Previously TSIs were asked to deliver and report on four core functions. The 2016 review of TSI's found that in practice the Scottish Government grant only enables TSIs to deliver each of the four functions on a limited scale. Many of the TSIs lever in additional funding from their local authority and other external sources which enable them to increase the scope of the core functions they deliver.
The review recommended that there should be a move away from funding the existing four functions. Instead the focus would be on TSIs taking a strategic role in third sector involvement in community planning and integration and in responding to local needs and outcomes.
The review has prompted Scottish Government to review both their vision for and their relationship with TSIs in the light of an ever changing policy landscape.
An outcomes framework
The review also recommended that government in conjunction with the TSI network develop an outcome framework. This should include a menu of common outcomes that TSI could be expected to work towards (although recognising that actual outcomes will be co-produced at the local level).
This has involved thinking through the key roles that the Scottish Government wants to fund and the outcomes that
might come from that. We have identified that work undertaken under the four functions is still important. Scottish Government still see that there is a need for volunteering and social enterprise development, basic support around setting up and running a charity, funding advice etc. However the response to meeting those needs might well vary, dependent upon the local context.
We identified that it is not realistic to expect TSIs to contribute to every relevant government strategy. TSIs will be asked to link their work to the National Performance Framework (NPF), the Social Enterprise Strategy and the Volunteering outcomes Framework (once developed). However the framework puts the emphasis on responding to local needs and outcomes within the broad roles that Scottish Government have identified.
We envisage this framework will help Scottish Government and TSIs to move to a more outcome focussed funding and reporting. It will enable funding to be less prescriptive about activities and to allow more flexibility to respond to local circumstances within a shared broader vision.
It will also help make clear what TSU funding does and does not cover.
Email: Robert Mitchell