The National Council for Voluntary Organisations is concerned that councils are making life unnecessarily difficult for voluntary organizations in the way they are managing funding for the delivery of public services. A report from Compact Advocacy, which helps individual voluntary organisations who feel that Government has breached the Compact between Government and the voluntary sector, sets out the main problem areas.The Government has recognised the legitimacy of the inclusion of overheads in grant applications and contract bids but local authorities and some other funders are not following this line on funding overhead costs. Another irritant is the demand for large volumes of information for relatively small sums of cash. This problem is most acute when local authorities are passing on funding from central government. There is also concern about partnerships which are an increasing source of funding. Issues about accountability and the legal status of partnerships are difficult to resolve. This can lead to uncertainty about whether partnerships are corporate bodies or simply agreements to work together on particular issues.
The report is also critical of central departments:” New initiatives have been coming thick and fast. They may make a name for those behind them but they can be rushed and poorly planned, causing major problems for those on the receiving end”.
In a move to stimulate the involvement of the voluntary sector in delivering public services, the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations has called for the Government to introduce Private Finance Initiative style funding for voluntary organisations. ACEVO Chief Executive, Stephen Bubb says this is needed so that the voluntary sector can work better with Government to provide services. He added: ” A PFI equivalent needs to be found for the voluntary sector to run services so that it can compete on the same terms as the private sector. We want long-term, 25-year contracts, not short term year on year renegotiating”.