Public sector officers responsible for implementing contracts and service-level agreements between charities and government are often confused about how the agreements work, delegates at the Institute of Fundraising Scotland annual conference have been told.
In a speech during the conference in Glasgow yesterday, consultant John Bonnar said it was little surprise that charities were often puzzled about the difference between a contract and an SLA, and about how they worked, because there was a lack of clarity from those who had put them in place.
Bonnar said that contracts and SLAs would become a more important source of income for charities than their other fundraising activities.
He said charities should take the lead in determining the nature of the agreements.
"If the Government isn't doing something it has pledged to do and your charity can carry that function out, you should approach the Government and offer to help meet its goals," he said.
Charities had become disempowered by the system of contracts and SLAs because they had failed to grasp the concept of it when it was first put in place, Bonnar said.
He also warned that pressure on costs meant fewer, larger contracts and SLAs would be set up to deliver public services, so charities would have to work together to fulfil the agreement.