Public services news round-up: September 2016

Welcome to September’s public services news round up. We’ve got a great edition this month with some brilliant free consortia resources, an opportunity to shadow civil servants, entertaining procurement guidance (yes, really) and more. If you have any thoughts, questions or challenges then please leave a comment below or tweet us @NCVO @NJ_Davies.

Step-by-step guide to consortium development

This free ten-stage process will take you through all the various stages that will enable a consortium to be successful, including seed funding, getting support of commissioners and other stakeholders, recruiting and vetting members, and establishing the governance structure.

We’ve also today published a report on consortia. Voluntary sector consortia: stronger together? looks at the operating environment for voluntary sector consortia, identifies the key factors in their success and makes recommendations to enable their sustainability.

A Day in the Life

Applications are now open for the 2016/17 ‘A Day in the Life’ work shadowing programme. It’s a unique opportunity for staff in the voluntary sector and government to step into each other’s shoes for a day and learn how the other side works. This year charity staff can choose to spend a day in:

  • Department for Communities and Local Government
  • Department for Education
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • Home Office
  • National Audit Office

The deadline for applications is 16 October. It’s free to take part so apply now.

Transforming Rehabilitation

The Public Accounts Committee has published a report on the Transforming Rehabilitation programme. The committee highlights many of the concerns raised by NCVO, Clinks and TSRC in our most recent analysis of the role of charities in probation services. In particular, it says that the ‘full potential of the third sector is not being realised’ and that smaller providers risk being squeezed out.

We strongly endorse the committee’s recommendation that MOJ and NOMS assess the sector’s relationship with probation services and take steps to ensure a diverse market of suppliers. Otherwise, as with the Work Programme and countless other public services, the danger is that the expertise and capacity of smaller, specialist organisations, particularly in supporting those with the most complex needs, will be lost.

Dr Rob Macmillan from TSRC has blogged his thoughts on the report.

Art of the possible in procurement

Bates Wells Braithwaite, HCT Group and E3M have published a fantastic new guide for public bodies on how to make the most of the Public Contract Regulations 2015. It highlights the flexibility of the regulations for commissioners, how to unlock them and some of the practical things that can be achieved within the scope of the law. It’s straightforward, accessible and even entertaining. A must read for anyone involved in public service delivery.

Principles for devolution

Earlier this month I attended a fascinating event with 30 other voluntary sector representatives to discuss devolution and the voluntary sector’s role in it. Together we developed 16 principles which should underpin devolution, focusing on voice and advocacy, finance and public services.

Keep an eye out for a report that we will shortly be publishing on devolution. This will be based on the responses of more than 250 individuals that took part in our devolution survey. Thanks to everyone who took the time to have their say.

Reflections on the Commissioning Academy

Finally, Lev Pedro blogs on our experience of delivering a ‘provider perspective day’ to public service commissioners.

 

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Nick Davies Nick was NCVO's public services manager until March 2017. He is also a trustee of the South London Relief in Sickness Fund.

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