NCVO 'should have taken a back seat'

Tania Mason

The ICT Consortium's ability to engage with other groups was "undermined" by "the past history of some organisations... with the NCVO", according to Carrington.

"The level of mistrust about and antagonism towards the NCVO ex-pressed by some people involved with Citra, and by some other organisations with which the consortium tried to engage, was so intense and pervasive that it prevented some of them from ever accepting the reality of the consortium as a genuinely functioning and equal collaboration," he said.

Carrington admonished the consortium for not anticipating these reactions, adding that it should have insisted that the NCVO take a back seat, at least publicly.

"The efforts consortium members made to organise themselves as a genuine partnership do seem commendable, but external mistrust might have been reduced if a chair from an organisation other than the NCVO had been appointed to lead the exemplar project," he said.

He condemned the rigidity of the consortium's approach to appointing members, described by one organisation as "there's the process - take it or leave it", and said it should have been more alert to the possibility that the process might "need some adjustment in real life". Had the consortium been prepared to review its procedures early on, Carrington said, it might have improved people's perceptions of it.

He said that constructive dialogue was also undermined by the consortium's delay in promoting the hub to other relevant organisations, and its unwillingness to engage with Citra as a group - particularly as Citra was specifically referred to in the ACU grant condition.

Of all the parties involved, however, Carrington was least disparaging about the ICT Consortium. He said it "worked hard to develop and implement a transparent and open process for deciding who it could work with and applied that process, with some minor exceptions, fairly, consistently and assiduously".

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