Charities debate role in social policy provision at conference

The difficulties in funding core costs, growing regulation by
the Charity Commission and the potential dangers for the sector in
becoming too closely associated with government initiatives were
all at the top of the agenda at the annual Charityfair conference
last week.

The event, which attracted around 8,000 visitors, came at a time
when the voluntary sector is increasingly involved in delivering
government social policy. In January of this year the government
unveiled a £300 million boost for the voluntary sector.

But some leading charity representatives said it was important
that voluntary organisations maintained their independence.

Mike Eastwood, director of the Directory of Social Change which
organised the conference, said charities that deliver services must
ensure they were not regarded as arms of central or local

But when it comes to charities’ influence on government John
Rafferty, chief executive of the TimeBank volunteering initiative,
argued that the sector’s influence on volunteering policy had been
weakened by the lack of a unified voice for competing volunteering

The Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisation
(Acevo) highlighted the problems facing many organisations in
finding funding for core costs, given that a growing number of
funders prefer to fund projects only.

Acevo chief executive Stephen Bubb called on charities to demand
“full project funding”, which would include associated core costs
when bidding for contracts with the statutory sector.

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