Well-informed: Charities and commissioners on results reporting

The third sector plays an important role in public service delivery in the UK today, and local government is a major provider of grant and contract funding for this work. Following the 2009 report How are you getting on, which focused on charities’ reporting to grant-makers, NPC started a project focused on statutory funding relationships. Well-informed is based on surveys of charities and local authority commissioners, and part of the National Performance Programme.

Well-informed presents findings about how charities communicate results information to commissioners, and how commissioners use this information. It also looks at the financial and non-financial support charities receive for monitoring and evaluation.

By understanding how commissioners use results information and what drives their satisfaction with it, charities can improve their funding applications and their reporting. By understanding the challenges charities face in this area and what other commissioners ask for and use, commissioners can make appropriate demands for results information and improve their own use of it. A grasp of the concerns expressed by charities and commissioners can help support providers improve their services for both groups.

 The biggest problem seems to be that a lot of them think the reporting they have to do is out of proportion to the funding they receive. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that commissioners take a different view.

Gustaf Lofgren, report author


To disseminate the findings from this research, NPC held a free briefing event (‘Third sector organisations and commissioners on reporting’) in London on 31 March 2010. Third sector organisations, support providers, and commissioners were invited, though relatively few commissioners were able to attend. Tim Wilson, Director of the National Performance Programme, introduced the research programme, and Gustaf Lofgren, Senior Consultant at NPC, presented findings. Participants were invited to comment and ask questions, and following this there was a general discussion of how reporting relationships can be improved.