ChangeUp and Futurebuilders condemned as wasteful

National Audit Office report says capacity-building programmes were badly planned and failed to set targets

Government attempts to build the capacity of the third sector since 2003 have been strongly criticised by the National Audit Office.

The NAO, which scrutinises public spending, published its much-delayed report Building the Capacity of the Third Sector today.

The report describes the process of establishing ChangeUp and Futurebuilders, two Cabinet Office programmes costing £446m in total, as "wasteful" and badly planned.

It outlines a catalogue of errors, such as failing to set targets and giving little thought to sustainability.

In the case of ChangeUp, it says it is not yet possible to establish whether it has provided good value for money.

Of Futurebuilders, it says that the long-term nature of its investments mean it will be some time before value for money can be demonstrated.

The report also says the programmes have been of "some benefit" and have created stronger partnerships among organisations that support front-line third sector bodies.

ChangeUp and Futurebuilders were established in 2003 and 2004 respectively to address the finding of a Treasury report that the sector's ability to deliver public services was constrained by a lack of capacity.

The non-departmental public body Capacitybuilders has been responsible for managing ChangeUp since 2006.

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