Consortium formed to bid for public sector contracts in south-east England

Organisers say it will allow charity, public and private sector groups to apply for government contracts

Stephen Bell, chief executive, Kent Children's Fund Network
Stephen Bell, chief executive, Kent Children's Fund Network

A consortium of voluntary, public and private sector organisations in the south-east of England is being set up to bid for public sector contracts.

The new organisation has so far attracted interest from more than 50 bodies in all three sectors, according to Stephen Bell, chief executive of Kent Children's Fund Network, one of those leading the proposal.

Bell said the economies of scale offered by a cooperative model would allow small charities to become involved in larger contracts in Kent, Sussex and Essex.

"Local councils are being asked to deliver services in new areas, thanks to the government's localism agenda," he said. "Often the people with expertise are small voluntary sector groups.

"But local authorities are moving away from small-scale spot purchase of services. In order to bid for larger services, small organisations need a larger infrastructure."

He said he expected some public and private sector organisations to support the consortium, but no firm arrangements had yet been set up.

"We now need seed funding," he said. "We're hoping to attract private investment, which might be match-funded by public sector sources."

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Kent Childrens Fund Network

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