The 2015 Project: What’s the future for the voluntary sector and public services?

Katie Howe was part of NCVO’s Parliamentary and Media Team and has now left NCVO. Her posts have been archived here for reference.

We’re looking at public services as the third theme up for discussion in the 2015 Project. This is your chance to tell NCVO what your organisation’s key issues are and will help shape our election work with the political parties ahead of 7th May 2015.

Your input is vital for us to make sure we are representing the sector’s expertise and experience in all our talks with politicians, and champion our members in everything we do.

Public service delivery

The voluntary sector’s involvement in public service delivery has grown rapidly in recent years.

By being close to their users, charities often have a unique perspective on their needs and how to improve services. And some charities and voluntary sector organisations are able to fill gaps in public service delivery that the public or private sectors may not be able or willing to do so.

This increase in public service delivery by voluntary organisations has been due to a mixture of policy objectives to improve and diversify public service provision. And with public service and government budgets continuing to be squeezed, one can be fairly certain that this trend in the voluntary sector delivering public services will continue.

However, it would be foolish to assume that everything is rosy in the world of public sector commissioning, and clearly there are improvements to be made to help better our public services for all. This is where your ideas come in.

So what should the relationships between voluntary organisations and government look like? How could they be improved? And what role should the sector have in delivering public service contracts?

Make your voice heard

We want to hear your views and experiences on three important questions.

Snippets of what our members have said so far

“We have plenty of examples of shocking commissioning practice from LAs. We work with people who are socially excluded and wrap service packages around them to build new lives for homeless / ex-offenders / domestic abuse survivors / care leavers.”

“I would embed grant making opportunities as integral part of the commissioning process. Enabling more creative and engaging ways for the voluntary sector to actively participate in shaping services and delivery.”

“I would like to see charities joining forces and supporting each other in time of need.”

“One of the main problems with commissioners and politicians is their high levels of risk adverseness… until there is strong leadership around the need to invest now for future gains, then crisis responses (rather than early action) will continue to be the norm.”

Blogs from sector leaders

Open policy making is a huge opportunity for charities – Nicola Hughes, Senior Researcher, the Institute for Government.

Why wait for trouble? The case for early action – Will Horwitz, Policy & Media Coordinator at Community Links.

For any more information on the 2015 Project, and to see the other themes up for discussion, head over to the 2015 Project pages or contact us at – we’d love to hear from you!

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