Research round-up: NPC says charities must be bold to survive; Mental health charities produce poor research

NPC says charities must be bold to survive

Charities must become more transparent about how they operate and develop new ways to exploit local assets if they are to thrive in the future, according to a report from the think tank NPC.

The paper, Boldness in Times of Change, argues that charities are already being affected by substantial changes in demography, technological trends and politics, and must alter their own strategic plans if they are to survive. The paper's recommendations include that charities need to find new ways to guarantee income and match services to resources, amid falling state funding, plans for devolved contracts and new fundraising regulations.

Giving Evidence finds poor level of mental health research 

Mental health charities in the UK produce too much poor quality research and aren’t good at using evidence when designing their services, according to a research paper published this week.

The report, produced by Giving Evidence, which helps charities make better use of evidence, says that only half of the 12 charities interviewed produce or fund the creation of impact assessments, and that too often the research produced is of low quality because of budget constraints. The reports calls for charities to produce fewer casual evaluations and instead should focus on finding and using more external research or collaborating with specialist researchers.

Level playing field needed for Work and Health Programme, says Reform

The government needs to create a more level playing field to help charities compete with private sector providers for contracts for the Work and Health Programme, according to the independent think tank Reform. The reportWork and Health Programme: Levelling the Playing Field, which has been supported by Big Society Capital, warns that the aim of ministers to help long-term unemployed and disabled people back into work will be undermined unless action is taken. Its recommendations include a different approach to the payment-by-results regime and a reduction of administrative burdens that have shut out all but the largest bidders from other central government procurements.

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