Sector 'ignoring mergers advice', says Lib Dem

Jenny Willott

Efforts by the Government and the Charity Commission to promote greater collaboration and mergers among third sector organisations appear to be falling on deaf ears, according to Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrats' Cabinet Office spokeswoman.

Willott was commenting on commission figures released in response to a parliamentary question last month.They showed the number of mergers remained static in the last 18 months.

Willott told Third Sector the figures were "bizarre" and indicated continuing resistance to collaboration among large parts of the sector.

"One of the biggest reasons seems to be a lack of knowledge about how to merge or collaborate successfully without compromising independence and flexibility," she said.

"The Government could do far more to promote the exchange of best practice between charities who have found successful ways to collaborate or merge and those who are considering it or who are struggling financially."

A commission spokeswoman said the figures Willott referred to were not an accurate estimate of the number of mergers.

But she agreed that more charities should collaborate. "Our latest survey found that just 9 per cent had considered it," she said.

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