Local infrastructure organisations to lose 19 per cent of income this year, poll finds

Findings of a Navca survey paint a worrying picture of the state of the sector, says Joe Irvin, its chief executive

Joe Irvin
Joe Irvin

Local infrastructure organisations are expected to see an average 19 per cent drop in their income over the next year, according to a report published by Navca today.

A survey carried out by the local infrastructure umbrella body among 90 of its 350 members in April and May showed that average income was expected to fall from £477,500 in 2011/12 to £385,000 in 2012/13.

A report produced about the findings, Funding Local Voluntary and Community Action, aims to highlight the effects of cuts to public sector spending on local support and development organisations. It looks at changes and sources of members’ income as well as how organisations are using their reserves and going about generating new income.

It says that 60 per cent of respondents reduced their staffing levels between 2011 and 2012, with a further 40 per cent planning make reductions before 2013.

The survey found that development worker posts were hit hardest, with 45 per cent of those surveyed saying they had cut at least one such post. Seven per cent of organisations opted to cut operating hours rather than make redundancies during the 2011/12 financial year, although 16 per cent said they had increased their staff numbers during the same period.

The report also found that 68 per cent of the organisations surveyed had their top tier local government funding reduced. Fifty-three per cent planned to use their reserves during 2012/13. The average amount of reserves expected to be used during the year was £23,500, the survey showed.

In addition to the survey, the report also features data gathered from nine regional surveys.

It says that in Nottingham, charities and voluntary sector organisations saw the highest levels of cuts in staff, with 52 per cent of organisations having to cut positions. In Birmingham, charities saw the greatest percentage in cuts to services, with 50 per cent of organisations based there claiming that they had had to lose services.

Joe Irvin, chief executive of Navca, said that the report’s findings painted a worrying picture of the state of the sector, but said there were also encouraging signs of resilience among many organisations, with some saying that restructuring had strengthened their organisation.

"We understand that local authorities have to make cuts and that it is often not their choice," he said. "What we are seeking is that these cuts are not disproportionate and that local authorities have a dialogue with local voluntary services as to how they do that.

"We want to work with local authorities to find ways to mitigate the worst effects and ensure fair solutions to allow services to continue rather than be cut."

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