Creating a Development
Information sheets by David
The information sheets in this section expand on The
Guide to Development Trusts and Partnerships
written in 1997. Earlier work is also here - a brief Introduction
to Partnerships and an A-Z
The Guide to Effective
Participation deals with the wider issues
of community involvement.
These sheets were written from my
experience as a consultant, often in situations where a local council
or quango was supporting the start up process. As such they are a
mixture of top down and bottom up. Inevitably they make the process
look tidier than it is - but I hope they help.
Funding from BT
and the Department
of Trade and Industry
supported some of the work, but neither body is responsible for the
- What is a
- A brief definition of what trusts
are and what they do
- Start up
- An overview of the process to
create a Community Development Trust
- When a Development Trust is
funded by a public body, each side may wish to develop an
agreement setting out formally the terms of the grant.
- In order to secure core funding
from funders, the steering group will need to prepare a bid making
the case for the Trust, setting out its work programme, and
providing some financial forecasts.
- Development Trusts are
incorporated as companies limited by guarantee, and so the
governing body is a Board of directors. If the Trust is registered
as a charity, the Board members will also be trustees. In either
instance they are responsible for the direction of the
- The business plan is the key
document which sets out the strategy by which the development
trust will achieve its objectives - whether they are social,
economic or environmental - and also stay in business.
- Case study
- One way to clarify the initial
vision of a Development Trust is for those involved in the early
stages to attempt to produce a case study of the trust as they
envisage it in five years time. The headings and notes here
provide a framework.
- One of the core competences for a
development trust or partnership is effective
- Case studies of Development
Trusts and discussions with Trust directors have identified key
areas of good practice in running Trusts which can be defined in
terms of 'competence'. These areas are Governance, Management,
Communications, Financial sustainability and Project management.
This sheet provides an overall set of checklists. Other sheets
deal with each area of competence.
- Development Trusts need a legal
and management structure which balances the two elements of their
work: on the one hand carrying out a range of economically,
socially or environmentally useful projects, on the other
generating income to sustain their operations.
- Core costs
- In making a bid to funders the
steering group will need to draw up a budget and estimate the core
costs of running the Development Trust.
- The start up process for a
Development Trust is likely to generate more work than can easily
be carried out by a steering group sharing tasks among themselves.
One solution is to appoint a development officer on a short term
- The way that a steering group or
Trust run events and formal and informal meetings will be
fundamental to its success. Events can either be important
milestones in gaining commitment and making decisions, or
frustrating and counter-productive.
- One way to plan the start up
process and resolve many of the issues is to carry out - or
commissionn - aformal feasibility study. This may well be
appropriate when creation of a trust depends on making a bid to
one or more funders. This sheet consequently describes a 'top
- Another core competence, without
which no Trust or partnership will survive
- Some trusts are set up 'top down'
with support from local authorities or quangos, others by local
people operating on a shoe-string. Trusts are really small
enterprises with charitable objectives, so the aim is to end up
with an effective independent organisation which can both serve
local needs and sustain its own operations. From my own
experience, talking to those involved, and from questionnaires
completed for this guide, here are some golden rules.
- The Board of Trust is responsible
for its strategic direction and the management of the executive
director - the area of policy governance.
- Early in the start up process for
a Trust the initial champion and/or the steering group should
agree a set of policy guidelines and principles of good practice.
These will cover both the nature of the Trust envisaged, and also
the way the setting up process should be conducted in order to
- Trusts should be seen as small
non-profit businesses, with the same requirement for effective
- In order to communicate
effectively a Development Trust will need a range of materials
which explain its purpose, promote its activities and seek to gain
support and funding.
- In order to deliver, a Trust must
be competent at managing its various projects.
- Roles and
- One of the key factors for
success in the start up process is being clear on who does what,
and why they are doing it. This sheet identifies the main roles,
and also summarises the funds and other resources likely to be
- Start up
- During the start up process the
steering group will require funds to cover a range of items. Costs
will depend on how much help they can attract in kind
- The role of the steering group is
to manage the start up process, assisted by a development officer.
They will prepare any bid for funds, and act as a 'shadow' for the
final Board of the Trust.
- Early in the process, whoever is
promoting the idea of a Trust or partnership will have to develop
a vision which can be communicated to others in order to gain
- Some of the most useful work in
setting up a Trust is likely to be done in small creative groups.
This sheet gives some guidelines for running
© David Wilcox firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tel +44 (0) 20 7600 0104. These information sheets may be freely distributed with
this attribution, but not republished as a whole.
and Participation :
Guide to Development Trusts and Partnerships