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Organising and deciding

The more things change

We recently completed the third annual partnership review – this is what we found.

Since 2015 Local Trust have ran a yearly review so we can get a sense of how Big Local partnerships are doing. The responses we receive help us better understand how partnerships change, or remain the same over time.

Losing, keeping and gaining partnership members

We have learned that since 2015, there have been almost 3,000 unique partnership members. However, there’s never been more than about 2,000 people in partnerships in any given year. This is because people leave, remain and join partnerships.

In total:

  • 730 people have remained on partnerships over the last three years, appearing in all three of our partnership reviews
  • 1,314 have left partnerships
  • 1,232 have joined them over the last three years.

Total number of people in a partnership since 2015

While people come and go from partnerships, each individual partnership is different. Some have very little change in partnership members, while others having a more fluid model with many members over three years. On average, a partnership has had about 18 different people since 2015. This ranges from as many as 41 to as few as nine over three years.

Partnerships in 2017

Total number of partnership members dropped in 2017 by 323 from 2016. While this may seem to be a striking reduction in members, this is likely due to changes in the review process and in how we collected data, as opposed to a loss of partnership members.

Partnerships have remained relatively consistent in 2017 in terms of their size, age and ethnicity. However, there is a slight increase in the proportion of resident members, up 5% from 67% to 72%.

Increase in female participation and leadership

There is a slight upward trend in the number of females in partnerships and leadership roles. Female partnership members increased from 57% in 2016 to 59% in 2017. There was also an increase in the percentage of female partnership chairs in 2017, up from 43% to 49%. While there is an almost equal number of male and female chairs there is still a 10% gap between the proportion of female partnership members (59%) and female chairs (49%).


Overall, partnerships remained relatively stable in terms of their size and demographics. However, a summary of the three partnership reviews highlights that partnerships do change, with people regularly joining and leaving. It also shows how this movement of people varies by area with some having a very small and stable number of partnership members while others have larger and more fluid groups over the last three years. Neither approach is better or worse but reflects the unique nature of Big Local.

One noticeable change is the increased number of females as chairs in 2017. While the proportion has increased significantly there is still a gap between the proportion of females on partnerships to females as chairs.

Do you have any questions about this? Do you want to find out more about partnerships? If so, contact Jeremy Yung, Senior researcher at Local Trust at by e-mail or call 0203 588 0574.