‘Tired methods must change’, says Lewis

Those who commission services are failing to affect the lives of people who are hard to reach and must look beyond “traditional” ways of working, care services minister Ivan Lewis said last week.

Lewis criticised commissioners for “going for the same tired old solutions” instead of ensuring flexibility and choice of services.

“The move towards individual budgets means that commissioning must change according to people’s needs,” he told a conference on the third sector.
Joyce Moseley, chief executive of charity Rainer, said government and council commissioners viewed the voluntary sector as “amateurish and cheap”, and called for
providers to be “respected”.

Ministers at the conference announced a series of measures for the third sector, including a new social enterprise unit and a review of community equipment provision.

Ed Miliband, minister for the third sector, pledged to make three-year contracts for voluntary organisations “the norm, not the exception”.

He also announced a 3m scheme to increase the involvement of community groups in children’s trusts.

The prime minister told the conference he wanted to “break down barriers” between the government and third sector and increase voluntary organisations’ involvement in public service delivery.

However, research from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations said there were “systematic failings” in the government’s approach.

See Ivan Lewis interview

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