Government bodies could swamp community sector, LSPs fear

Voluntary and community schemes are in danger of being
“colonised” by the government if the links between them
become too close, a senior local service provider has warned,
writes Derren Hayes.

Leicester LSP Bernard Greaves told delegates at the Urban
Forum’s national LSP conference that an increasing amount of
micro-management from central government was threatening to divert
LSP’s away from tackling social inequalities in deprived

“Targets and the performance management framework are short
term but there is a political dividend in [councils] having them.
That is diverting our attention away from long-term

He said VCSs are being asked to sign up to a “centralist,
corporate approach” to the provision of public services,
which could undermine their independence.

“The more we rely on the public sector for funding the more
we are expected to sign up to these disciplines and making us less
able to speak with authority on behalf of the people we
represent,” Greaves added.

Meanwhile, some delegates complained that VCSs are struggling to
influence Local Strategic Partnerships because councils are
refusing to take a partnership approach.

Chris Brown of the Newcastle Community Empowerment Fund said the
council representatives dominated his LSP. They have blocked other
partners who want to put items on the agenda and have failed to
give enough time to discuss proposals, Brown added.

“The LSP is really the council and no one else is supposed to
bring issues to the table,” he said.

Paul Gallagher, co-ordinator for Newcastle LSP, said discussions
were planned to develop protocols for what should be on the
partnership’s agenda and that it was considering rotating its
chairmanship. However, he said there was a need for a better
balance of funding.

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