Coordination in place project

Purpose of the project

Local action has been vital in responding to the outbreak of Covid-19. People have been looking after their neighbours, mutual aid groups have sprung up, and charities and funders have been working with local government to effectively support people in their area.

Whether the immediate future brings a recovery or a resurgence of the virus, it is important that we understand how to effectively fund and coordinate local action to support people most in need.

NPC will work with three areas, where coordinated, place-based activity has had a positive impact on the community during this crisis. The work will investigate and share the practical steps areas can take as they adapt to the changing challenges posed by different phases of the crisis.

This work has three intended outcomes:

  1. Better coordination between communities of interest (for example, charities and community groups, local government representatives, and statutory services—to help them deliver for their area during the crisis and beyond.)
  2. Funders and policymakers invested in place-based working will be more aware of the types of funding and further support required to support effective local action.
  3. Building the evidence base for the wider funding and policymaking community of the benefits of place-based working, so they are more likely to follow the principles of place-based funding in future.


NPC will track three areas across a six month period in order to learn how areas are transitioning and will explore what is working well and what gaps exist, where more support is needed. The research will be carried out through a series of monthly interviews with coordinators from each area, and supplemented by background reading and conversations with other key stakeholders.

The study will be limited in terms of depth and the number of perspectives informing the research, and so NPC is looking to raise funds to include more areas and a wider variety of perspectives in the research.

Research questions

Research questions will cover three main topics:

  • Questions about the response period and identifying what is changing in areas. For example, looking at what changes areas have seen in the way organisations work together, and how needs, behaviours and attitudes have changed.
  • Questions about area recovery and building on good practice. For example, asking areas what new ways of working they think could be shared and adopted elsewhere, and what ways of working should be stopped or improved.
  • Questions about what the field can do to support better practice. For example, asking what funders and policymakers can learn from the changes in needs and behaviours identified in this research.

During the research process, NPC will also be looking for evidence that systems are shifting in positive ways, using a set of criteria identified through previous work and informed by the work of others. Criteria will include evidence of a strong shared vision between partners and communities; strong relationships between local coordinators; and the sharing of funding and other resources.

Timings and outputs

NPC will publish interim findings midway through the research period, and the final findings at the end of the six month period. We will also explore any key policy asks that emerge from these findings. Throughout the project, we will share bulletins and updates with our Pledge on Place network and continue to convene meetings every two months.


place timeline

In October 2020, we published our interim report for this project and this blog. For more on NPC’s work on place-based approaches click here.