Jargon Buster

Here is a list of commonly used words, terms and their meanings.

Official recognition or validation that the services and/or training being undertaken by an organisation or person meets required standards.

Action learning Set
An action learning set is working in conjunction with others in small groups. People work and learn together by tackling real issues and reflecting on their actions. Learners acquire knowledge through actual actions and practice rather than through traditional instruction. It is particularly suitable for adults, as it enables each person to reflect on and review the action they have taken and the learning points arising which should guide future action and improve performance.

Added Value
The additional value created through the combined contribution of joint working.

Advocacy is speaking or acting in support or on behalf of another person(s) in accordance with their wishes. It helps people speak out for what they want or need, and encourages them to tell others about how they feel and what is important to them

Aims are the particular changes or differences a project or organisation plans to bring about for its users.

A standard or point of reference against which things may be compared and measured. Comparison of activities, processes or results with those already achieved by an organisation itself or by another organisation. 

Best Practice
A superior method or innovative practice that contributes to the improved performance of an organisation, usually recognised as ‘best' by other peer organisations.

Big Society
Big Society is the Government's vision of a society where individuals and communities have more power and responsibility; it encourages people to take an active role in their communities; it transfers power from central to local government; and these are used to create better neighbourhoods and local services. 

Capacity Building
Empowering activity that strengthens the ability of VCOs to build their structures, systems, people, and skills so that they are better able to:
1. define and achieve their objectives
2. engage in consultation and planning
3. manage projects
4. take part in partnerships, social enterprise and service delivery
5. Participate in consultation and planning

Civil Society
Civil society is a public space between the state, the market and the ordinary household, in which people can debate and tackle action and common interests. It can include voluntary collective activity in which people combine to achieve change on a particular issue - but not political parties, even though civil society has a political dimension. It does include charities; neighbourhood self-help schemes; international bodies like the UN or the Red Cross; religious-based pressure-groups; human rights campaigns in repressive societies; and non-governmental organisations improving health, education and living-standards in both the developed and developing nations. 

Commissioning is the process of deciding what services or products are needed, acquiring them and ensuring that they meet requirements and are delivered.  The delivery of services can be through grants or contracts. 

Commissioning strategy
Commissioning strategy is a detailed plan of what is required to meet local needs.  It involves specifying and securing high quality provision of services, defining priorities and choices, and determining how services are best delivered  Commissioning includes monitoring and evaluating services to establish their impact on improvement.

Common Assessment Framework (CAF)
The Common Assessment Framework is a key part of delivering frontline services that are integrated and focused around the needs of children and young people.  It involves the processes that cover the integrated assessment of a child's additional needs, as well as decisions about how those needs should be met.

ContactPoint will be a quick way for a practitioner to find out who else is working with the same child or young person.  This will make it easier to deliver more coordinated support.  It will be a basic online directory which will be available to authorised staff who need it to do their jobs. It is a key part of the Every Child Matters programme to improve outcomes for children and young people.

Communities of interest
A community of people who share a common interest. 

Community Interest Company (CIC)
A Community Interest Company (CIC) is a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners. CICs tackle a wide range of social and environmental issues and operate in all parts of the economy. By using business solutions to achieve public good, it is believed that social enterprises have a distinct and valuable role to play in helping create a strong, sustainable and socially inclusive economy

Community Organisation
Community Organisations are Informal, local community and self-help groups. They are often made up entirely of volunteers and any paid staff are likely to be part-time. They are independent, often without regular income or funding.

Community Sector
The Community Sector is a web of relationships, networks, groups, traditions and patterns of behaviour that exist amongst those who share physical neighbourhoods, socio-economic conditions or common understandings and interests.  It is the community itself taking action to get things done.  The community sector ranges form small informal community groups to large multi-purpose community organisations

Compact is a framework for partnership between Government and the voluntary and community sector, for mutual advantage.  An important principal of Compact is the independence of the sector and its right to campaign.  The Compact is supported by five Codes of Good Practice in which Government and the sector commit to particular actions.  There are also Local Compact Guidelines to inform partnership working between voluntary and community sector organisations and local bodies such as local authorities, primary care trusts and local learning and skills councils.

Contract is the terms and conditions under which a purchaser pays for goods and services.

Coterminous – having the same boundaries or all singing from the same song sheet.

Early intervention 
The purpose of Early intervention is to stop those children and young people at highest risk developing problems.  It is also to help those who show the first signs of difficulty, from displaying unnecessarily long or serious symptoms.

Involves using monitoring and other information to make judgments on how an organisation, project or programme is doing. Evaluation can be done externally or internally.

Every Child Matters (ECM)
This is the Government green paper that led to the Children Act 2004, which identified five outcomes for children and young people: be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution, and achieve economic well being.

Working with and involving people.

Frontline Organisations
Frontline organisations are voluntary and community sector organisations that work directly with individuals and communities to provide services, offer support and campaign for change.

Full cost recovery
Full cost recovery means recovering the full cost of a project or service.  In addition to the direct costs of staff and equipment, costs also include overheads such as finance, human resources, management, IT systems, rent utilities etc.

