Protect statutory grants, says Navca

Navca is calling on the Government to make clear to local authorities that they should continue to provide grant funding to local voluntary and community groups.

In its latest report, Why grants are important for a healthy local VCS, the umbrella body calls on the Office of the Third Sector and the Department for Communities and Local Government to issue a joint statement.

“If it is not central government’s intention to see local authority grant funding cease, then these departments should issue a joint statement clarifying this and making clear that grant funding remains a viable and legitimate option in the local funding mix,” reads the report, which was funded by the Finance Hub and was published this week.

Among the factors that deter local government from giving “proper consideration to the purpose and the possibilities of grant funding”, according to the report, are the pressures of efficiency and local area agreement targets, the “heavy emphasis” on the role of the sector in public service delivery, and generic commissioning guidance that “takes no account of the possibilities of grant funding”. It says these add up to an “instrumentalist” view of the sector that “potentially undermines its broader role in the locality and society more widely”.

The report, which is based on interviews with Navca members and local authority personnel, also calls on umbrella bodies for community groups and local government to work together to come to an agreement about when grants are the most appropriate form of funding.

Navca chief executive Kevin Curley said the decline of grant funding was a real cause for concern and would hit smaller and newer organisations the hardest. “Without grant funding the valuable work of these organisations risks being lost,” he said

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