Finance: Futurebuilders to advise public sector on provision of services

Futurebuilders is to start telling public sector commissioners about the voluntary organisations best suited to deliver public services.

The Government-backed investment scheme will identify and recommend groups that can deliver services for local authorities and primary care trusts.

Public bodies will also be asked to refer to Futurebuilders voluntary organisations that have already unsuccessfully bid for contracts. Futurebuilders could then provide investment to make them 'contract-ready'.

Futurebuilders says it wants to develop dialogue with public sector commissioners to make them aware of "the excellent services on offer" from organisations such as the Liverpool-based Crossroads Caring for Carers. Richard Gutch, the scheme's chief executive, said: "We want to talk to commissioners about how we can help voluntary bodies deliver the best possible services for the public. With help from us, they are stronger and will be in a better position to enter into contracts."

Futurebuilders has produced a leaflet for public sector commissioners, which will be distributed to 400 local authorities when the Treasury's revised guidelines on funding the voluntary sector are published in May.

Copies will also be distributed by the Office of Government Commerce and with the magazine Government Opportunities.

Futurebuilders is working with the National Offender Management Service to develop the capacity of voluntary and community organisations so they are in a position to bid for contracts with Noms within 12 to 18 months.

"We want to get them to a state where they are contract-ready and can play a role in either reducing reoffending or cutting drug and alcohol dependency," said Vandna Gohil, learning and development manager at Futurebuilders.

A similar partnership is being run with Wakefield Social Services. Futurebuilders says it wants to extend the scheme to councils that sign up to the Treasury's Pathfinder scheme, announced in the pre-Budget report, which will fully showcase Compact-compliant authorities.

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