Sector wins fewer contracts for higher value

Third sector organisations have won fewer public service delivery contracts during the last quarter, but the value of those contracts has increased, according to Futurebuilders England.

The figures show that sector organisations funded by Futurebuilders won 35 public service contracts worth more than £8.2m between 1 July and 30 September, compared with 44 public service contracts worth in excess of £7.7m between 1 April and 30 June. The total of 80 contracts won in the past six months exceeds the Government's target of 65 for the whole of 2008.

Gill Nunn, market development director at Futurebuilders, admitted she could not be 100 per cent sure that the success of Futurebuilders investees was reflected in the sector generally.

"However, our investees represent a good cross-section of the third sector, so we do think it is a fairly safe conclusion to draw," she said.

The loan fund's second quarterly review since the contract to run it was taken over by the Adventure Capital Fund earlier this year also showed Futurebuilders had exceeded the Government's targets for releasing funds in a timely manner. Nearly 86 per cent of offers made between 1 April and 30 September 2006 have already been given out. The Government's target was for 70 per cent of funds to be disbursed within two years of an offer being accepted.

Jonathan Lewis, chief executive of Futurebuilders England, said: "Despite all the doom and gloom about the current economic situation, it is clear that many organisations in the third sector are coping well and, in some instances, thriving. Now more than ever is the time for third sector organisations to consider alternative financing options, such as Futurebuilders."

Kevin Brennan, Minister for the Third Sector, said Futurebuilders' success was "a real validation" of its funding model, which combines grants with loans.

"The Government is working to raise awareness about how third sector organisations can work in partnership with public services to bring real change to people's lives," he said. "I will drive this culture change with even greater pace and open up new opportunities for the third sector."

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