Coalition involving think tank NPC says shift in thinking needed on service delivery

The NSPCC, Locality and Navca are also linked to the group, which calls for changes in the way the sector supports communities affected by 'a crisis in service delivery'

A group that involves charities, umbrella bodies and the think tank NPC has called for a rethink of how the sector supports communities affected by a "crisis in service delivery".

The coalition, which includes the NSPCC, Locality and NPC, released a statement to coincide with the Navca annual general meeting in Sheffield, identifying austerity and poor commissioning practices as two issues putting pressure on local places.

The group argues that "a broad shift in thinking" is needed to make sure the sector uses its influence more effectively to address problems arising in communities across the country. It adds that for too long "many social organisations have seen this place-making power as a by-product of their other work, if they have seen it at all".

Charities should focus more on developing and delivering services in collaboration with local people, councils and businesses, it says, and avoid simply "providing a service that is then offered" to a community without the input of local people.

As part of this call, the group has committed to a series of initiatives over the course of 2019, including sharing more data to inform and improve place-based work, disseminating existing plans as well as helping develop "new, locally developed tools," and thinking about the potential for reforming commissioning processes.

Chloe Darlington, the policy and campaigns manager at Children England, one of the charities signed up to the pledge, said that recent government policies had made such collaborations essential.

"Public service markets and top-down commissioning, combined with years of cuts, have failed communities and left local authorities at breaking point," Darlington told Third Sector.

"We’re therefore strongly supportive of this refreshed commitment to place-based collaboration across an even wider variety of organisations, which is more urgently needed than ever."

The other organisations behind the call are Save the Children, Business in the Community, Navca, the Peel Institute, Volunteering Matters, Community Links, 3SC, the ERSA, Islington Giving and 360Giving.

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