Book News: May 29th, 2008

This report to Ministers by the Futurebuilders Advisory Panel describes the progress made in making finance available to third sector organizations and recommends improvements to the way the Futurebuilders Fund operates.

The Futurebuilders Fund was set up to test the theory that if third sector organisations can access investment finance at reasonable cost, they can then compete for and win public service delivery contracts.

The Panel believes that the Futurebuilders Programme has been successful in demonstrating that third sector organisations can take on loan finance and that they have an appetite for loan finance at all levels.

The Panel welcomed the Office of the Third Sector taking a concerted lead across government at national, regional and local level in seeking improvements to the arrangements made for commissioning public services from the third sector. It also supports the focus on Key Performance Indicators which will be introduced in the next phase of the Futurebuilders Programme.

The plans for personalised budgets will open up opportunities for third sector organisations to be involved in providing public services. But there are concerns that the uncertainty of the income stream from such contracts may have an adverse impact on the ability of organisations to repay their loans.

The report is available from the Cabinet Office.