Tuesday 1 December 2009

Making cuts work better!

We all know spending cuts are inevitable. How they are implemented and pan out on the ground for third sector bodies large and small is clearly of major concern.

So ACEVO, together with 260 third sector leaders have written to the Chancellor offering to help implelment smart cuts.

We know that old fashioned salami slicing would be disastrous for society. We know that in the past we have been seen as an easy target to cut with many local and community groups still bearing the scars of ill thought out cuts from previous recessions.

Yet we also know that in so many areas of public serices we can provide more cost effective services more closely aligned to citizens needs. It is the "more for less" offer no government ought to be turning down.

When we know the majority of offenders leaving prison will be back there in 2 years why on earth are we not redirecting resources from prison incaceration into rehabilitation? Why do so many of our citizens end their lives in a hospital bed when they want to be in a hospice or cared for at home with third sector nursing support? And hospital care is actually more expensive!

So our offer to government is involve us in discussions on cuts. We want a high level summit to work out how we can become involved in the discussions both within Treasury and then in the major spending departments.

It is an offer no sensible government should refuse.

The letter in full says..

Dear Chancellor,

As chief executives of charities, housing associations, community organisations and social
enterprises across the UK, we work with individuals and communities in great need. Many of our service users are being severely impacted by the recession but are highly disempowered so have been largely absent from the current debates on shaping public spending. It is to rectify that absence that we are writing to you.

We know it is Government’s responsibility to reduce the public deficit when the time is right and we want to be a constructive partner when that moment comes. We urge that in response to the pressures on public spending you work in partnership with our sector to carry out far-reaching reforms of our public services, rather than just top-slicing budgets of existing services, agencies and systems which led to social catastrophe for parts of our country in previous recessions.

Too many of the people we work with have already been let down by public services. Now is the
time to work with us in reforming the system, enabling fewer resources to do more and effect lasting change and sustainable savings to the Exchequer.

From the smallest community organisations to the largest multinational charities, third sector
organisations are able to deliver significant savings and higher success rates through detailed
local knowledge, building social capital and providing holistic, personalised services. Examples of how the third sector already works with Government to produce successful outcomes are listed below.

· Many third sector organisations provide tailored, trusted support to help people into work,
creating up to £160 worth of value for every £100 invested. However, just as many third
sector organisations struggle to engage meaningfully with the State. Reforms to the
commissioning of welfare to work programmes could allow more third sector
organisations to help the unemployed and save the public purse money.

· There are countless third sector organisations keeping people physically and mentally fit
or caring for older people or those with long term conditions. These programmes save the
NHS billions by reducing the incidence of more expensive treatment costs further down
the line. However, many organisations struggle to extend their programmes as the NHS
continues to prioritise spending on acute care rather than prevention. Reform to the
commissioning of health services could save the Government billions by helping the third
sector keep more people out of hospital.

· Third sector organisations also save public money by reducing re-offending through
programmes such as peer mentoring from ex-offenders, post-release support and help
re-integrating into society. Extending such schemes already in existence could shave
billions off the cost of re-offending to Government.

· There are numerous third sector organisations playing a leading role in protecting the
environment. From recycling, to conservation, to creating green jobs and investing in
renewable energy generation, the third sector has enormous impact and can generate up
to £10 of value for every £1 invested. However, for every example of success there
remains potential unrealised: with better commissioning from Government, more third
sector organisations could have a stronger environmental impact whilst simultaneously
accruing long-term savings for the public purse.

· Many third sector organisations are working to help realise the potential of our children
and young people by addressing issues such as crime, mental ill health, family
breakdown, domestic abuse, disability, substance abuse and obesity which would cost
the State trillions. But many of these organisations are not able to deliver their services
as efficiently or widely as they could due to short sighted commissioning. With suitably
targeted public funding in the sector’s personalised children’s services, we could save
hundreds of billions over the coming years and realise the potential of future generations.

These examples are not exhaustive and we are convinced that Government could work more
effectively with our sector across many further service areas. We stand ready for this challenge. In recent years we have achieved this in targeted ways by working alongside your colleagues in government departments. We now wish to bring this experience to the Treasury to help you make savings across Government. We can work effectively at local, regional, and national scales to bring different levels of analysis and information to bear in the fight for efficiency and sustainable savings.

We propose a high level summit with you and your senior officials to discuss these issues in more depth, look at how we can work closer together and help each other through this challenging phase. If you are interested in such an event, please contact Stephen Bubb, CEO of ACEVO (Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations), on stephen.bubb@acevo.org.uk or 0845 345 8496 to arrange a suitable date.

If we can work through this period of fiscal restraint astutely and in cooperation, we believe it
need not reverse the progress we have made as a society over the past decade and could, in
many cases, be the catalyst for much greater achievement in the future.

Yours sincerely

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Where can I find a list of those who signed onto the letter?

(More than 250 voluntary sector leaders have today written to Chancellor Alistair Darling proposing a summit to discuss how the Government and the sector can work in partnership "to carry out far-reaching reforms of public services".)