Future for infrastructure bodies is secure for three years at most, says Capacitybuilders report

Survey finds organisations might not be able to become self-sustaining

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None of nine infrastructure organisations surveyed about their sustainability on behalf of non-departmental public body Capacitybuilders said their future was secure beyond three years.

The organisations, which were mainly councils for voluntary service, were questioned after last year's critical National Audit Office report Building The Capacity of the Third Sector, which said "insufficient thought" had been given to making the recipients of Capacitybuilders' funding sustainable.

But a Capacitybuilders report published last week, Sustainable Models of Support Services, suggests this might not be a realistic goal.

It says the nine organisations studied had made "significant progress" towards sustainability by initiating measures such as selling services and wider collaboration.

But it adds: "None could describe the future of their organisations or the services they provided as 100 per cent secured beyond a horizon of two or three years.

"With the operating environment for support services constantly changing, for example, with shifts in public policy, an uncertain economic environment and the needs of the third sector, the organisations we researched were constantly reassessing needs and opportunities in relation to their services.

"And in fact, none of the case studies could be described as fully ‘self-sustaining'. All depend to some extent on short-term funding through grants or contracts."

Matt Leach, chief executive of Capacitybuilders, which manages the £231m ChangeUp infrastructure programme on behalf of the Government, said: "The report provides important insight and learning at a time when support providers are having to respond to increasing demand for their services and ongoing financial pressures."

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