No strategic partnerships money allocated to equality groups

Voice4Change England will ask to see the equality impact assessment of the programme carried out by the Office for Civil Society

Office for Civil Society
Office for Civil Society

Voice4Change England is to write to the Office for Civil Society asking it to explain why it chose not to fund any equality groups as strategic partners.

Voice4Change, which represents black and minority ethnic third sector organisations, received £275,953 under the strategic partnership programme in 2009/10.

Three other equalities organisations also received a combined total of more than half a million pounds.

They were the Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisations, the Women’s Resource Centre and the Consortium of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgendered Voluntary and Community Organisations, which received £275,953, £196,993 and £94,556 respectively.

But not one equality organisation was among the nine chosen by the OCS today to share £8.2m over the next three years.

Elizabeth Balgobin, chair of Voice4Change, said it would write to the OCS asking to see a copy of the equality impact assessment that it conducted before making the decision.

Public bodies have a duty to conduct an assessment when making decisions that change or remove a policy, service or function.

"We need to see what the OCS’s assessment says about how mainstream organisations will deal with equalities issues," said Balgobin.

"Mainstream groups do work with equalities groups, but often their reach isn’t deep enough, which is why equalities groups exist."

Volunteering England, which received £500,000 from the fund, said it would "work with Voice4Change England on diversity within the volunteering movement, as well as developing our ongoing partnerships across the sector."

An OCS spokesman said an assessment had been carried out. "We have ensured that strategic partners are able to represent diverse communities," he said.

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