Small local charities 'in danger of being overlooked'

Local authorities risk killing off innovative third sector organisations if they do not change their attitudes to working with smaller voluntary groups, according to a voluntary sector support group.

According to the Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisations, the Government is committed to allowing the voluntary sector to take a bigger role in public service delivery, but “there is a danger that the very organisations best placed to support hard-to-reach communities could be left on the sidelines”.

Alex Whinnom, director of the GMCVO, said the Government’s model of a partnership approach, in which contracts are let to large organisations that then subcontract to smaller local organisations, was “at its best restrictive and at its worst crushing the very added value that it sets out to achieve”.

If the consequence of the policy to work with the sector was rationalisation that overlooked the work of smaller, innovative organisations, he said, the Government would “not be engaging the talents and relationships of innovative projects but will be at risk of killing them off”.

Whinnom said that because smaller local voluntary organisations were not contract-ready, the Government needed to spend money in order to adequately prepare them.

He said: “This means investment in scoping the sector and relationship building with a potential provider group, in capacity building to enable the selected group to meet the requirements of the procuring agency, and in the development of sustainable models and systems that allow ongoing delivery.”

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