Leaflets, position papers, think pieces, open letters and press releases

Here are grouped various documents produced by us in a variety of contexts, dealing with issues such as commissioning, privatisation, the Big Society, independence, civil society, and our own organisational development. Documents are listed in reverse chronological order i.e. the latest first.

NCIA closes – Press Release (2015) NCIA
Press release announcing NCIA closure.

NCIA closes – Open Letter (2015) NCIA
An Open Letter signed by 65 voluntary groups pledging to continue the struggle for social justice through an independent voluntary sector.

The Last Word (2015) NCIA
Our last leaflet summarising our overall perspective and explaining why we decided to close NCIA down.

A radio interview with NCIA’s Mike Aiken on The Politics Show (2015) Radio Free Brighton
Mike talks about the origins, purpose and work of NCIA.

The great non-debate 2015 – (2015) Adrian Barritt NCIA
A review of 4 reports published closely together from NCIA, Barings Panel on Independence, NAVCA and Civil Exchange. All of which examine the state of the voluntary sector and its possible futures.

Independent Action in Brighton: Beyond Building Links (2015) Radio Free Brighton
Radio recording of interviews and presentations from NCIA’s ‘Transitions Roadshow’ in Brighton.

Cuts, co-options and Trojan Horses (2015) NCIA
Handout distributed at a House of Commons event hosted by John McDonnell MP.

Cuts, co-options and Trojan Horses (2015) NCIA
Promotional leaflet for an event in the House of Commons hosted by John McDonnell MP.

The Perils of Participation (2015) KVV with NCIA
Promotional leaflet for a Keep Volunteering Voluntary meeting in Manchester in June 2015.

Open Letter to Roger Singleton (2015) NCIA
Letter to the Chair of the Barings Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector in response to their final report.

Charities should prepare to break the law over Lobbying-Act (2014) NCIA
Press release urging charities to commit to defiance of the Lobbying (Gagging) Act.

Flagship workfare scheme launch is delayed again (2014) KVV with NCIA
Press release regarding opposition to the launch of the government’s ‘Help to Work’ programme.

Dozens of voluntary sector organisations reject planned role in ‘Help to Work’(2014) KVV with NCIA
Press release regarding opposition to the launch of the government’s ‘Help to Work’ programme.

Open letter to Lisa Nandy MP (2014) NCIA
An open letter to Lisa NandyMP after the publication of the Labour Party’s pathetic review of policy towards the Third Sector.

What are charities for? (2013) BBC Radio 4
A Radio 4 ‘Analysis’ programme broadcast in October 2013, included interviews with NCIA’s Penny Waterhouse and Andy Benson…. and reached some strange conclusions!

From the cosmos to the Labour Party (2013) Andy Benson NCIA
In April 2013 NCIA convened a two-day think-in, involving 20+ people from a variety of vantage points to debate how the world of voluntary action relates to the wider landscape and the times we are living through. This is Andy Benson’s personal take on the discussions and the impact they had on him.

Voluntary Services Agencies and Social Justice – the End of the Line? (2013) Children England with NCIA
Article for Children England newsletter.

NCIA calls on NAVCA to speak out on poverty and inequality (2013) NCIA
Short article urging NAVCA to be bolder in defending communities from poverty and inequality.

What are CVS s really for? (2013) Adrian Barritt NCIA
Paper about the value of CVSs to local communities and how many of these local groups are failing to fulfill their proper roles.

How to make a toothless watchdog (2013) NCIA
Short article dealing with the regulations restricting ‘poltitical’ activities of local Healthwatch bodies.

Why does dissent protect democracy? (2013) NCIA
Short piece setting out the arguments in favour of dissent and opposition in a democratic society.

Not in our name – open letter to sector ‘leaders’ (2012) NCIA
An open letter to the chief executives of 14 sector infrastructure bodies on the occasion of their expressed support for the Coalition government’s Open Public Services White Paper. Here is NCIA’s own letter to the Economic Secretary.

