London providers face funding shift

London councils are to move forward with a new funding model
that has raised concerns among voluntary and community social care

Members of the Association of London Government, which
distributes £28m a year to more than 400 groups, voted this
week to proceed with plans to replace the organisation’s
competitive bidding system with a commissioning model.

The mental health charity Revolving Doors warned, in a report
from the ALG on voluntary sector responses to the plans, that the
change would “create gaps” in services.

Organisations including homelessness charity Thamesreach Bondway
and the London Voluntary Service Council were also concerned
commissioning would favour larger organisations over smaller

Others argued that the approach would be “too prescriptive” and
undermine flexibility and innovation, while the Pan London
Providers Forum said commissioning would not address deficiencies
in the current system.

Nearly all the groups called for further consultation on how
commissioning would be implemented.

An ALG spokesperson said introducing commissioning would “cut
out bureaucracy” and save on “unnecessary costs” of grant-making
for voluntary sector groups.

He said the current open bidding system was “oversubscribed and
commissioning would act as a “filter”.

The ALG’s 2004 grant review report Funding for the Future
suggested that commissioning would lead to improved targeting of
needs and fairer distribution of funding.


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