COUNCILS AND THIRD SECTOR GET CASH FOR INNOVATION
HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office are encouraging local authorities and the third sector to jointly develop innovative approaches to service delivery. The encouragement takes the form of a 13.5 million pound budget to support partnership projects. The motivation for this spend is the belief that the third sector, through its flexibility and the richness of its diversity, is sometimes better placed than the public or private sectors in reaching certain groups within society. Consequently, partnerships between public, private and third sectors are seen as key to improving service delivery.
The Invest to Save Budget, which is funding the initiative, encourages new and joined-up ways of working by providing ‘seed corn’ funding for pilot projects that develop innovative approaches to service delivery, bringing together local authorities and third sector organisations in partnership to deliver more efficient and effective public services that are responsive to the needs of local people. The current round of spending will focus on developing the third sector’s role in service delivery and building fairer communities with projects that deliver cash releasing efficiencies. Funds will also be available for projects that are aligned with the delivery of Local Area Agreements and Community Strategies.
The Invest to Save Budget is used as a catalyst for projects which have a risk factor and are pioneering, making things happen and producing better quality public services. It also provides the initial financial backing to projects that demonstrate the capacity to achieve sustainability. Through the budget it is hoped that new alliances will be forged, partnerships created and innovation promoted by sharing risks involved in new types of delivery so that the public can get the benefit of a more integrated package of services.
The Budget is operated by a unit within HM Treasury which publicises what it is seeking to achieve and which runs a programme to disseminate learning from projects.
The deadline for submitting bids is 27 October 2006.