26 good reasons to oppose commissioning in the voluntary sector (2012) NCIA
A handout listing the main arguments against current commissioning and procurement practices.

Independence, privatisation, magical consciousness & the reality of voluntary action on the ground (2012) Elizabeth Bayliss & Matt Scott NCIA
NCIA evidence to the Barings Foundation on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector

What the Lottery has got in mind for us all (2012) Adrian Barritt NCIA
An article charting the growing influence of the Big Lottery Fund on future patterns of local voluntary action.

Social Action Fund: all target, no aim… (2012) Adrian Barritt NCIA
A critique of the launch of the government’s Social Action Fund.

Work Programme heralds double whammy for voluntary action (2011) NCIA
Article about the letting of contracts under the Government’s Work Programme.

Voluntary Action – fragmented and ignored: the damaging effects of Government privatisation policies (2011) Andy Benson with Rachael McGill and Melaina Barnes NCIA
Paper delivered to the VSSN/NCVO conference in June 2011.

The Big Society and Older People (2011) Andy Benson NCIA
Speech to the 2011 Pensioners Parliament.

For Insurgency – the Case against Partnership (2011) Professor Jonathan Davies, De Montford University with NCIA
Extract from Challenging Governance Theory: From Networks to Hegemony, by Jonathan S. Davies, published by The Policy Press in September 2011. http://www.policypress.co.uk/display.asp?ISB=978184742614.

Power and the control of information, knowledge and learning (2011) Andy Benson
Presentation as the annual ARVAC lecture – 9th May 2011

Government White Paper shimmies around the disaster that awaits us (2011) NCIA
Brief article about the Open Public Services White Paper.

NCIA response to the establishment of the Barings Independence Panel (2011) NCIA
An NCIA response to the terms of reference of the Barings Foundation Panel on the Independence o the Voluntary Sector.

Comments on Co-production (2011) NCIA
Review of two reports dealing with co-production.

Time to fight for independence (2011) NCIA
Re-issue of a short introduction to independent action and NCIA.

NCIA do it yourself placard (2011) NCIA

What you can do (2011) NCIA
Leaflet setting out ideas for helping to build the Coalition.

Talking about independent action (2011)
Notes for speakers and bloggers.

Managing for independence (2011) NCIA
Tips on appropriate management styles, including how to get talking, make power visible, organise and act, and get help when you need it.

Voluntary action under threat: what privatisation means for charities and community groups (2011) NCIA
A survey of evidence about the role of commissioning, localism and ‘big society’ in the government’s wider agenda of privatisation.
Summary Report
Full Report

Voluntary action under threat (2011) NCIA
Leaflet version of the above paper that presents the key evidence about the government’s agenda of privatisation and the role played by commissioning, localism and ‘big society’.

Seasons Greetings from NCIA 2010 (2010) NCIA

Campaign statement: Public Services and Privatisation (2010) NCIA
Short NCIA position statement.

Campaign Statement: Supporting Activism (2010) NCIA
Short NCIA position statement.

Campaign Statement: Managing Independence (2010) NCIA
Short position statement.

Campaign statement: Managing Independence2 (2010) NCIA
Longer justification of arguments concerning managerialism.

Time to Fight for Independence (2010) NCIA
A short introduction to independent action and NCIA.

Social Enterprise – for better or for worse? (2010)
Listen to NCIA’s Andy Benson air his views on social enterprise in this BBC Radio Wales interview.


Big Society – A fig leaf for privatisation (2010) Bernard Davies NCIA
Speech by Bernard Davies to the NW Community Activists conference in Manchester in September 2010.

‘Strengthening the Voluntary Sector’ – where is the history and politics? Colin Rochester (2010)
Critical review of ‘Strengthening the Voluntary Sector – Independence’, a report of case studies from the Baring Foundation.

