Comprehensive spending review

Round-up of the news and reaction to the new Transition Fund and the £470m allocated to the sector

Danny Alexander and George Osborne
Danny Alexander and George Osborne

Although the comprehensive spending review will reduce public spending by 19 per cent over the next four years, it promises a bigger role for the voluntary and community sector.

"The reforms underpinning the spending review represent a significant increase in the opportunities and funding available to the voluntary and community sector in the medium and longer term," says the report, Spending Review 2010.

A key part of this will be the new £100m transition fund, which will run over the next two years in England only, and is intended to help the sector prepare for the opportunities, especially in the area of public service delivery.

Overall, the review says that the government will spend about £470m over the next four years to support capacitybuilding in the voluntary and community sector, including an endowment fund to assist local voluntary and community organisations and money to pilot the National Citizen Service.

Some of the opportunities for the sector will be in the area of criminal justice, the review says. Sentencing and rehabilitation will be reformed, and "this will include paying private and voluntary sector providers by results for delivering reductions in reoffending".

The review says that the government will consider setting the proportions of specific services that should be delivered by non-state providers, including voluntary groups.

"This approach will be explored in adult social care, early years, community health services, pathology services, youth services, court and tribunal services, and early interventions for the neediest families," it says.

Opportunities for the sector are also expected in the government's repeated pledge to introduce new rights for communities to run services and own assets, and for public service workers to form cooperatives.

Many councils are already fundamentally reviewing their roles and services, the review says, "including using greater personalisation and increasing delivery through the voluntary and community sector".

The review says the Big Society Bank "will bring in private sector funding in addition to receiving all funding available to England from dormant accounts".

And it pledges that the government will work with the financial sector, the voluntary sector and community groups to develop innovative equity investment opportunities in public services.

Cultural institutions, such as museums, will be allowed to be more flexible with how they use the money that they raise independently and will be able to establish trust arrangements that enable them to generate more funding from private sources, the review adds.

It concludes that the government will review ways to increase philanthropic giving, saying it will announce further details later this year.

- Read more stories about how the CSR will affect the third sector

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