Sector Forecast Survey Preliminary Findings Released

Earlier this year NICVA launched their Sector Forecast Survey which explored organisations outlook for 2016. This article presents some preliminary findings from the research. 

NICVA's Sector Forecast Survey aimed to explore organisations economic, political and operational outlook for 2016. The online survey was circulated to 4,113 organisations in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector between 11 January and 5 February 2016. This sampling frame was developed by combining data from NICVA’s central administrative database with data held by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland. The survey was comprised of mainly closed-ended and rank format questions.

Reminder emails were sent in order to maximise the response rate alongside follow-up phone calls. In addition a prize incentive was offered to all respondents. The survey achieved a response rate of 23% (n=944).

Findings from the Sector Forecast Survey will be released as part of NICVA’s State of the Sector launch in July 2016. In the meantime, some preliminary findings from the Sector Forecast Survey are listed below.

  • 31.3% of respondents expect their organisations general situation to worsen in 2016, while 23.6% expect an improvement. The remainder, 45.1% expect their organisations general situation to stay the same.
  • 66.3% of respondents expect the economic condition of the voluntary and community sector to worsen over the next 12 months. Just 4.8% expect an improvement while 21.5% expect the economic condition to stay the same.

  • 38.1% of respondents expect that their income will decrease over the next year, 29.5% expect it to stay the same while 17.5% expect their income to increase.
  • 43.2% of respondents expect that their expenditure will increase in 2016, 16.1% expect a decrease while 33.6% anticipate that it will stay the same.
  • The majority of respondents expect the number of services and activities they provide to either increase or stay the same.
  • One-fifth of respondents (20.4%) expect their staff numbers to decrease in 2016 while 54.7% anticipate that staff numbers will stay the same. 14.1% anticipate an increase in staff numbers.
  • 16.9% of respondents expect to close services in the next 12 months.
  • Just over one third (34%) of respondents expect to undertake an organisational restructure in 2016.
  • Just 3.2% of organisations envisage closing in the next 12 months.
  • 69.6% of respondents expect to collaborate with another organisation in 2016.
  • 38.6% stated that the devolution of power to the Northern Ireland Assembly had a negative impact on the sector over the last 12 months. This marks a shift towards more negative attitudes since the publication of the previous State of the Sector report (2012). Close to one-fifth of respondents stated that the impact was positive (19.9%) while 22.1% felt there was no impact.
  • 33.6% of respondents expect that the devolved legislation will have a negative impact on their organisation’s operating environment in 2016. 16.5% expect the devolved legislation to have a positive impact while 27.8% expect no impact.
  • 35.7% of respondents stated that the transfer of powers to the new councils will have a negative impact on the voluntary and community sector in 2016. 26.1% felt the councils will have a positive impact while 15.3% expect no impact.
  • Respondents indicated that their most significant political relationship will be with local councils in 2016. Government departments and commissioning bodies and groups were ranked second and third respectively.
  • The three main weaknesses/threats to organisations over the next 12 months identified by respondents were public sector cuts, lack of diversification of income and competition from other organisations.

Data from the Sector Forecast Survey will be released on NICVA’s Detail Data portal as part of the State of the Sector launch in July 2016.

 

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