Formative Evaluation of Funding the Future Programme – an action learning approach
We are seeking written proposals from interested consultants in respect of the following work:
To develop and implement an ongoing collaborative programme of evaluation to enable all stakeholders to capture and respond to the learning from the Funding the Future programme as it progresses.
Background to Funding the Future Programme
During 2017 Quartet Community Foundation (Quartet) commissioned work to research ‘The Importance of Community Anchor Organisations in Bristol and the role that Quartet Community Foundation can play in supporting their future development’. The full report, including a definition of community anchor organisations, is on our website at https://quartetcf.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Quartet-Community-Anchor-Organisations.pdf
The research included mapping key community anchor organisations in priority neighbourhoods of Bristol, finding out what help organisations need, identifying where Quartet could play a role in making a step change in how community anchor organisations sustain their services and activities.
In response to the research report, Quartet convened a meeting with a number of interested funders, who after hearing the results of the research went on to pledge £380,000 to set up a “Funding the Future” grant programme to support community anchor organisations in Bristol to make a step change in the way that they are funded and organised. Since then Quartet has been successful in attracting additional funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to match the original pot.
Grants are made available to community anchor organisations that would like to make a step change to the way they are funded, organised, or deliver their services for the benefit of their local communities.
There are currently 8 organisations across the City benefiting from this funding and with the addition of Lottery funding the programme is expanding.
Key criteria are that these organisations:
- Serve areas of high deprivation (based on IMD)
- Are working in neighbourhoods with the local desire and ability to make change happen. Can already demonstrate or are committed to developing widespread community consultation
- Work collaboratively with other groups and organisations based in the same neighbourhoods they serve.
- Have a backable, committed leader and a supportive governing Board
- Have an ambition and a well thought through plan to become financially self- sufficient, thus increasing the resilience/ independence of the organisation and securing the future of the services provided. This will involve making a step change in activities resulting in reduced proportion of income being generated through grant and public funding
Audiences for the Evaluation
- FTF Funded organisations
- Potential FTF organisations
- Funders – Quartet and the Community Fund
- Other Funders with an interest in this type of activity
- Policy and decision makers
Key Elements of the Process
- Funded organisations are central to designing the evaluation process, identifying what they want to get out of it and what they are able to put in.
- There are clear and accessible mechanisms for organisations, funders and other stakeholders to share the emerging learning and were possible and practical, respond by changing practice during the lifetime of the Programme.
- The evaluator listens, observes, connects and challenges where needed – drawing out emerging themes as the programme progresses and building positive, supportive relationships with all the stakeholders.
- The evaluator will work flexibly within the overall framework to respond to themes as they emerge and adapt the approach and types of activities accordingly.
Key Outcomes from the process
- A practical set of guidelines and principles which can help shape future policy and practice for funders
- Clarity on how and to what extent this funding approach has delivered the required aims of resilience and confidence amongst the funded organisations
- An understanding of key elements that determine the ability of funded organisations to make a step change. e.g. governance, leadership etc
- Practical tools and an evidence base which organisation can use to demonstrate their social impact and value, beyond individual case studies
- Funded organisations learn from each other, share good practice, build networks of mutual support, including case studies and mechanisms to share what worked/didn’t work.
Skills, experience and qualities required
- Skills, confidence and experience in action research and/ or formative evaluation
- Commitment and enthusiasm for working collaboratively and valuing all contributions.
- Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to quickly build rapport and trust with a wide range of people.
- The ability to provide engaging and accessible activities, workshops and outputs which are practical, and action focused.
- A creative and flexible approach which allows ample scope for responding to information and themes as they emerge.
- Excellent facilitation skills
- Sound experience or knowledge of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector and the current challenges and opportunities in the Bristol area.
The work of the evaluator will be supported and managed through a panel consisting of Quartet, Big Lottery, Philanthropist representative and Vivid Regeneration. The panel will also work together with the evaluator to ensure that emerging learning is shared and acted upon as appropriate during the lifetime of the funding programme.
To start as soon as possible to end of programme (July 2021??)
Funding Available: £18,000 inc VAT and all reasonable expenses
Written Proposals are invited from interested consultants. They should cover:
1. Evidence of your understanding of the overall task and approach.
2. A costed outline of the tasks you would undertake for the evaluation to meet the required outcomes, including the steps you would take to ensure this is a collaborative process.
3. The skills and experience you have to bring to this piece of work and the reasons why you are interested in doing it.
4. Names of two referees.
Please send your proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 5pm on Monday 21 October 2019