting on the Queen’s Speech, Joe Irvin, Chief Executive of NAVCA, said;

“A lot of political commentators are pointing out that it is quite a light legislative programme. If there is parliamentary time, why not use it to amend the Social Value Act to include all contracts.”

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May 07 2014

NAVCA welcomes Sherlock investigation

NAVCA has welcomed the announcement by the Labour Party of a review of the Lobbying Act. The review will be led by Baroness Sherlock, a former charity chief executive. The Labour Party is committed to repealing the act.

Joe Irvin, Chief Executive of NAVCA, said

“Despite the amendments made to the Bill as it passed through Parliament, the act is still a dog’s breakfast. Charities are not allowed to be party political, but the right to campaign and have an independent voice is precious.”

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Apr 30 2014

Zero support for exploitative zero hours from NAVCA

The Office of National Statistics has published new figures suggesting that the number of people on zero-hour contracts is higher than previously thought - and could be close to 1.4m. NAVCA has re-iterated their opposition to the use of exploitative zero hour contracts and has set out a number of tests as to whether such contracts are exploitative. NAVCA’s Trustee Board confirmed this position at their Trustee Board meeting last week. A decision it is hoped will discourage charities from using these contracts and highlights the harm that they do. 

The issue is important in the voluntary sector as the use of zero hour contracts has grown. Last August’s Labour Market Outlook from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development suggested that zero hour contracts were more commonly used in the voluntary sector than in the public or private sectors.

NAVCA realises that the flexibility of zero hour contract may suit some employers and employees in certain circumstances. However, many are one-sided agreements. NAVCA’s Trustee Board agreed to oppose contracts that might be considered exploitative and, in particular:

  • Do not provide employees with a degree of certainty.
  • Do not allow employees the opportunity for meaningful negotiation.
  • Are used to replace permanent contracts.
  • Require exclusivity so that employees must seek permission before working elsewhere.
  • Penalise employees if they are not available for work.
  • Give employees fewer rights than staff on permanent contracts.
  • Result in lower hourly pay than permanently contracted staff
  • Fail to compensate for last-minute cancellation of work.

Joe Irvin, Chief Executive of NAVCA, said:

“Our board has taken a very strong stance on this issue and by doing so is sending out a clear message to other charities. Charities and social justice go hand in hand. We should all expect charities to treat people, including employees, in a fair and just way. Exploitative zero hours clearly do not.”

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Apr 28 2014

NAVCA joins the Keep Volunteering Voluntary campaign

NAVCA’s trustee board have confirmed their opposition to compulsion in volunteering and signed up to the ‘Keep Volunteering Voluntary' campaign. They are committed to the principle that people who volunteer give their time freely and without coercion.

Volunteering brings real benefits to individuals and communities; it gives people a sense of belonging and wellbeing and brings them together to contribute to their community. Indeed, volunteers are the lifeblood of many voluntary and community organisations. It also helps people to build their skills and confidence and offers some a route into employment.

However, NAVCA’s trustees are opposed to any element of compulsion and believe that ‘Community Work Placements’ will undermine the value of volunteering.

Joe Irvin, Chief Executive of NAVCA, said:

“People volunteer for a whole host of reasons and NAVCA members are there to support them in whatever activity they choose. But it ceases to be volunteering when people have no choice. Our sector has a proud record of supporting unemployed people into work through volunteering and this latest DWP scheme undermines that. That is why NAVCA is opposed to any form of compulsory unpaid ‘voluntary’ work in return for benefits. And it is why we have offered our support to the ‘Keep Volunteering Voluntary’ campaign.”

You can sign up to support the ‘Keep Volunteering Voluntary’ campaign on the campaign website

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Apr 17 2014

NAVCA publishes Health case studies report

NAVCA has published a new report containing case studies to accompany the three research briefings published last month that explore local charities and voluntary organisations attitudes and experiences of local health organisations. The case studies illustrate NAVCA members work to influence Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNA) and the nature of their relationship with local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and local Healthwatch.

The report is the product of work between NAVCA and 12 of its members between October 2013 and March 2014. The case studies provide additional intelligence, regarding infrastructure organisations’ involvement in the emerging local health structures. The case studies aim to show examples of what is working well, what challenges there are, and how sector involvement differs around the country.

