London providers face funding shift

    London councils are to move forward with a new funding model
    that has raised concerns among voluntary and community social care
    organisations.

    Members of the Association of London Government, which
    distributes £28m a year to more than 400 groups, voted this
    week to proceed with plans to replace the organisation’s
    competitive bidding system with a commissioning model.

    The mental health charity Revolving Doors warned, in a report
    from the ALG on voluntary sector responses to the plans, that the
    change would “create gaps” in services.

    Organisations including homelessness charity Thamesreach Bondway
    and the London Voluntary Service Council were also concerned
    commissioning would favour larger organisations over smaller
    groups.

    Others argued that the approach would be “too prescriptive” and
    undermine flexibility and innovation, while the Pan London
    Providers Forum said commissioning would not address deficiencies
    in the current system.

    Nearly all the groups called for further consultation on how
    commissioning would be implemented.

    An ALG spokesperson said introducing commissioning would “cut
    out bureaucracy” and save on “unnecessary costs” of grant-making
    for voluntary sector groups.

    He said the current open bidding system was “oversubscribed and
    commissioning would act as a “filter”.

    The ALG’s 2004 grant review report Funding for the Future
    suggested that commissioning would lead to improved targeting of
    needs and fairer distribution of funding.

     

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