Freeman Blog

Money, Money And More Money - But Where Has It Gone?

Posted by Mark Freeman
Mark Freeman
Mark Freeman & Associates was established by Mark Freeman to bring together a number of trusted associates who...
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on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 in Freeman Blog

I found the past week a very interesting one.  The government has now more or less confirmed that the charitable sector needs to increase its skill levels and performance if it wants to be at the table when future contracts are handed out.  Why do I find this particularly interesting?  Well let’s look at the past few years.

To start with, there was the funding provided by the Labour government under the auspices of ChangeUp, with a view to supporting the voluntary and community sector over a 10-year period.  This had £231 million thrown at it with the following results (as stated by the National Audit Office). “Sustainability is a central part of the vision for ChangeUp.  However, we found little evidence of consideration by support providers that they had put in place plans to ensure the sustainability of their services.”

Then there was the £100 million transition fund provided when the government slashed the various funding budgets to address the national budget deficit.

We saw the strategic grants from the Office for Civil Society being focused in on organisations that support the sector in their day to day activities such as ACEVO, NCVO, NACVA, Institute of Fundraising, etc.  A mere £8.2 million for the next three years - and this is likely to increase, as there have already been further approaches from the organisations involved.

Last October saw the deadline for Community & Voluntary Services to bid for funds to enable them to transform themselves by July 2013 - a total of £30 million to improve the ability of organisations to provide front line services?   With only nine months to go we should start to see great things from this money!

This autumn we see the government potentially moving to payment-by-results in response to some high profile evidence of poor service.

Perhaps the government could now cut to the chase and tell the sector exactly what it wants to see so that the funding taps can be turned back on.  Or at least tell the sector what it would do if it is proved that there are skills and leadership problems within the sector. 

The Office for Civil Society has now appointed Dame Mary Marsh to undertake a review of the sector’s leadership and skills.   Well I think that says it all!  We do indeed need to know where the sector is at and how it has dealt with the various crises in the past few years!

Or…and here’s a thought…perhaps the leaders of the sector themselves should be the ones to tell us how they’ve improved the sector over the last ten years – with all the funding that has passed through their hands over that time!

A third sector that is stronger and more able to adapt to change?  Perhaps not?  Either way I see the sector definitely having to step up its game and be able to justify its place at the table –  now more than ever.


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