How to: Understand Local Infrastructure Organisations (LIO)

In every urban and rural area in the North West, local infrastructure organisations (LIOs) work actively to ensure that local voluntary organisations and community groups get the support they need.

They provide their members with a range of services and development support, and are the voice of the local voluntary and community sector.

Local infrastructure organisations help the local voluntary and community sector (VCS) in a variety of ways. The essential functions of an LIO are:

  • Development
  • Support
  • Strategic Partnership work
  • Liaison
  • Representation


LIOs work with new groups to identify unmet needs and address these. The work of LIOs should help the VCS to be better informed about new needs and work with the VCS to better inform statutory services of changing needs.


LIOs work to ensure that existing groups are equipped to tailor their services to the changing needs of the community. Support should be provided around knowledge, skills and resources that the VCS need to support the local community.

Strategic Partnership work

LIOs promote the strategic involvement of the VCS in planning and policy making. LIOs make sure that the sector is represented and involved in local strategic partnerships, local area agreements and other influential planning groups, and actively work with representatives to ensure they keep on top of key local issues.

LIOs that might be able to help you include:

  • Your local CVS - what is this?
  • Your local voluntary action group
  • Your local volunteer centres
  • Your local youth service/associations

Other sources of support include:

  • Your local authority
  • The Lesbian and Gay Foundation

There are more LIOs that can help you. Your local CVS is the best place to start looking for information about this. You can find your local CVO by contacting the LGF on


LIOs should encourage local groups to share resources and to work collaboratively. This creates a more efficient way of working and helps to build a stronger local sector.

LIOs can provide local groups and organisations with a forum for networking, enabling them to share good practice and expertise to form partnerships which can bid for public service contracts.


LIOs act as a conduit, representing the diverse views of local groups and organisations to agencies such as the local authority and other public bodies.

They also promote two-way communication, so that the local sector is consulted on policy developments and can contribute to discussions and decision-making at a local level.

How to: Understand Understand Local Infrastructure Organisations
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For more information or to get support and advice contact the Rainbow Partnership.