Funding news

Collaboration and skills are key to charities winning council contracts, says John Denham - 12 February 2010

Councils need collaboration and technical skills from voluntary sector, says Communites and Local Government Secretary.

Charities must collaborate and improve their technical skills to win more council contracts, according to John Denham, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Denham's comments came after he met voluntary and public sector leaders to discuss ways of increasing the involvement of charities in running community services on behalf of local authorities.

He said the third sector had unique skills that councils needed to harness, but charities needed to work together if they wanted their bids to be successful.

Denham discussed the planned expansion of the social impact bonds scheme, which provides returns for social investors based on the savings they help public services to make. Denham said he was also interested in establishing ‘community shares', which would allow local people to raise funds for or buy stakes in community services, such as shops and pubs.

There was concern from some small community groups about arranging themselves to suit government purposes, but also the admission that the trend towards collaboration was irreversible.

Denham’s well informed views and enthusiasm were also noted at the ‘‘incredibly positive’’ gathering in London.

The Communities and Local Government department also launched a new community enterprise strategic framework this week, setting out the Government's plans to support community enterprises. These include offering skills training and advice on setting up consortia for contract bids.

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