Voluntary sector lacks “financial realism”

The voluntary sector suffers from a perception that it is
unaccountable and lacking in “financial realism”, delegates at
Community Care Live Scotland were told this week,
writes Ruth Winchester in Edinburgh.

Sandy Cameron, executive director of social work resources for
South Lanarkshire Council, told the conference that Scotland had a
strong tradition of valuing the contribution made by voluntary

But he said the sector needed to address criticisms that it can
be financially naive, unaccountable and resistant to scrutiny.

Cameron described local residential schools demanding fee
increases of up to 52 per cent over a three year period and said
“When every penny, and more, of my budget is already spent, its not
as simple as a voluntary provider saying “we provide a service and
you need to pay this much for it. It has to be open to debate and
discussion. There must be some sort of financial realism”.

And he called for voluntary organisations to accept that
scrutiny was an inevitable fact of life.  “Every six weeks or so I
am open to challenge and questions from elected members. It doesn’t
always work as rigorously as it might, but the facility is there.
But there is an issue with the voluntary sector in terms of
accountability and openness”.

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