These information sheets
expand on other content in the Guide
to Development Trusts and
Guide to Effective Participation -
also on this site - deals with the wider issues of community
The 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 contents.
is a development trust?
- A brief definition of
what trusts are and what they do
- An overview of the
process to create a Community Development
- 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
- 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
- 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 Trust.
- 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.
- 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
- One of the core
competences for a development trust or partnership is
- 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
- 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
- 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 basis.
- 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
- 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 down'
- Another core competence,
without which no Trust or partnership will
- 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
- The Board of Trust is
responsible for its strategic direction and the
management of the executive director - the area of policy
- 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 management.
- 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
- In order to deliver, a
Trust must be competent at managing its various
- 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 needed.
- 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
- 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 their commitment.
- 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
© David Wilcox firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tel +44 (0)1273 677377. Fax: +44 (0)1273 677379. These
information sheets may be freely distributed with this
attribution, but not republished as a whole.
Guide to Development Trusts and Partnerships