Almanac shows sector depends more on contracts

NCVO's annual publication reveals increase in earned income but fall in grants

Charities depend more on contracts and less on individual donations than ever before, according to the UK Civil Society Almanac 2009.

The almanac, published today by the NCVO, reveals that earned income, which consists primarily of money earned from contracts, contributed 51 per cent of civil society income in 2006/07, compared with 39 per cent in 2000/01. The NCVO defines civil society as including charities, housing associations, universities and co-operatives.

In contrast, voluntary income accounted for 41 per cent of income in 2006/07 – down from 50 per cent in 2000/01.

Charities received £7.8bn from statutory sector contracts in 2006/07, an increase of 9.8 per cent, but grant income fell to £4.2bn.

"The statutory sector has seen a strong, comparative shift from grant funding to contract funding over recent years," the almanac says.

It also shows that the civil society's rate of growth was slowing sharply even before the recession. Total income for 2006/07 increased by 3.3 per cent to £33.2bn; it had grown the previous year by 9.4 per cent.

However, the growth in the number of charities showed little sign of slowing. The total number of UK charities stood at more than 170,900, an increase of 6,810 organisations, and the voluntary sector employed 634,000 staff, 71 per cent of whom were female. One in 50 people in the UK workforce were employed in the sector.

The almanac, which costs £30 to NCVO members and £125 to non-members, will be launched at today's NCVO annual conference in London.

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