CollaborationNI Top Marks For Providing Highly Effective Partnership Support

25 Jan 2016 Andrea Egan    Last updated: 25 Jan 2016

Building Change Trust has published the independent evaluation of CollaborationNI Phase 2, we are delighted to have received such a postive evaluation on the bespoke service we provide.

Building Change Trust has published the independent evaluation of CollaborationNI Phase 2, we are delighted to have received such a postive evaluation on the bespoke service we provide.

"Trust publishes evaluation of CollaborationNI Phase Two

20 January 2016

The Trust are pleased to release the evaluation of our highly successful Collaboration NI initiative.

CollaborationNI is a programme commissioned by the Building Change Trust (BCT) and run by a consortium of NICVA (Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action), Stellar Leadership and CO3 (Chief Officers Third Sector).

It has run since 2011 with, since 2014, a focus on supporting ‘collaboration of the willing for purpose’.

The evaluation was carried out by the London based  Institute for Voluntary Action Research, who have significant expertise in researching collaboration and looked specifically at Phase Two of the initiative which ran from July 2014.

Since the start of Phase Two, over 500 organisations have engaged with CollaborationNI.

Support activity has included: 48 action plans agreed, 33 legal support sessions, 68 legal documents drafted, 34 expert facilitation sessions with 217 participants, and 82 in-house sessions with 316 participants.

As well as this, CollaborationNI organised a conference, have another scheduled for 7 April 2016, carried out 21 follow-up support sessions and six policy symposia engaging with over 350 participants.

Collaboration NI has offered support to a very wide range of VCS organisations, including health, housing and advice subsectors.

As well as outlining the facts and figures, the evaluation report goes into detail on a number of issues affecting groups hoping to collaborate to best achieve their goals and objectives including what they call ‘Drivers for Collaboration’.

The range of topics groups approached CollaborationNI for advice on is fascinating. These included legal advice, hands on facilitation, information on models of collaboration, advice on how to form consortiums for funding applications and the overall governance considerations in relation to progressing collaborative work.

The depth of support required to work effectively is also apparent. For example, one collaboration had received three facilitated group work sessions, as well as governance input and guidance on the process that might lead to the prospective merged structure.

A wide range of other issues are outlined in the report including the quality of support offered, the challenges facing groups hoping to collaborate and how CollaborationNI is working to help overcome those challenges.

The Trust’s Director of Operations, Nigel McKinney, said: “We’re obviously very proud of the work CollaborationNI have done and believe this was an impactful and crucial investment of the Trust’s time and resources.

“From where the sector was in 2008, when we opened; to where it is now and where it will be in 2018, when we close our doors – we feel groups and organisations are in a much better place to face up the challenges they face by working together.

"However – the lessons of the evaluation are very clear – for organisations to collaborate and make a difference to their beneficiaries  they need timely, focused and professional support with a range of issues and need .  That support has a cost and needs to be properly resourced.

"The Trust will have invested £1.7 million in collaboration support over a 6 year period when  its support for CollaborationNI comes to an end in summer 2016.

"Whilst we expect the support from CollaborationNI to continue in some form, that won’t happen without some subsidy from statutory and/or independent funders  and if we are serious about supporting  positive change and development within the VCSE sector in Northern Ireland  with a focus on better outcomes for people and places – then investment is needed". 

http://www.buildingchangetrust.org/collaboration/news/Trust-publishes-ev...

CollaborationNI was commissioned and financed by the Building Change Trust and is delivered in partnership by NICVA, CO3 and Stellar Leadership.