Exclusion work - last 2 yrs of direct v 1st 2 yrs of cfo _2_
INITIAL IMPACT OF CO-FINANCING ON THE INCLUSION POLICY FIELD OF ESF
In the East Midlands, led by CEFET, a variety of tools have been forged to ensure Social Inclusion Action involves, empowers and genuinely reaches excluded communities. Although these are inscribed in various Programmes (principal y Policy Field Two of ESF Objective 3), are designed for specifical y East Midlands conditions and are not yet coherently assembled together, they have potential for general strategic impact on the problem of exclusion.
• a community empowerment policy at regional level;
• a special “community-mobilisation” capacity building programme;
• a project selection system that effectively finds empowerment projects;
• a set of analytical tools [the SEND scale] which can situate actions according to their “closeness” to excluded
communities and al ocate an index to a group of actions or a programme.
Each of these elements is backed by a mass of direct experience and consultation work, detailed and documented exchanges with partners [RDA, HE, FE, LA, LSC, JC+, social partners…], practical experience of guidance and selection work, and hands-on assistance to projects.
This work, a direct element of CEFET’s remit, has involved voluntary agencies working on inclusion down to smal , unincorporated community groups working on projects that affect them directly. Since 1998 CEFET has been in constant discussion and consultation with Community organisations through events (conferences and workshops – usual y reaching 150-200 groups each year), conducted 4 structured questionnaires (about 100 groups each – 2 on Capacity Building, one each on Local Social Capital and Combating Social Exclusion in ESF), and had direct, face-to-face, practical involvement with over 500 working projects, the majority very smal and local.
The scope and scale of the East Midlands experience
The key experience in the East Midlands is represented by work in Policy Field Two of Objective 3 of the EU structural funds, which is a UK programme worth € 1bn in 2000-2007. The East Midlands al ocation is just below £50m1. The Programme has the “headline” ‘Promoting Social Inclusion & Equal Opportunities for Al ’.
The “apparatus” of this programme, similar to many others, is marked by four elements, with accompanying information and assistance provision, as shown below:
Expressed in the Regional Development Plan (RDP) written by the Regional Partnership
PROGRAMME STRUCTURE Expressed in bidding/tendering guidance and T in case o E SELECTION
Scoring/Appraisal Panel, meeting under guidance and training
Projects contracted according to application
Responsibility for, and work on, the practice of this “apparatus” can be split into two periods: • from the start of the programme until 2003 when the funds were directed by a partnership including CEFET
• from 2003 onwards when programme structure and selection were devolved to “Co-Financing” Organisations
[CFOs – principal y LSCs and Job Centre+].
These two periods al ow interesting comparisons.
In the first period the setting of regional policy, the development of regional programme guidance and selection systems, the implementation of those systems, and the dissemination of information and assistance were al delivered through the regional partnership and CEFET led for the partnership in al aspects on the Programme. Based on extensive consultation and direct working with voluntary and community groups on exclusion CEFET was able to secure agreement on a “Community Empowerment Strategy” in the governing document for the funds the “East Midlands Regional Development Plan (RDP)”. The regional guidance and scoring framework were drafted by CEFET, after discussion with the region’s VCO groups, and amended every year fol owing input from applicants. The scoring panel, implementing the selection system, was led and trained by CEFET, providing another source of reference material to fine-tune the system. In addition CEFET was able to offer, with absolute authority, advice on how the system worked to potential applicants. This holistic system ensured that the governing principle, ensuring “projects focus on the needs of one specific community and … include the target group in design and implementation… (and) ideal y the motivation and control of the project” 2 actual y determined the nature of projects selected.
The second period is marked by a transfer of control of the 2nd and 3rd tier to CFOs, breaking the structural link between policy and implementation.
