Five groups back plan to strip hubs of commissioning role

A coalition of sector umbrella bodies wants Capacitybuilders to take over commissioning powers from the hubs.

Acevo, Bassac, Acre, the Community Development Finance Association and the Development Trusts Association have given their backing to consultant Jo Durning's controversial proposal to reduce the hubs to centres of excellence and centralise commissioning of national infrastructure programmes in Capacitybuilders.

The chief executives of all five have written to Chris Pond, chair of Capacitybuilders, urging him to accept the Durning plan, despite the fact that all five umbrella bodies are hub partners - Bassac is part of the Governance Hub and the others are members of the Finance Hub.

The submission argues that "the situation, in which each hub is commissioner, purchaser and provider, has exacerbated conflicts of interest and complicated the roles of the partners". It asserts that the diversion of resources to the hubs "represents a major inefficiency".

Steve Wyler, chief executive of the Development Trusts Association, said: "Everyone I've come across in the hubs is trying to do a professional job. That's not the problem; it's more about the structure. The hubs represent an unnecessary tier, and structures that are not necessary have a tendency to generate effort that could be better used in other ways."

The five umbrella bodies say the hubs should be retained as a "safe space" for national infrastructure bodies to discuss strategic priorities, as centres of excellence and to advise Capacitybuilders.

But their views are opposed by fellow umbrella bodies the NCVO and Navca. "The local voluntary sector expects local support and representation services to be improved and extended by the sector itself," said Kevin Curley, chief executive of Navca.

The Capacitybuilders board is due to make a final decision on the hubs on 22 November.

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