Proposal for a Feasibility Study on developing a pan London
infrastructure Faith Forum
This proposal is submitted jointly by the faith communities‟ representatives on the
ChangeUp London Regional Consortium – Faithworks (representing the Distinctive Faiths
Consortium of six faith-based bodies), London Civic Forum (representing 200 faith
communities and faith-based organisations across London) and the London Churches
Group for Social Action (representing all major Christian denominations across London).
The proposal is supported by several other significant faith-based organisations (see
Appendix One) and has been discussed and supported by the ChangeUp BMER Faith and
Equalities Sub Group.
Following recommendations by the London Regional Consortium, the London
Infrastructure Development Plan Sub Group and the BMER Faith and Equalities Sub
Group, the three faith organisations met in early September. We agreed that the two
proposals that were being submitted were very different in aims and content and could not
be merged into one. The current proposal is the only one being submitted within the
current stage of the ChangeUp process. The proposal from the London Churches
Group for Social Action is being slightly amended with a view to seeking funding either in
the next round, or - if there should be underspend - in the current round.
Background to the proposal
London is a diverse city and is fortunate to have such a wide range of faith groups, each
operating within a distinctive faith tradition. Traditionally these communities have formed
an essential part of the fabric of society across London.
Faith communities and faith-based organisations organise numerous activities and
programmes that bring wider benefit to their local communities and to London as a whole.
Research commissioned by Greater London Enterprise and carried out by the London
Churches Group for Social Action1 identified 2,151 specific projects (quite separate from
programmes targeted only at their own members), involving 13,500 volunteers and
benefiting some 120,000 people.
Of these activities and projects 51% are concerned with social support (youth clubs,
playgroups, lunch clubs and drop-in centres), 12% are support networks for vulnerable
groups (e.g. those suffering from substance abuse), 15% offer community support (to
disabled people, to women‟s groups, to teenage parents and after school care, crime
prevention groups, health and sport groups etc), 7% are concerned with homelessness
and deprivation, 6% are concerned with education and training, 5% concerned with the
arts and 4% concerned with provision of advice and counselling.
These figures are even more remarkable considering just 30% of the 3,300 faith
communities across London responded to the survey. While it is risky to extrapolate
directly from these figures, it is clear that they represent only a part of the faith
communities‟ contribution to community life in London.
Yet for many decades faith communities were excluded from public funding completely
and still only about 18% of these projects receive any kind of public funding. The report
“RegeneratingLondon: Faith communities and social action” is available from London Churches Group, Central Hall Westminster,
Storey‟s Gate, London, SW1H 9NH or available to download from http://www.gle.co.uk/research.htm.
commissioned by GOL and undertaken by Faithworks2 points out the capacity building
needs of local faith-based organisations. While the strength of faith-based organisations is
the strong motivation that derives from their faith tradition, these projects suffer from low
levels of paid staff time and often insufficient volunteer time. Increasing demands are
being made on buildings, however communities often lack the funds to develop them into
facilities suitable for their communities. Although up to 20% of potential membership of
local CVSs are faith-based groups, CVS organisations are generally weak at identifying
and working with these groups. Only half of London local authorities give financial support
to faith-based groups.
A need for a pan-London Faiths Forum
Faith communities are increasingly seen as important partners both in delivering local
services to communities in need, and in delivering strategic policy objectives such as
Yet despite the widespread nature of faith communities across London, the infrastructure
to support them is fragmented. These infrastructure groups often represent a single faith
and have expertise in specific areas with focused agendas, stakeholders and constituents.
At a local level, faith forums are beginning to be formed but have neither the capacity nor
the remit to offer capacity-building support to organisations. Unlike other equalities
strands there is currently no regional second tier infrastructure support body for faith
communities. A pan-London second tier Faiths Forum would make it easier to build
relationships and alliances across the different sectors.
