In 2015 THCVS commissioned an independent evaluation undertaken by N S L Consultancy Services of how well it is performing against its three key aims:
To improve the capacity of the VCS to deliver their services.
To improve partnership working across the sector and with statutory agencies to avoid duplication and maximise impact to the local civil society.
To increase the involvement of the VCS in policy making processes.
The evaluation took place against a background of financial austerity, which challenges VCS organisations to find innovative ways of doing more with less, and increases the need for THCVS’s services. The evaluation reported in June 2015.
Its main findings are:
THCVS has consistently exceeded output targets built into its grant agreements, notably in the areas of providing development support, and training.
Despite exceeding targets, THCVS has struggled to demonstrate the outcomes produced by its services.
“Tower Hamlets is not an easy area to work in but I think that THCVS has done a brilliant job staying impartial and at times they have put their neck out. It’s particularly difficult because they (THCVS) are funded by the local authority and yet they also have to challenge them at times, that’s their role” VCS stakeholder
Respondents rated THCVS’s role in representing the sector highly. Of particular value was its strategic role in helping organisations to partner and to build relationships with commissioners.
Organisations accessing services from THCVS range widely in terms of size and need. However there is evidence that there are significant parts of the sector that THCVS doesn’t reach.
The report recommends that THCVS explore options for diversifying its funding base, but states that CVSs will continue to require a stable supply of public funding.
THCVS is currently developing a number of actions in response to the evaluation:
A holistic look at where we direct resources based on evidence of changing need and market segmentation.
A review and refresh of our membership offer.
An exploration of where we can generate other income streams, including brokering shared service deals for TH organisations, and consultancy services via our trading arm THCVS Trading Ltd.
Developing an outcomes framework, that will enable us to better assess the impact made by our offer.