SCVO accuses councils of cutting budgets without consultation

Umbrella body voices concern about 'astonishing' cuts at City of Edinburgh Council

Councils are cutting voluntary sector budgets for 2009/10 without proper consultation, according to the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

The SCVO wrote to Scottish finance secretary John Swinney last week expressing its "deep concern" after the City of Edinburgh Council revealed plans to cut funding to voluntary groups without consultation.

It said it found the cuts "astonishing" and was concerned that they came to light through the local media rather than through the Edinburgh Compact, the city's public and voluntary sector partnership.

Peter McColl, policy officer at the SCVO, said it was worried that councils across Scotland were not following the right processes when making budget cuts, particularly regarding consultation.

A spokesman for local infrastructure organisation Navca said it was expecting a flurry of cuts to local voluntary sector budgets as councils finalised their 2009/10 budgets.

In England, Norfolk County Council last week announced it was cutting the children and young people's services it commissions from the voluntary sector from £2.4m to £1.4m.

Shelagh Hutson, cabinet member for children's services in Norfolk, said the cuts had been "brought about by the dire national financial climate and the increased costs of protecting the county's most vulnerable children".

She added: "We recognise that this will be a difficult time for these organisations, which like the private and public sector will have to look at more efficient ways of working in these tough economic times."

A council spokeswoman said the cuts were fully Compact-compliant.

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