Funding news

Pre Budget Report good news for third sector – Wednesday 6 December 2006

Potentially good news came with this year’s pre-Budget Report as the Chancellor of the Exchequer highlighted aspects of the third sector review interim report, including three-year public service contracts becoming the norm.

In his Budget speech back in March, Gordon Brown announced that the Treasury would be undertaking a review of the future role of the third sector in social and economic regeneration. Since then, a wide ranging consultation has taken place with the sector, the interim results of which were published alongside the PBR.

In his speech, Gordon Brown said: “…we propose more stability in funding for third sector success, particularly for small, local organisations. I can announce that in the spending review the norm should not be one year funding but three year funding for third sector organisations.”

Commenting on this longer-term funding, Clare Tickell, NCH chief executive, said: “The government’s commitment to three-year funding for third sector organisations will go a long way to giving services the security and stability they need to deliver for some of the most vulnerable.

“But for the voluntary sector to reach the people who really need help, more changes are needed in the commissioning process. First, commissioners need to allow more room for creativity and innovation when organisations are pitching for services. Second, there needs to be a level playing field for voluntary organisations so they can receive the true cost of delivering a service.”

The Chancellor also said that government would be creating a £30 million fund to encourage local authorities and the third sector to work together to expand community ownership of community assets. In addition he said that an extra £6.5 million would be allocated within the Safer and Stronger Communities fund in Local Area Agreements, with a focus on building the capacity of local community groups and to help strengthen the voice of the local third sector.

The interim report itself, available on the Treasury’s website covers five main areas: voice and campaigning; communities; public services; social enterprise; and a healthy third sector.

Commenting on the report, Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO said: “The Third Sector Review’s interim report has highlighted the key long-term priorities to ensure that voluntary and community organisations can thrive.

“I hope that a wide range of voluntary and community organisations will now participate in the Third Sector Review’s next consultation phase. The sector has played an essential role in shaping the report so far,” he said.

The next stage of consultation, which will be undertaken online, is due to launch this month.