Earlier this year London Civic Forum commissioned an initial investigation into the
potential for a pan-London Faith Forum3. There is strong support for such a body from
statutory agencies who seek a representative body to bring faith communities together and
so far have either had to delay essential work (London Development Agency), work from
scratch (Metropolitan Police Authority) or work through a third party (London 2012 Olympic
bid) in order to reach faith communities effectively. There is also strong support from the
faith communities themselves who see a pan-London body as a potentially effective voice
and network to enhance their existing work. This work has become more urgent in the
light of recent developments such as the focus on the role of faith communities in
rebuilding cohesive communities, and the importance of faith communities in the
community development aspect of the 2012 Olympics.
The need for a feasibility study
Although there is strong identified need for a regional Faith Forum it is clear that more
work needs to be done to assess feasibility and to establish a clear operational basis. This
feasibility study builds on the previous work in regional infrastructure development carried
out by Faithworks, the London Churches Group and the London Civic Forum.
The majority of partners consulted by the London Civic Forum added an important rider to
their support for the idea of a pan-London Forum – it must be done properly taking into
account the varying experiences of other regional faith forums, the complex inter-action
between faith communities and between them and other sectors, and the special
complexity of London itself. It is something to which very careful thought needs to be
given, and proper consultation undertaken so that any new structure which may emerge is
widely owned, is realistic about its aims and is firmly integrated into the work of potential
“Building the Capacity of London‟s Faith Groups” is available from Faithworks 115 Southwark Bridge Road London SE1 0AX
Briefing paper available from London Civic Forum, 18A Victoria Park Square, London, E2 9PB.
A feasibility study will
clarify and amplify the argument and rationale for a Faith Forum
explore and establish the organisational relationships that need to underpin the
identify the logistical and resource framework for Forum
identify a blueprint which will enable the Forum to be implemented.
The study will specifically address the following needs:
The need to understand and draw together the specialist needs, characteristics and
sources of infrastructure support to faith groups in London
The need for better co-ordination amongst specialist providers of capacity-building
support and distinctive faith dialogue between faith groups
The need to ensure that collaborative working arrangements are established
between specialist infrastructure organisations in the faith sector
The need to educate and promote tolerance between distinctive faith groups
The need to both identify best practice in service provision and models of
excellence in distinctive faith collaboration in order to feed into the implementation
of the London Infrastructure Development Plan.
Key Objectives and Activities
1. To assess the feasibility of a pan London Faith Forum that would include the
majority of faith based infrastructure organisations working in partnership across all
major faith traditions with the aim of creating a fully representative single point of
contact for the GLA family, ALG and GOL.
2. To foster an environment that encourages partnership, mutual respect and the
sharing of best practice in community engagement between distinctive faith
traditions at regional, sub regional and borough level with the aim to enhance the
work of faith groups in the community
3. To create a framework for future development and activities of the Faith Forum and
build the capacity for collaborative working between the specialist infrastructure
4. To plan for the future long term sustainability of the London Faith Forum.
1. Building on the research carried out by Faithworks, the London Civic Forum and the
London Churches Group identify all specialist faith based infrastructure
organisations with a geographical focus on the London regional, sub regional and
2. In collaboration with key stakeholders identified through the initial consultation draft
terms of reference for Faith Forum
3. Identify the resource and logistical implications for a London Faith Forum and
create a business plan for long term sustainability
4. Production of a report detailing findings of feasibility study to be disseminated to
faith infrastructure organisations and other key constituents.
The work plan and timetable
It is envisaged that the feasibility study take place over the period of October 2005 to May
2006. The proposed work will be managed and delivered by delivered by a small team of
seconded staff from existing faith sector infrastructure organisations and/or consultants
secured through a tendering process led by the London Civic Forum. The contracts
awarded will be for a fixed term. The team will include:
Consultant/seconded staff 1 and 2:
Responsible of the overall management and delivery of the project including the
dissemination of the final report
Administrative and Research Officer
To provide all administrative support and research required to enable the
completion of the study.
The parameters of the work plan include:
Oct 05 - Nov 05 Establish, induct and train a project team and put in place all the
required policies, structures, and procedures to ensure the smooth
running of the project.
