Efficiency bid could stifle charity input

The Local Government Association has warned that the increased
involvement of the voluntary and community sector in delivering
public services may be under threat by a government drive to cut

Phil Swann, director of strategy and communications, told a
conference in London this week that an efficiency review being
carried out by government could discourage councils from buying in
services from the voluntary sector.

“There is a real danger that the review team could be attracted to
the bulk buying of services which provide economy, but exclude
large chunks of the VCS, except the big players,” Swann said.

He added that local government was aware of the problems and that
recent guidance on local government procurement should help.

However, Sally Cooke, policy officer at the National Council for
Voluntary Organisations, criticised the sector’s lack of
involvement in the guidance. She told delegates that the NCVO had
only been allowed to contribute at the last minute and that the
section on the sector had been relegated to Annex D.

The voluntary sector has also criticised the children’s green paper
for failing to “make more than passing reference” to it, despite
government attempts to get the sector more involved in service

In a new report on children’s services by the National Council of
Voluntary Child Care Organisations, the council calls for a
voluntary and community sector co-ordinator to be placed in every
government office. It also recommends that the voluntary sector
work as a partner with councils and not as a “tool”.

– The Future of Children’s Services from 020 7833 3319.

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