The result was a clear retrograde shift in the volume and nature of VCO involvement. (see chart below) This – retrospectively – indicates the need for and impact of a system where the interests of groups composed of excluded people themselves are driven into every aspect of the programme from “high” policy down. Qualitative Impact
Other aspects of the work are qualitative. These originate in the RDP policy and take three forms:
A Capacity Building element within the main programme, fol owing direct input from hundred of grass roots organisations. The RDP argues that since the imperative is to locate actions within the communities they apply to, therefore these communities would extract a double benefit for work developing their operation and their participation. This strengthens them and actual y “includes” the excluded in the process. Specific assessment mechanisms, again based on explicit consultation were derived directly from these principles. The result is a capacity building programme not primarily focused on developing organisational structure
In response to a specific set of consultations with grassroots groups in 2000-1 CEFET made representations to partners that the East Midlands smal grant (“Global Grants”) element of the programme should be designated to a Local Social Capital programme. This has 3 distinctive features: that the fund applies to excluded communities and that panels drawn from those communities make grant decisions; that eligibility is restricted to projects that in their activity – as wel as their aim – develop community spirit; that those panels and the projects are supported to deliver. The proposal won the support of partners and the resulting programme is cal ed Catalyst. It wil , by the end of 2007, amount to a £4.3m programme giving out something like 700 grants. It has been the subject of an independent evaluation and was described as “radical” and “ful y effective in achieving its primary goal”3. It is currently the subject of a DWP study, chosen as a case study on grounds of its “uniqueness” in England.
Final y the RDP and guidance material distinguishes a raft of actions aimed at combating exclusion. As part of its work funded by the Community Fund (in a project cal ed SEND in 2001-4) CEFET developed from this set of categories an analysis scale entitled the SEND-scale4. Provision is al ocated a value according to how “hard-to- reach” or “facing barriers to participation” the community affected is. The lower the number the nearer to the most excluded, for example Local Social Capital delivery is index 1… NVQ1 is index 8. The line between a specifical y exclusion-oriented action and a “mainstream” action is at index 7. It is possible to give an index to a portfolio of actions by averaging the funds al ocated at each scale point. This can be done for any programme. This scale was incorporated into an analysis of England Capacity Building in the study commissioned and accepted by the DWP, and undertaken by TSEN in Partnership with CEFET and Leeds Metropolitan University, entitled “Building Capacity for What?”
It is interesting to use the SEND scale to compare pre-CFO programme, centred on grass roots groups, with the later CFO programme, assigning a value to the quality and nature of activity. This too is tabulated below. 2 RDP, CH 6, Policy Field 2 p 16. 3 LRDP evalation of Catalyst pilot year. Already lodged with EM Big Lottery, emda and GOEM is also available at www.catalystfund.org.uk 4 The SEND Index – the lower the number the closer to excluded people the provision. (7.00 or over would have no special relevance to exclusion).
The figures (tabulated below) show the quantitative impact of an organised, grass-roots-based, mobilising communities strategy in the programme, which has the effect of:
• increasing finance reaching the sector by 57%,
• increasing the proportion reaching smal local groups 3 fold
• increasing the proportion of projects final y run by grass roots groups, composed of and control ed by the
excluded community themselves (Inclusion GROs = IGROs), 5 fold
• increasing community mobilisation capacity nearly 5 fold
• involving immeasurably more community organisations
• nearly doubling the number of individual excluded beneficiaries per £ through community provision Also tabulated are values from the Catalyst programme, aggregated for the whole programme period until March 2008. Note differences in quantity and type of funded projects – Columns 1 and 3 are programmes with ful y integrated grassroots influence (through CEFET) and Column 2 where there is disruption of this by non-specialist managerial systems (CFOs) at selection and implementation level.
These figures show the potential and need, here tabulated for one inclusion programme, for effective change touching the lives of dozens of communities, hundreds of community groups and thousands of excluded individuals. This is what results from genuine bottom-up organisation, networking, influence and structure within the definition of programmes by groups embedded in excluded communities. It is the missing link in the structure required to put excluded people themselves genuinely at the heart of inclusion action.
Implications of Need
This substantial success story arose from intensive work consulting with Grass Roots Organisations, and network development, originating in the period 1998-2000. This network al owed a channel for GROs to express their needs, comment on ideas, plans, policy, and draft implementation frameworks. There is no exact replica of this network in the other English regions, although a basis for it exists, just as in the E. Midlands a few years ago. The recognition CEFET has gained, in other regions and at National and International conferences for its work, reflect this.
5 + £ 7.9m stil to be announced (2005) 6 probably al organisational capacity rather than community capacity 7 Estimate, figures not released
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Identification MICHELE BETTI Tel Nationality: Italian Date of birth: 22-05-1969 Educational Background: 2003-2008 Ph.D. January 2008 Biochemistry Sciences: dissertation entitled “Vitamin E cell signalling: a possible chemopreventive role” Department of Internal Medicine, Applied Biochemistry and Nutritional Post-graduate course on emopoietic precursors with a dissertation