Over a third of voluntary and community sector organisations expect to issue redundancy notices to staff working on projects funded by the Children’s Fund over the coming months, as funding shifts from central government to local authorities.
The Children’s Fund will be pooled with other local authority funding to create a new area-based grant to improve outcomes for the whole community.
The government set up the Children’s Fund in November 2000 to identify, tackle and support disadvantaged children and young people who are at risk of social exclusion.
Shift to councils
But in July 2007, it decided to shift commissioning responsibility and funding, which will not be ring-fenced, over to local authorities from April.
In a survey published by umbrella organisation the National Council of Voluntary Child Care Organisations (NCVCCO) and Children and Young People Now magazine, more than half of service providers, who support disadvantaged children and young people, feared that funding through the Children’s Fund would end in March.
And 65% of managers expected services to be de-commissioned from March, in the survey of 104 Children’s Fund managers and voluntary and community sector organisations in England.
Joe Levenson, director of policy and communications at NCVCCO, said: “The continuing uncertainty faced by Children’s Fund projects could lead to many vulnerable children, young people and families going without vital services.
“Unless urgent action is taken by all local authorities, along with genuine engagement with the voluntary sector, innovative work will be jeopardised, valuable jobs lost and confidence in devolution and local accountability critically damaged.”