Voluntary sector criticises ‘socially inclusive’ grant aid requirement

Forcing community and voluntary groups to work across cultural
divides as a condition of grant aid is “potentially dangerous and
could reinforce segregation”, the National Association of Councils
for Voluntary Service has warned.

Reacting to an inquiry into social cohesion by the Office of the
Deputy Prime Minister select committee, NACVS chief executive Kevin
Curley said: “There is a potential danger in this type of approach.
Local authorities may use it as an excuse to withdraw

“Groups that are well-funded by their local authority take part in
city- or district-wide policies. If you turn back the clock, these
groups may retreat within themselves and that will perpetuate

The report, launched last week, was produced in response to the
2001 riots in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford.

Committee chair Andrew Bennett MP told Community Care: “It is not
an excuse for local authorities to cut grants, but they must make
sure when making grant allocations that they serve all

“Providing aid to a religious organisation is acceptable, but
providing grants for a separate luncheon club specifically for an
ethnic minority elderly group, for example, is not.”

The report adds that the Audit Commission should put social
cohesion on a par with performance in education and social services
in the comprehensive performance assessment process.

Translation services required for ethnic minority groups,
meanwhile, should be put on a “professional basis” and receive
targeted funding to avoid inadequate arrangements such as family
members translating in complex cases, it says.

The National Asylum Support Service also comes under fire, with the
report suggesting it must ensure contracts are only issued to
agencies where adequate support services are available.

Other recommendations include putting the youth service on a
statutory basis to stop constant budget cuts.

– Sixth Report on Social Cohesion from

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