The Role and Impact of Locally Trusted Organisations, 2021-22

This research was commissioned by Local Trust, a place-based funder supporting communities to transform and improve their lives and the places in which they live. Local Trust oversees Big Local,  a resident-led funding programme providing residents in 150 areas in England with £1.15m each to spend across 10–15 years to create lasting change in their neighbourhoods. The research focused on Locally Trusted Organisations (LTOs), a key element of the Big Local programme. 

In each Big Local area there is an unincorporated, resident-led Big Local partnership that decides how the money will be spent. A locally trusted organisation is the organisation chosen by people in a Big Local area or the partnership to administer and account for funding, and/or deliver activities or services on behalf of a partnership. 

Our research explored three questions:

  1. To what extent does the Locally Trusted Organisation (LTO) model support resident-led decision making and control? What contributes to the success of the model? What prevents LTOs from supporting resident-led decision making and control? 
  2. What do LTOs need to perform their role in a way that supports resident-led decision making and control? 
  3. What can others supporting resident-led change learn from this work? 

The research team, from Sheffield Hallam University’s Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) and Shared Assets CIC, examined these questions through a three-stage process. First we reviewed existing evidence, including internal documents from Local Trust. We then ran a series of deliberative workshops. These involved Local Trust staff, representatives of LTOs, members of Big Local partnerships and Big Local Reps. We then interviewed additional stakeholders to examine in more detail some of the issues raised in the workshops. As part of this work we prototyped a diagnostic framework to help LTOs, Local Trust and Big Local partnerships to review their relationships and aspirations.

Image credit: Big Local
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