Future of Civil Society Support in London - update

London Funders, working with London Voluntary Service Council (LVSC) and Greater London Volunteering (GLV) and others has commissioned research to look into the future of civil society infrastructure in London

The Way Ahead - Civil Society at the Heart of London

Lisa Greensill, LVSC Head of Policy and Sector Support reviews key recommendations from the report.

September  2015

It has been long anticipated, but the London Funders report into the future of support for civil society in London was published last month.  The report, 'The Way Ahead - Civil Society at the Heart of London', funded by City Bridge Trust and produced in partnership with ourselves and Greater London Volunteering, is the first to look at civil society support - or infrastructure - since the heady days of ChangeUp and the London Infrastructure Development Plan. It contains a number of key recommendations.

At the heart of the report is the idea of pragmatic co-production - putting London's communities and their needs at the heart of all services provided by the voluntary and community sector, with all partners - be they from the public, private or VCSE sectors, and beyond - working together to develop the support the providers of these services need, from an older people's organisation providing befriending volunteers to an organisation campaigning and lobbying on the rights of newly arrived refugees.  This support can be delivered at a hyper-local, borough, sub-regional or regional level, dependant on what makes the best fit.

Key proposals include a 'triage and connect' function to diagnose the issues faced by frontline volunteers groups and organisations to match them with the most appropriate support; the sharing of data across sectors to co-produce a shared understanding of need and information on policy developments and best practice;  support for campaigning; and a call to regional and local public sector bodies and independent funders to ensure the sector is built into strategic planning and decision making, and that commissioning and funding of support is consistent.  It is also recommended that a London Hub be established to work with specialist support to drive up quality across the sector and produce standard resources, which can be customized for local delivery.

The full report, executive summary, literature review and briefing on pragmatic co-production can be found on The London Funders website.

Background (published September 2015)

Funded by the City Bridge Trust, the work is being carried out by Srabani Sen OBE & Associates. The research seeks to understand how civil society in the capital can best be supported in order to make the biggest difference for Londoners. Building on existing research, this new project will result in a practical plan for the future of infrastructure in London.

This work is being overseen by a Project Reference Group made up of colleagues from civil society,local and regional government in London and the private sector, details of the members of the Reference Group are available here.


A dedicated webpage has been established for this review which will be updated on a regular basis with information, documents and other materials relating to this project and its progress.


We are building on conversations which started at the LVSC/ GLV Future of Voluntary sector Infrastructure in London conference in April, and other discussions that have taken place over the summer, and we are keen to ensure that we continue to engage with as many stakeholders and interested parties as possible as the work progresses. Emerging findings will be produced towards the end of October/ beginning of November with the final report due to be completed by December, and over the next few weeks a number of engagement and consultation activities are being planned, including a range of Focus Groups targeted at particular stakeholder groups, 1 to interviews and an on-line survey. We encourage you to respond to these as promptly as possible to ensure that your views are heard.

We have also set up a dedicated email account consult@londonfunders.org.uk and  are very keen to encourage people to submit their views and ideas on how civil society in London can best be supported in order to make the biggest difference for Londoners. Additionally if you have strong views or opinions about the future of civil society support in London and would be willing to write a blog for the website then please contact the project team at consult@londonfunders.org.uk.


Information currently available on the webpage includes:

  • The original call for submissions;
  • Details of the project team appointed to undertake this work;
  • Membership of the Reference Group overseeing the work;
  • A blog from John Griffiths (Director of Rocket Science, London Funder Trustee and Reference Group member) on the increasing role of the private sector in supporting civil society in London.
  • Details on how to register on each of the focus groups


A summary of the Project Plan and also a copy of the original project proposal will be added to the website on Tuesday.

Best wishes,

James Banks, GLV

Eithne Rynne, LVSC

David Warner, London Funders