Consortia Learning

London Plus aim to raise the profile of consortia working in the voluntary sector.

Last week London Plus in partnership with DAC Beachcroft delivered the first of a series of learning events focused on Consortia Development. These learning seminars form part of a wider initiative by London Plus to raise the profile of consortia development in the voluntary sector. Partnering with DAC Beachcroft has meant we were able to develop a seminar with the expertise of Amanda Walton, Legal Director and Hamza Drabu, Partner who clearly set out the context of consortia governance and the public sector procurement process.

Through the seminar we explored the challenges in developing sound governance arrangements and considered the risk analysis needed in forecasting future performance and partners contribution/relationships.

Three voluntary sector representatives took part in the event, to talk about their experiences of Consortia Working.  They were: Kevin Nunan from Voluntary Action Camden, Toni Walsh from Bromley Third Sector Enterprise and Kate White from Superhighways.

Key issues

  • Time: Working collaboratively takes time and the process of setting up a consortium takes considerable time and resource.
  • Risk: Dealing with difficult questions and scenarios at the outset is important as this will help save time and money in the long term.
  • Trust: Building good relationships between potential delivery partners is key to the future success of a consortium.


  • Small organisations
    • How can we make sure smaller organisations are able to take part in a consortium led by larger organisations?
    • The requirement to meet a quality standard means that smaller organisations often do not have the capacity to become full participating members of consortia ie members actively engaged in delivering services under contract for the consortia.
    • One solution that was discussed was Consortia developing associate members schemes as a way of involving smaller organisations that may need some support with development.
  • Support
    • There was an agreement by participants at the seminar that there isn’t much support & information available to voluntary sector organisations and commissioners, to help share knowledge, resources and training to develop consortia working.
  • Procurement
    • The Procurement process has a number of conditions for participating and monitoring procedures can be time consuming and complex. These issues can present considerable barriers for voluntary sector organisations looking to bid for public service contracts.
    • There is the potential that Brexit may improve procurement conditions for UK based voluntary sector organisations, but this is yet to be explored.


London Plus is carrying out research activity on the needs of voluntary sector consortia and commissioners in London.  Our research focuses on 3 areas:

  • Identifying the support that exists for Consortia, for both voluntary sector organisations and commissioners.
  • Impact on the Voluntary Sector – Is Consortia development changing the local voluntary sector across London?
  • Social Value: Is Social Value being used in the commissioning process by consortia and commissioners?

We will be sharing an update from our research to date by the end of June. 

Learning programme

London Plus is also developing a learning programme, of which the governance seminar delivered with DAC Beachcroft is the first event. We intend to develop our learning programme by continuing to hold information seminars that will explore the challenges & opportunities facing voluntary sector consortia in London.

Our aim is to support Voluntary Sector organisations from across London to gather to share their experiences, hear from experts and learn from their peers. 

More Information

For more information on the seminar or on any of the activity mentioned in this Blog, please contact: Leah Whittingham:

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