Regular readers of this blog will know that I flagged up very early a real concern over how the voluntary sector would survive the transition from the funding they receive now until the new structures like the Big Society Bank and new ways of commissioning are up and running. And the voluntary sector is crucial to the Big Society idea itself – absolutely vital.
I also flagged up how concerned I was about Haringey Council simply pass on cuts to those it regards as soft targets (like the voluntary sector) rather than radically reform the way it is run. At Whitehall in the Home Office, for example, we have sustained a huge overall cut – but taken 33% of it in administration in order to keep front line services as protected as possible. I hope Haringey Council applies that same rigour. On past track record I am not overly hopeful.
The Government has recognised that the sector is exposed during the transitional period leading up to the new opportunities and new ways for civil society organisations to offer public services – as public spending is reduced to cut the deficit.
The Spending Review there for includes a £100million Transition Fund for the sector. The fund will start this financial year and go into next. It will provide grant funding to voluntary and community organisations,m charities and social enterprises in England to give them the breathing space they need to enable them to manage the transition to a tighter funding environment and to take advantage of future opportunities presented by increased public service delivery.
Organisations can express an interest in receiving info on the fund now at firstname.lastname@example.org
The fund is for England only and eligibility criteria will be available shortly.