Capacitybuilders goes ahead with merger of volunteering and workforce services

Capacitybuilders has rejected calls to introduce a specific ChangeUp national support service focusing on volunteering and made only minor changes to its proposals for the services to replace the current hubs.

The organisation’s board made a final decision this week to proceed with its proposals to slim down the number of services providing national support under the infrastructure programme from six to four from April 2008.

The board resisted calls from volunteering organisations that insisted volunteering levels would fall if a separate theme devoted to the area was not maintained (Third Sector Online, 25 June).

It decided instead to rename the proposed workforce theme ‘people and skills’, in a bid to show the importance of volunteering within that area.

Support for ICT, initially grouped under the performance theme, will move to the finance theme, which has been renamed finance and resources. The other two services, performance and voice, remain otherwise largely unchanged from the proposals set out last month.

Capacitybuilders has also extended the deadline for bids to run the services from September to 19 November, giving itself a shorter period in which to tie up contracts with the selected providers. It has indicated that it could extend the contracts of some of the existing hubs for two months to cover a handover period to the new support services.

It was criticised by its formal advisory body, the Infrastructure National Partnership, for what some called “ludicrously ambitious” plans with diminishing resources (Third Sector, 11 July).

Capacitybuilders has appointed board member Julia Kaufmann to lead a small team of staff and independent experts to run the tender process from start until making final recommendations to the board over the applications.

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