Network will help on procurement

Francois Le Goff

The NCVO is to create a network of procurement specialists to advise charities on how to engage with public sector funders.

The network will aim to help charities understand the true costs of their work and boost their chances of winning contracts. It is a response to last week's National Audit Office report Working with the Third Sector, which found that most government funders were still failing to pay the full costs of charities that deliver services for them.

Procurement officers from NCVO member bodies will be invited to join the network on a voluntary basis. It is not envisaged that the network will require any specific funding, as it will be run as part of the NCVO's Sustainable Funding Project, which is supported by Futurebuilders.

At the same time, the Charity Commission issued a statement reminding charities to consider whether delivering public services is in the best interests of their beneficiaries. Rosie Chapman, director of policy and strategy, said: "Charities must not allow independence to be compromised when undertaking public services."

NACVS chief executive Kevin Curley said the switch away from local authority grant aid to contracting and procurement regimes meant local charities are losing work because bigger organisations are able to produce more impressive bids. "We need to know more about the impact of the contract culture on local service provision," he said.

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