Nov 05 – Feb 06 Identify the level of support for a London Faith Forum. This will
include consulting with a wide range of local, regional and national
(based in London) faith bodies, statutory agencies, other strategic
voluntary agencies. Although it is assumed that the need exists, this
aspect of the study will test this thoroughly. It will also identify what
potential overlaps and duplication exist. The study, in itself, will also
raise the level of awareness of and, possibly, desire for a regional
Jan 05 – Mar 06 In collaboration with stakeholders identify the terms of reference for a
London Faith Forum. Existing regional structures will be some guide
as will be the experience of other local and regional structures that
already exist. The aim will be to determine a clear role for the new
body that can be seen as being of benefit to a wide constituency. The
terms of reference would have built in to them a commitment to
equalities at all levels of the organisation.
Nov 05 – Apr 06 Identify the resource and logistical implications for a London Faith
Forum. The experience of the London Civic Forum (as well as many
other examples) is that it is not realistic to service such a body from
within existing organisational budgets. Secure long term financial
Feb 05 – Apr 06 Identify and facilitate appropriate activities of a London Faith Forum.
These may include one-off central events, local events, networks and
special interest groups. A commitment to involvement at all levels of
activity – specifically to involve the smaller local groups that are often
missed by statutory agencies – would exist from the start.
Nov 05 – Apr 06 Identify the permanently sustainable organisational positioning for a
London Faith Forum. This „political‟ aspect of the study is crucial for
its ultimate success. Any new body needs to be „owned‟ and
supported by a comprehensive range of faith organisations, and
trusted by all regional agencies in the private, public and voluntary
Mar 06 – Apr 06 Devise a blueprint for action. This should be a clear, staged plan
which would enable the permanent implementation of a London Faith
Apr 06 – May 06 Report on and disseminate the findings of the feasibility study to all
key stakeholders and constituents. Enabling effective reporting and
dissemination will be built in from the start of the study.
Project costings from October 05 – May 06 inclusive
Staff Costs Total Cost
Consultant/seconded staff 1 and 2
35 days each over the period of the project at £300 per day 300x35= £10,500
therefore for 2 staff £ 21,000 £ 25,750
Administrative Research Officer
25 days over the period of the project at £ 150 per day 25x150 = £ 3,750
Management costs £ 1,000
Recruitment, induction and training expenses £2,000
Consultation cost with key faith-based infrastructure organisations £ 3,000
Office Space and telephones for three staff over the project period = £ 2,600 £ 13,400
Travel and subsistence. £400
ICT, including use of computers over the period of the project = £1,000
Stationary and production, design and printing of study = £4,000
Feasibility Study Dissemination
Launch event £1,500
Website Manager time to update key stakeholder websites 35hrs at £25/hr £875 £ 3,125
Other dissemination costs £ 750
Contingencies (5%) £ 2, 225
Total cost £ 44,500
Monitoring and Evaluation
The delivery of the feasibility study will be the responsibility of the 2 consultants/seconded
staff however the project will be overseen by a named manager from the London Civic
The named manager will:
Assign project success criteria and targets
Review plans and progress reports submitted by the project team
The monitoring bases will include:
Production of a number high quality printed feasibility study
Organisation of a launch event
The numbers of specialist faith infrastructure groups contacted and their
geographical spread across the region
The identification of draft terms of reference for the London Faith Forum
Evaluation of the impact of the Feasibility study will take six months after the project period
in October 2006 and if the Faith Forum is found to be feasible, a measurement of the
activity and impact of the newly convened London Faith Forum will be taken.
How does the proposal meet ChangeUp objectives?
Key ChangeUp personnel have stated that there is a strong argument for regional
infrastructure bodies where the work is concerned with London-wide policy, where there is
economy of scale, and where it undertakes work that only makes sense at a regional level.
We believe that a pan-London Faiths Forum will fulfil these criteria.
