Charities delivering public services must not compromise independence, says Charity Commission

Charities’ independence must not be compromised through their delivery of public services, Charity Commission chair Suzi Leather said today.

A survey published by the regulator showed the extent of the sector’s reliance on the state and the problems charities face in receiving public funding.

Of those delivering public services with annual incomes of over £10m, two-thirds rely on public funding for 80 to 100 per cent of their income. Just a quarter of all charities polled felt free to make decisions without pressure to conform to funders’ wishes.

It found one-eighth of charities delivering public services say they recover the full costs of all services from public authorities.

The survey, produced for the commission by campaign group the Directory of Social Change, found over two-thirds of funding agreements for public service delivery were for one year only.

Leather said: “Charities can bring something unique to service delivery but their independence must not be compromised by short-termism or expediency – either by government or by charities themselves.”

Over 3,800 charities with annual incomes of over £500,000 that delivered services on behalf of public authorities were polled.

It will be formally launched at today’s National Council for Voluntary Organisations annual conference.

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