Ombudsman to help voluntary sector keep eye on bad practice

An independent ombudsman to “name and shame”
organisations guilty of bad practice in the way they contract with
the voluntary sector should be established by the government, a
report published this week recommends, writes Sally

It is one of a number of key proposals to come out of a
year-long study by the New Philanthropy Capital and published by
the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations into
government-funding of the voluntary sector.

Acevo chief executive Stephen Bubb welcomed the call, arguing
that delivering public services would give charities a great
opportunity to improve people’s lives but that they could not
be run on “hand-to-mouth funding”.

The recommendation, alongside ones to set up an accreditation
body to kitemark funders and a penalty scheme for those who fail to
comply with a funding framework, should be implemented by 2006.

To achieve a kitemark, funders would have to abide by a numbers
of principles including giving multi-year contracts and allowing an
appropriate timescale for service development.

New funding models are also proposed within the report,
including “year-zero grants”, which would give
organisations time and money to become established before being
expected to deliver services.

Head of the National Consumer Council Ed Mayo said: “The
research has uncovered an archaic, deeply inefficient array of
funding models, based on a spare change mentality that stifles more
effective action and leads to debilitating insecurity.”

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