Tessa Jowell, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, has criticised the Office for Civil Society’s decision to cut the budget for its strategic partners from £12.1m this year to a maximum of £7.5m from March 2011.
Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, sent a letter to the 42 strategic partners last week, saying that none would be given more than £500,000 a year or receive more than 25 per cent of its funding from the OCS. The letter also said the number of partners would be no more than 15.
In the financial year 2009/10, six charities received more than £500,000 and about 10 received more than 25 per cent of their funding from the OCS.
The programme is intended to foster co-operation between the sector and the government and to enable the organisations it funds to carry out policy work and act as advocates for the sector.
"There is a big and growing hole in the government’s big society narrative," Jowell said. "There is a difference between cheap words and the reality of this government’s actions. At the very moment that expectations are being raised, government action is damaging the ability of community organisations to deliver.
"With further spending cuts on the way, it is highly unlikely that civil society will become bigger over the coming months and years."
The strategic partners range from well-known umbrella organisations such as the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Volunteering England to smaller charities such as The Plunkett Foundation and Social Firms UK.
The OCS has released a list of the organisations that received strategic partner funding in 2009/10 and the amount of money they received from government as part of the initiative.
Strategic partners 2009/10
- Plunkett Foundation £65,000
- School for Social Entrepreneurs £74,000
- Third Sector European Network £84,313
- Social Enterprise London £90,000
- Church Urban Fund £90,538
- Charity Trustee Networks £94,556
- Consortium of LGB&T VCOs £94,556
- British Youth Council £94,600
- Urban Forum £96,132
- Co-operatives UK £103,000
- Foyer Federation £118,195
- Community Action Network £123,711
- Social Firms UK £124,000
- Association of Charitable Foundations £126,000
- Development Trusts Association £145,624
- Charities Evaluation Services £154,812
- Bassac £155,006
- Youth Action Network £157,600
- Women's Resource Centre £196,993
- Citizenship Foundation £210,100
- Community Foundation Network £210,100
- Acevo £210,125
- Action with Communities in Rural England £210,125
- National Council for Voluntary Youth Services £242,143
- Community Development Exchange £252,602
- Community Matters £261,603
- Institute of Fundraising £269,300
- Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisations £275,953
- East of England Black and Minority Ethnic Network (Menter) £275,953
- The National Youth Agency £323,100
- BTCV £331,200
- Navca £424,753
- Youthnet UK £484,600
- TimeBank £525,300
- Social Enterprise Coalition £534,000
- Mentoring and Befriending Foundation £1,050,600
- NCVO £1,090,260
- CSV £1,103,800
- Volunteering England £1,655,700