Public services news round up: March 2017

Welcome to a slightly-delayed March edition of the public services roundup. This month we look at the House of Lords select committee report on charities, devolution, the Social Value Act, localism and the budget. If you have any thoughts, questions or challenges then please leave a comment below or tweet us @NCVO or @paulwinyard .

House of Lords select committee on charities report

The House of Lords select committee on charities has concluded its inquiry and has published its report Stronger Charities for a Stronger Society. Commissioning and procurement features strongly, with peers concluding that the current commissioning landscape disadvantages small organisations. My blog analyses their recommendations and highlights how NCVO is helping to address some of the issues identified. My colleagues at NCVO have also summarised the committee’s recommendations on funding, charity regulation, governance, volunteering, campaigning and advocacy and impact.

Report on voluntary sector involvement in devolution

We have published a new report Local Needs, Local Voices: Building Devolution from the Ground Up which confirms that most charities are not contributing to the development or delivery of devolution plans in their area. My blog summarises the report’s key findings and our recommendations to central and local government about how charities can be more involved in devolution plans, and how the voluntary sector should be more proactive in forming partnerships and developing solutions.

Review of the Social Value Act

Minister for civil society, Rob Wilson MP, has announced there is to be another review of the Social Value Act. Precise details about the scope of the review are still emerging, but we understand it will involve working with leaders in social value to evaluate progress made since Lord Young’s Review in 2015 (which NCVO contributed to). In my blog about the review of the Social Care Act I set out the reforms we’d like to see the government put into place.

Commission on the future of localism

Locality has established a new commission on the future of localism to uncover what is needed to reinvigorate local democracy and empower communities. Chaired by Lord Kerslake, the commission will review the current opportunities of the localism agenda and what new powers, rights and levers for local communities might look like. Locality want to hear from organisations and individuals with an interest in localism, communities and neighbourhoods.

Spring budget 2017

In his first budget as chancellor, Phillip Hammond announced a further £2bn for social care over three years and a review of social care funding later this year. He also announced that additional capital funding would be made available in the autumn budget for the NHS sustainability and transformation plans. Michael, NCVO senior policy officer’s blog post sets out the other key budget announcements for the voluntary sector.

NAVCA health survey 2017

NAVCA has published its annual report on relations between the voluntary sector and the local health and care system. Overall, the report suggests relationships are improving. However, it also finds that the voluntary sector is being ‘frozen out’ of sustainability and transformation plans (STP).

Commissioning Academy

We’re looking for colleagues from our member organisations to take part in the ‘provider perspective day’ of the Commissioning Academy on Wednesday 7 June. The academy aims to support public service commissioners to build better relationships with providers. This is a valuable opportunity for NCVO members to influence a key audience – commissioners – with some of the sector’s key policy concerns. If you are interested in this opportunity, please email Paul Winyard.


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Paul joined NCVO over seven years ago after working for a leading public affairs agency. Since then he’s led our policy work on a variety of issues, including welfare-to-work reforms, volunteering, the Compact, public service commissioning and procurement regulations. He now leads our work on funding and finance with a particular focus on charity tax relief and safeguarding EU funding post-Brexit.

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