Wednesday 26 June 2013

Spending Cuts again

So the Chancellor has spoken. More cuts. But importantly more cuts for the next 5 years whoever holds the reins of Government.

This Spending Review serves as a stark reminder that tough times are set to continue for the third sector and more importantly, for our beneficiaries. The additional £4 billion of welfare savings will impact beneficiaries and increase demand for our services at a time of restricted finances. The further 10% cuts to funding for the Department for Communities and Local Government, on top of 50% real-terms cuts since 2010, will have significant repercussions for sector income.

 So the Department for Communities and Local Government must enforce the Best Value Statutory Guidance ensure that councils do not seek to burden the voluntary sector with disproportionate cuts.

As it is clear that austerity will continue for the foreseeable future, it will be impossible to maintain adequate standards of services and support without accompanying reforms to public services to drive innovation and efficiency. You can't deliver the same level of service with less money unless you change the way you do it. The sector must challenge government to give it a greater role in service delivery, and use mechanisms such as the under-used Right to Challenge to make the sector’s case to commissioners.

I liked the statement’s emphasis on alleviating pressure on acute health services through investment in social care and better integration of NHS and social care services, as well as the £3.6 billion joint commissioning initiative between councils and the NHS. That's important, and excellent. Good for the DH in arguing their case on that. 

 We know our sector has a huge role to play in supporting service integration, through innovative and effective care and support interventions. I want to work closely with commissioners and other partners to support this aim. Ring us!

So for me the underlying message is; keep up the pressure for more open public services and more delivery through our sector. No good us bemoaning the cuts as both main parties have said they will stick with these plans. But the pressure on our sector's leaders continues. The next 5 years will continue the trend to fewer charities and for more mergers, consortia and alliances. But overall we may continue to grow as we become a major partner in public service delivery. So ACEVO will continue to lead the field in demanding service reform and change. And I’ll continue to bang on about it in my Blog!

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