The biggest challenge for the Collective was finding a structure to put collaboration ahead of competition. Most local authorities have a Community and Voluntary Sector or CVS organisation -generally a charity with a board- to support the social sector. (Barking and Dagenham has a CVS playing an important and developing role -see later posts). Did it make sense to set up another charity? What about a co-operative? Or a Community Interest Company?

The Collective has decided not to establish any kind of formal organisation. It is a network of networks. It links up activity designed to make the social sector more than the sum of its parts. Funds to support this activity are not held by the Collective. They are held on trust by organisations in the Collective. The Collective is not chasing funds to sustain itself. There is no organisation to sustain. 

This is a radical departure. It is possibly unique in the U.K.. That doesn’t make it good or effective. But it is different. And extremely demanding on the members, all of whom are used to the trappings of an organisation, with hierarchies, accountability structures…..