Local organisations are unhappy with ChangeUp, survey reveals

Almost two-thirds of small infrastructure organisations are unhappy with the ChangeUp programme at grass-roots level, according to a survey.

A poll of 117 chief officers of local organisations, carried out by umbrella body Navca, reveals that 61 per cent are not satisfied with the way Capacitybuilders has handled the programme at local and regional level.

The survey, which will be published today at Navca's chief officers conference in Buxton, also reveals concern among grass-roots organisations about local grant funding and scepticism about the Compact.

Slightly more than 60 per cent of respondents said they expected their local authorities to continue to run budgets for grants beyond 2008/09.

Forty per cent said the Compact, the agreement between government and the voluntary sector on how they relate to each other, was not a useful tool in managing relationships with local public bodies.

Kevin Curley, chief executive of Navca, said that the question about Capacitybuilders brought some of the most vitriolic comments he had ever heard.

"A lot of it was to do with the processes," he said. "People complained about disproportionate levels of management of local consortia by Capacitybuilders.They see the organisation as rather frantic and not very well organised or strategic."

Of the high proportion of organisations that answered 'no' to the question of whether they found the Compact useful in dealing with public bodies, Curley said that many were concerned about its lack of statutory backing.

"People are saying that they do not think it is useful because their local authority can choose to ignore it if it wants to," said Curley.

"It is the lack of any kind of statutory powers around the Compact that people are saying 'no' to. They are not saying they do not want to have a properly structured agreement with their public body."

Catherine Johnstone, acting chief executive of Capacitybuilders, said she would be meeting stakeholders across England to address the concerns.

"Surveys such as this are incredibly helpful at this time in setting out what stakeholders value about our role and where we could do better," she said.

Other key points

40 per cent of respondents said they were unhappy with the level of third sector involvement in developing local area agreements

11.5 per cent said they were aware of collaboration between national and local charities to bid for public service delivery contracts

43 per cent said they faced no competition for funding from other local infrastructure organisations in their areas.

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