Sheffield City Council halves its planned reduction to the city's voluntary sector budget

Lobbying from local charities might have influenced the decision, according to Susan White of Voluntary Action Sheffield

Sheffield Town Hall
Sheffield Town Hall

Sheffield City Council has reduced the level of planned cuts to its voluntary sector grants fund after lobbying from local charities.

The council had originally planned to reduce its £2.8m voluntary sector budget by 10 per cent in 2012/13, but will now reduce it by only 5 per cent.

Susan White, chief executive of Voluntary Action Sheffield, said that pressure from the Sheffield Third Sector Assembly, a city-wide organisation for voluntary organisations, might have influenced the council’s decision.

However, she said the council had already shown signs of changing its mind before pressure from the sector.

A spokesman for the council said: "The cabinet had a further review of the budget figures and agreed it wanted to minimise the impact on this important sector, despite having to make major budget cuts across the council again this year."

In nearby Derby, the city council confirmed last week that it would reduce its voluntary and community sector budget from £3m to £2.4m.

The £643,000 reduction includes savings of £260,000 that affect a group of 19 voluntary organisations, all of which were due to lose their funding in its entirety.

After lobbying from Community Action Derby, which represents voluntary groups in the city, the council started an equalities impact assessment of the withdrawal of funding from all 19 organisations.

CAD warned council representatives that they had not followed the Communities and Local Government department’s Best Value Statutory Guidance.

After the assessment, Derby City Council decided to continue funding one organisation at its former level and two more at reduced levels, and to end all funding for 15 others. Another organisation has still not had its funding settlement determined.

Matthew Allbones, deputy chief executive of CAD, said the best value guidance had proved effective.

"It’s actually had an impact and saved funding for some organisations," he said. "It has also provided a stay of execution for several others.

"They followed the process and gave due consideration."

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