The Scottish government has been urged by the SCVO and a group of other charities to spend more on voluntary sector programmes that prevent social problems in order to reduce long-term expenditure.
The SCVO, the umbrella body for Scottish charities, said 27 voluntary organisations responded to a consultation by the Scottish Parliament finance committee, which closed last week.
The consultation is part of a finance committee inquiry into how the government can spend money to prevent problems, rather than solve them once they have occurred.
Third sector organisations argued that they would be able to make many low-cost interventions that would reduce long-term expenditure on measures to combat ill health, addiction, unemployment, and crime, the SCVO said.
"If we are to meet the needs of an ageing population, higher unemployment and increasing inequality during the age of austerity, then we will need to radically change public services to focus on prevention," said Ruchir Shah, policy manager at the SCVO, in the umbrella body’s own response to the consultation.
"The good news is that we do not need to start from scratch. There are already incredibly effective preventative services delivered by a host of voluntary organisations, often in partnership with public and private sectors.
"We need to recognise and identify these services, to learn from, replicate and scale up what works."