Read the case study report (takes you to a page with the case study report and the three research briefings).

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Apr 08 2014

Early bird for NCVO’s Evolve 2014 closes on 11 April

Early bird booking for NCVO’s Evolve 2014 closes on 11 April.

Taking place on Monday 16 June at The Brewery, London, Evolve 2014 brings over 1,000 voluntary sector professionals together to build a stronger future. 

Alongside sixteen 90 minute workshops covering a range of topics, keynote speaker highlights include:

  • Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive, Big Lottery Fund
  • Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society
  • Lisa Nandy, Shadow Minister for Civil Society
  • Martyn Lewis CBE, Chair, NCVO

NAVCA is leading an afternoon workshop at the event:

The prospects for local infrastructure: straws in the wind?

These are challenging times for many in the local voluntary and community sector, not least the infrastructure bodies that support it. The environment in which infrastructure operates is changing: localism has created a host of local partners with which to engage; the nature of national investment is changing; and local authority budget cuts are hitting many. This, and the opportunity presented by the Transforming Local Infrastructure (TLI) programme, has led many infrastructure bodies to re-examine their future. This workshop will look at some of the latest thinking on how local infrastructure support is rising to the challenge and consider the wider lessons. NAVCA will present the latest findings from its analysis of TLI and you will hear from some key infrastructure organisations that are rethinking how they meet the needs of civil society, local voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises. 

Prices for Evolve 2014 start from £179.55.Book before 11 April to receive a 10% discount off your booking. Multiple booking discounts are also available.

For more information visit the NCVO website or phone NCVO Events on 0207 520 3153.

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Mar 31 2014

New Commission to look at ways to support voluntary and community action

NAVCA has launched an independent Commission to look at the future of local infrastructure. This evidence-based inquiry will examine existing local voluntary and community infrastructure and the challenges it faces. Chaired by Sara Llewellin, Chief Executive of the Barrow Cadbury Trust, it will meet for the first time on Monday 31 March with a remit to come up with practical ways to secure high quality support for local voluntary and community action throughout England.

The Commission will gather evidence from current infrastructure providers, charities and community groups, public sector bodies, the private sector, academics and other interested parties. A number of evidence-gathering sessions will be held across England and will report back in the Autumn.

Joe Irvin, Chief Executive of NAVCA, said:

“Whilst NAVCA has strong views on the matter, this commission is independent. Members are drawn from a wide range of organisations and bring vast experience and many different perspectives. I look forward to hearing creative and radical practical solutions to support local voluntary and community action throughout England which focus on the help and support that people and communities need.”

Sara Llewellin, Chair of the Commission said:

“I welcome the opportunity to look afresh at the changing development needs of our sector, and would encourage people to contribute evidence and ideas to help us find the best solutions to meeting these needs. A Strong civil society strengthens democracy, and we need to be aware of the new opportunities which will arise from this changing environment, at the same time as being aware of the threats.”

 Members of the Commission on the Future of Local Infrastructure:

  • Sara Llewellin (Chair), Chief Executive, Barrow Cadbury Trust
  • Amanda Ariss, Chief Executive, Equality and Diversity Forum
  • Becky Shaw, Chief Executive, East Sussex County Council
  • Bharti Patel-Smith, Director of Governance & Involvement, Shropshire CCG
  • Councillor Gwilym Butler, Leisure, Libraries and Culture Portfolio Holder, Shropshire Council
  • David Brindle, Public Services Editor, Guardian
  • Derry Nugent, Head of Philanthropy Services
  • Dharmendra Kanani, England Director, Big Lottery Fund
  • Elizabeth Balgobin, V4CE Representative
  • Fiona White, Chief Executive, Community Lincs
  • Janice Banks, Chief Executive, ACRE
  • Justin Davis Smith, Executive Director of Volunteering,  NCVO
  • Lisa Cunningham, Programme Director, Business Connectors, Business in the Community
  • Melanie Mills, Chief Executive, Social Enterprise West Midlands          
  • Paddy Tipping, John Dwyer, Martyn Underhill, Police & Crime Commissioners
  • Richard Caulfield, Chief Executive, VSNW
  • Rob Macmillan, Research Fellow, Third Sector Research Centre
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