Office for Civil Society asks councils to avoid 'easy option' of cutting the voluntary sector

It says charities for vulnerable people rely more on public funding

Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office

Charities working with people who are socially excluded, have mental health needs or have learning difficulties are most likely to be reliant on government funding, the Office for Civil Society has told local authorities and other government departments.

An OCS report published today, Exposure of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector to Cuts in Public Funding, will be sent to local councils and government departments to warn them not to cut funds to the voluntary sector first, as an easy option.

It says data from the National Survey of Charities and Social Enterprises, carried out by the Cabinet Office and the polling firm Ipsos Mori in 2008, showed that 33 per cent of charities working with socially excluded or vulnerable people reported public funding as their most important source of income, compared with 31 per cent of those working with people with mental health needs and 26 per cent of those helping people with learning difficulties.  

Charities working with victims of crime, homeless people and offenders and ex-offenders are also likely to report public funding as their most important source of income, the report says.

It says treating the voluntary sector as an easy target for cuts would "risk a disproportionate impact on the sector, threatening the services the sector provides for some of the most vulnerable in our communities, and potentially slowing progress towards the vision of a stronger civil society".

The report also asks councils and government departments to consider the availability to charities of other resources such as philanthropy, volunteering and support from local businesses before deciding to cut funding to them.

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