Generic Infrastructure
These are infrastructure organisations that provide support to all frontline organisations within a particular geographic area.

Governance is concerned with accountability, responsibilities, consistent management, cohesive policies, processes and decision rights.  It is the systems and processes concerned with overall direction, effectiveness and supervision  of an organisation and how it is directed and controlled, including:
1. Organisation - how a steering or focus group within the organisation works in partnership with external bodies to manage change.
2. Management – established roles and responsibilities to manage change and operational services and the scope of the power and authority
3. Policies – the framework and boundaries established for making decisions and the context and constraints within which decisions are made.

Hubs of expertise and facilities to support the sector.

Infrastructures are the physical facilities, structures, systems, relationships and people.  Knowledge and skills that exist to support and develop, co-ordinate, represent and promote frontline organisations, enabling them to deliver their mission more effectively.

Infrastructure Organisation
An infrastructure organisation is an organisation working behind the scenes to ensure that Third Sector Groups get the support they need.  They provide their members with a range of services, development and support and present a joint voice for the organisations they support.  They can identify where gaps in services are, provide access to information on funding, training and events to ensure local groups have the knowledge, skills and resources to provide services in their communities.

Inputs are the resources put into an organisation to carry out its activities. Inputs may be human, material, financial or expressed as time.

Investors in People (IIP)
An IIP is a national, externally assessed quality standard that sets out the levels of good practice for training and development of people to achieve the organisations goals.

Localism is concerned with governance and is devolving power and resources away from central control and towards front line managers, local democratic structures and local consumers and communities, within an agreed framework of national minimum standards and policy priorities". It should improve democratic accountability, provide a local mandate, and produce inter-agency approaches to localities".

Local Strategic Partnership (LSP)
Local Strategic Partnership is a single non-statutory, multi-agency body which matches local authority boundaries and aims to bring together at a local level the different parts of the public, private, community and voluntary sectors.  Local partners working through a LSP will be expected to take many of the major decisions about priorities and funding for their area.

A well defined and significant step towards achieving a target, output, outcome or impact, allowing a group to track progress.

This is the routine, systematic collection and recording of information about a project in order to check its progress against its plans.

The areas of activity or overall practical steps a project or organisation plans to accomplish its aims.

The changes, benefits, learning or other effects that result from the work the project does.

Products, services or facilities that an organisation provides for its users.

Performance indicators
These are qualitative or quantitative measures that demonstrate how well an organisation or project is performing. For example, outcome indicators are used to assess whether expected outcomes have occurred. Output indicators are used to assess whether outputs have been delivered. 

Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Organisations. A quality assurance system developed specifically for small and medium-sized voluntary and community organisations, or for projects within larger organisations. It provides a system to self assess and improve all aspects of an organisation's work.

 Pre-Qualification Questionnaire
Pre-Qualification questionnaire is a form completed by a potential supplier which is assessed by the purchaser.

Procurement is the acquisition of goods or services at the best possible cost, taking into consideration quantity and quality at the right time and place, generally via a contract.  It is obtaining best value for money.  This could involve using repeat purchasing or finding long term partners.  It can play an important part in the delivery of public services. 

A process is the step-by-step description or method of how a task or activity is to be done. Diagrams are generally used to illustrate the process.

Qualitative evaluation
An approach to evaluation or part of an evaluation that is primarily descriptive and interpretive.

 Quantitative evaluation
An evaluation approach involving the use and analysis of numerical data and measurement.

Safeguarding Children
The Government has defined the term safeguarding children as:
‘The process of protecting children from abuse or neglect, preventing impairment of their health and development, and ensuring they are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care that enables children to have optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully.’

Skillshare is an event where people come together to share their skills without asking for anything in return. Contribution is encouraged, but everyone is welcome even if they don't have a skill to share

Social Enterprises
Social enterprises are businesses whose main objectives are social and whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.   Profits are used principally to achieve their social aims such as job creation, training or the provision of local services. Increasingly social enterprises measure their social impact.The movement is diverse and includes cooperatives, credit unions, housing associations and community development trusts.

Social Exclusion
The potential outcome of a combination of linked problems such as unemployment, poor skills, low incomes, unfair discrimination, poor housing, high crime environments, bad health and family breakdown, leading to people or places being excluded from the outcomes and opportunities enjoyed by mainstream society.

A way of mobilising an organisation in its direction of travel, setting direction, analysing what the organisation needs to do, planning and implementing and evaluating the plan.

Tendering is the process of bidding for a contract

A member of a governing body

Umbrella Organisation
See Voluntary and Community Sector Infrastructure.

Voluntary and Community Sector Infrastructure
This is Voluntary and Community Sector Organisations whose primary purpose is the provision of infrastructure functions (support and development, co-ordination, representation and promotion) to frontline voluntary and community organisations.  They are sometimes called umbrella, second tier or intermediary organisations.

Voluntary Sector
Groups whose activities are carried out other than for profit but which are not public or local authorities.  These organisations would normally be formally constituted and employ paid professional and administrative staff.  They may or may not use voluntary help.