Charities should be more willing to lobby councillors, says Kevin Curley

Voluntary sector leaders have to build local credibility, Navca chief executive tells Charity Finance Directors' Group conference

Navca chief executive Kevin Curley
Navca chief executive Kevin Curley

Charities are losing out on funding because they are too reluctant to lobby local councillors, Navca chief executive Kevin Curley told delegates at the Charity Finance Directors' Group's Northern Conference today.

Curley, whose organisation represents local infrastructure organisations, said charities cannot rely on the promised action by communities secretary Eric Pickles to take action against councils that have made "disproportionate" cuts to voluntary sector budgets.

"I find too often a reluctance on the part of voluntary sector leaders to engage with local councillors and build the credibility that is so essential for hard times," he said.

He said that, when lobbying fails, charities should use the law to defend themselves against cuts, particularly when proper consultations of equality impact assessments have not taken place.

Curley said that to maintain funding in a "radically different political environment", charities must also improve other skills, such as tendering for contracts.

"Navca has always argued that government, local authorities and the NHS should use grants to support local voluntary action wherever possible," he said. "However, if only contracts are on offer and are to be awarded competitively, we must all improve our tendering skills."

Charities should also test every service they provide to check whether they could charge at least some people for it, he said.

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