Cooption or what? (2010) NCIA
Press released Open Letter to ‘sector leaders’ challenging their endorsement of the New Compact. The responses we received can also be accessed. Also an article in The Times that featured NCIA’s position.

Challenging Times – lobbying local politicians at a time of cuts (2010) Sean Creighton
Questions for local politicians to highlight gaps between rhetoric and practice.

Do-or-die – how to survive cuts and recession (2010) NCIA
Ideas from local groups about surviving with integrity.

Action for Social Justice (2010) NCIA
Prospectus for work on activism for social justice.

What’s 2010 bringing and what’s NCIA doing ’bout it? (2010) NCIA
Short article about current issues at the beginning of 2010.

Compact writings 2008-2010 (2010) Andy Benson NCIA
A miscellany of writings about the ‘Compact with the Voluntary Sector’.

A Decade of Civil Society under New Labour (2009) Colin Rochester
A Paper Presented to the ARVAC Meeting at the British Academy on 24th February 2009

The Duty to Involve – another confidence trick? (2009) Matt Scott NCIA
Critical article about the introduction of the ‘duty to involve’.

Advice work and local action (2009) NCIA
Article about local advice networks working together to protect their independence.

Criminal Justice & the Voluntary Sector: A policy that does not compute (2009) Andy Benson & John Hedge NCIA
Article published in Criminal Justice Studies.

The future for Adur communities (2009) Adrian Barritt NCIA
Adrian Barritt makes the case for the Right to Belong and the irreplaceable role of local action by local people in Adur.

Fighting back (2009) Andy Benson NCIA
Article for Green Socialist on changes in the voluntary and community sector.

The Third Sector as deliverers of services –over-hyped; an idea whose time is done (2008) Matt Scott NCIA
Article on the drift of voluntary services into contracted public services provision.

Compact – a Failed Initiative (2008) Andy Benson NCIA
Article about attempts to revive the Compact.

Government hand-washing guidance – the legacy of the CENs (2008) Matt Scott NCIA
A retrospective review of Community Empowerment Networks.

Legal Aid, the Legal Services Commission and a tale of our times  (2008) Andy Benson NCIA with Hackney Advice Forum
Article about the damaging changes to Legal Aid forced through by the Legal Services Commission.

What is Voluntary Action for? (2008) Colin Rochester NCIA
Short paper setting out some thoughts about the positive role of voluntary action in civil society.

Voluntary action and public services (2008) Andy Benson NCIA
Comments the Guardian Interview ‘It’s nothing short of vandalism’ about Andy from March 2008.

It’s Nothing Short of Vandalism (2008) The Guardian
Guardian interview with Andy Benson, NCIA Co-founder.

Saved by the Tories? (2008) Colin Rochester, NCIA
Early analysis of what the Conservatives said they had in store for voluntary action, which concludes that their vision was convincing as an attack on the problems that threatened independent action under New Labour, but didn’t convince as a set of proposals for the future.

Cry Freedom (2008) Mathew Little
Third Sector article about Andy Benson and the NCIA.

Commissioning – How to Kill the Goose that lays the Golden Egg (2007) Elizabeth Bayliss NCIA
Article from Director the Social Action for Health about how ‘procurement and commissioning’ threatens both the independence and the effectiveness of voluntary agency work.

Promoting and protecting voluntary and community action (2007) NCIA
The paper with which NCIA was launched publicly.

Stop the Rot Campaign (2006) NCIA
The meeting that started it all (in Penny and Andy’s front room)!

The Voluntary Sector, Independence & The Community Legal Service: A case study of how not to do it (2003) Andy Benson
Speech to a trades union meeting in September 2003.

Reclaim the Agenda – the Future of Advice (2002) Andy Benson and Penny Waterhouse
This handout was prepared for the first meeting where we voiced concerns about the encroachment of the state and erosion of independence – the context being a gathering of the national networks concerned with advice services.