At Spice we are passionate about how people and communities can change public services for the better. Our newly published report focuses on this very topic. The report Positive Change in Challenging Times: How Spice Time Credits are creating system change explains the social impact of Time Credits at the individual, organisational and community level and how these impacts can, over time, accumulate to shift relationships and transform systems.
The research used to inform the report was conducted by social impact evaluators Apteligen and found the following through surveying more than 1,000 volunteers and organisations using Spice Time Credits:
- More than 25,000 UK citizens have earned Time Credits
- approximately 450,000 Time Credits have been issued across England and Wales
- 1,200 organisations and services across the private, public and voluntary sectors are working with Spice to create tangible system change in many settings.
- 77 per cent said that Time Credits have had a positive impact on their lives
- 66 per cent said they know more about local support and services available to them
- 60 per cent feel healthier since earning Time Credits
- 30 per cent report needing to see the doctor less
- 58 per cent have said their level of social contact has increased as a result of Time Credits
The importance of models of working that naturally develop collaboration and co-production are important as services seek develop new models of prevention and self-care in communities and within services. Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta, who writes the Foreword for the report, notes the need for models like this to be expanded, particularly in public services, health and social care:
“Spice Time Credits are a window into a possible future… Models like Spice matter because they address head on what is perhaps the worst feature of the mainstream economy: that it treats as valueless people who obviously have use and value. At a macro scale that failure translates into millions left unemployed or underemployed. At a micro scale it means that many communities simultaneously have unmet needs and underused capacities. Many of our social ills have their roots in this kind of unnecessary uselessness, because people come to internalise the message the system’s implicit message that they have nothing valuable to offer.”
The report outlines how, as organisations begin to make use of the skills and assets of their members through implementing Time Credits, they are able to make better use of existing resources. This leads to a number of overall changes, including higher quality services, increased capacity and financial sustainability. This change leads to a positive feedback loop which helps to sustain the changes over time.
Our research also uncovered five fundamentals that underpin good collaboration, and which have enabled Spice to support and generate system change at scale:
- Working within the existing system: Spice Time Credits supports changes at multiple levels of existing systems, always in partnership and across the community, linking outcomes to local objectives.
- Valuing people and their time equally: Time Credits value everyone’s time equally, allowing people to engage in systems differently and providing a tool for professionals to engage communities.
- Facilitating partnership working across boundaries: Time Credits work across the private, public and voluntary sectors, creating new networks of collaboration and innovation.
- Engaging the many: Time Credits enable new and different people to engage within existing systems, facilitate the setup of new activities and groups by new voices, and create new ways to meet needs.
- Changing attitudes and building new skills: The practical act of giving out and taking in Time Credits as an organisation has a powerful effect on practitioners’ attitudes and behaviours as well as creating different expectations from communities driving further engagement and change.
To download the report and for further information on Spice Time Credits, head to http://justaddspice.org
David Russell, Head of Development and Policy
Founded in South Wales in 2009, Spice Time Credits is the biggest community currency in the UK. The programme swaps one hour’s volunteering in the community for a Time Credit for each hour given.
The credits can be spent on a range of community, cultural and leisure activities locally, as well as across the national network of organisations that are currently participating in the programme, such as St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, and the Wales Millennium Centre.