A new report has summarised how TSIs responded to the crisis
A new report has highlighted the vital role third sector interfaces (TSIs) played in the response to Covid-19.
The TSI Covid-19 Learning Project has been published this week.
It found that TSIs helped bridge the gap between local and national, supporting communities to help those who needed help most. It noted organisations displayed flexibility and responsiveness; incredible speed of response; a positive attitude and enormous commitment.
The report deemed the role played by TSI and third sector organisations locally depended upon the emergency planning and response arrangements in each local authority. It was easier to support and mobilise the sector when relationships and structures for involving it were stronger.
TSIs were responsible for gaining intelligence about community provision and needs of communities; built databases of groups, volunteers and services and identified gaps and found ways to support local groups and organisations to fill those gaps.
Key findings from a TSI National Survey cited in the report included the financial situation of social enterprises as a consequence of Covid-19 is perilous, and without urgent financial support, many will not recover. Further, a reduction in income from fundraising is threatening the future of voluntary organisations large and small, with half of these organisations experiencing a reduction in income from fundraising. A key pinch point in the financial recovery of all organisations will be the cessation of the Job Retention Scheme. It also showed organisations have been entrepreneurial and adaptive during this period. Half of all organisations have changed what they do or have modified delivery support to their community/ service users.
Local stakeholders identified greater scope for TSIs to: improve the capacity of the third sector to demonstrate outcomes; build the delivery capacity of the sector; and build their knowledge/capacity to operate as a strategic commissioning partner.
The review was funded by Scottish Government and prepared in partnership between TSIs and Evaluation Support Scotland. It included a desk review, case studies of six TSI areas, and independent interviews with local partners.
The report makes five key recommendations: for the role of the sector and volunteers during the pandemic to be celebrated; for awareness to be built of the work TSIs carry out; for the capacity and reach of the third sector in local decisions to be invested in; for the opportunities that have occurred as part of coronavirus to be built upon; and for a funding strategy for TSIs to be developed.