It will complement existing infrastructure bodies and local organizations by providing a
clear focus for the faith community sector across London – sharing information and
expertise and working together on strategic objectives. In particular it can act as a catalyst
working with statutory bodies (at local, sub-regional, regional and national level) and CVSs
to enable them to be more effective in supporting faith community organizations.
This proposal will meet the following key national ChangeUp objectives.
Embedding quality and improving reach:
By enabling faith community organisations to share best practice across the region
and by enabling existing infrastructure support to combine resources wherever
A pan-London body will promote collaboration and partnership at all levels, will
promote recognition of and access to existing infrastructure.
Why is this proposal higher priority to fund than other ideas from the sub-groups?
Having reviewed the proposals submitted to the London Regional Consortium in this round
of discussion we believe they all have distinct merits. We believe that this proposal sits
well in this context – it is well thought out, has realistic funding and will deliver a clear
output within the stated timescale.
Impact on smaller and marginalised communities including BMER
It is widely recognized that in some of the most deprived neighbourhoods of London it is
the faith community organizations who have developed the most significant network of
support and trust and who have most capacity to bring about change. Looking at the
research it is clear that, across London, faith community organizations have developed
projects that are working with sectors that are often neglected by other voluntary
It is also important to clarify the overlap and distinctiveness between the faiths sector and
the BMER sector. Many faith-based organizations are led and used by members of BMER
communities, and many BMER voluntary organizations are led and used by people of
faith. So there is clearly an overlap but they are not the same thing and one category
should not be confused with the other.
Potential links/synergies and/or potential conflicts with other sub group themes
As diverse and complex communities themselves, faith community organizations are well
placed to meet wider and cross-cutting objectives within the London Infrastructure
Development Plan. By, for example, promoting the sharing of expertise, dissemination of
good practice, and advice and information on funding, a regional body can have a direct
and specific impact on volunteering, workforce development, social enterprise and the
priority service areas.
Who will carry out the work and whether it will be commissioned or put out to
tender, including a rationale for whatever is decided.
We believe that the project should be awarded to London Civic Forum. The London Civic
Forum is recognised within the faiths sector as a neutral body which, nevertheless has a
strong track record of investing time and energy in the sector on a cross community basis.
As a result London Civic Forum has gained widespread trust and confidence across the
faith communities. London Civic Forum also has a significant professional record in
delivering similar projects on behalf of a number of pan-London bodies. There is a
pragmatic aspect to this recommendation – a formal tender process would add significant
time and would not deliver any significant gain.
Kate Monkhouse/Steve Miller London Civic Forum - Kate@londoncivicforum.org.uk, 020 8709 9770
Virginia Luckett Faithworks/Distinctive Faiths Forum - firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 7450 9058
Elizabeth Simon/Pat Logan London Churches Group - email@example.com, 020 7222 0281
29 September 2005
Organisations supporting this proposal.
1. Organisations represented on the ChangeUp London Regional Consortium.
a) London Civic Forum – representing approximately 200 faith-based organisations
derived from all the major faiths living in London.
b) Faithworks – representing the Distinctive Faiths Consortium. Organisations on the
Distinctive Faiths Consortium are: Muslim Council of Britain, United Synagogue, Hindu
Forum of Britain, Sikhs in England and Network of Buddhist Organisations.
c) London Churches Group for Social Action – The London Churches Group represents
all major Christian denominations in London.
2. Other faith-based organisations who have been consulted and who support this
a) Faith-Based Regeneration Network. A national network of practitioners, activists and
grass-roots organisations led by a management committee which includes representatives
from the following faith traditions - Baha‟i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim,
Sikh and Zoroastrian.
b) London Boroughs Faiths Network – an informal network of professionals and activists
working on either side of the Borough-Faith Community intersection. The network
currently consists of over 50 contacts from all parts of London and representing all major
faith communities in London.
c) Inter-Faith Network. The Inter-Faith Network is the nationally recognised body which
brings the major faith groups together including Baha‟i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain,
Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Zoroastrian traditions.