In Worcestershire, one of the new unitary authorities that
starts in April, the impact of cuts on the voluntary sector is
already causing concern. The council has fallen foul of the new
standard spending assessment rules and is looking to save £10
million for the next year.
'Ten per cent is coming out of each of the main service
departments, except for education,' says director Peter Gilbert.
They have yet to decide how the cuts will fall, but talks are under
way with the voluntary sector, which stands to lose
'We are obviously going to try to protect those services that
are very much in line with our own services, like early
intervention and rehabilitation,' says Gilbert. 'It is probably
schemes that would be nice to do, rather than those which must be
done, that will be cut.'
Sally Ellison, a member of the Worcestershire Association of
Voluntary Organisations, says things are already very tight. 'For a
lot of organisations, we have had to work with, and support, the
That has meant supporting existing day centres by providing
transport, while other less immediately tangible benefits are
'Some of the advocacy groups are suffering,' says Ellison. 'It's
an area that the council is keen to support but it is more
difficult because it isn't direct service provision.'