Welsh Minister agrees to three-year funding

Clive Betts

Voluntary organisations in Wales have won the battle to be awarded statutory grants lasting three years.

Social Justice Minister Edwina Hart formally agreed last week to adopt a minimum three-year period for awards paid out by the National Assembly for Wales.

The Wales Council for Voluntary Action said it was very pleased with the decision to accept the recommendation of the independent commission that had set up to review the sector's relationship with all levels of government.

But the WCVA pointed out that in order to be really effective, the policy needed to trickle down to local government. It issued a statement saying: "We want the lead shown by the Assembly to be reflected at the local level - more voluntary and community organisations have a funding relationship with their local authority than with the Assembly."

Recommendations from the commission on funding were accepted almost wholesale.

In its report, the commission stated that one of its strongest messages was the demand for longer-term funding, and more core rather than project cash.

Without such security, the commission said that the voluntary sector's ability to deliver sustainable, quality services would be under "fundamental threat".

Hart agreed to three-year agreements - except for specifically short-term special projects, and rolling-programme projects. The only condition will be performance against agreed indicators and the periodic review of government policy priorities.

Core funding will be given to organisations where a strategic role is envisaged, or capacity-building is an objective. When this is not agreed, core funding will be built into the project cash.

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