Public services news round-up: November 2017

Despite the short gap between this and our belated October round up, this month’s update is full of big announcements.

Autumn Budget 2017

While the first major fiscal event since the general election didn’t do much to address charities directly, there was plenty in its announcements that will affect the voluntary sector – read Paul’s summary for a comprehensive round up. In terms of the future of public services, the Chancellor also confirmed an imminent green paper on mental health provision, and while social care was notably absent from the budget, a green paper on it is due next summer.

Also released around the budget was the Barber report on improving value in public spending and the government’s Industrial Strategy, both of which we’ll be looking at in future blogs.

Getting involved – a new report on civic participation

Today we’ve launched our publication Getting Involved: How people make a difference (PDF, 3.4MB), part of our Almanac series of publications that aim to improve understanding of civil society and inform current debates. Drawing on data from a wide range of sources and full of the latest statistics, this new publication looks at who gets involved, how and where people get involved, and whether participation has changed over time. Have a read of Lisa’s launch blog post or Karl Wilding’s take.

SEUK Social Value Report

Chris White, the author of the Social Value Act, has written a report on the Act’s effect on public sector spending, making several recommendations on how its use could be improved.

Updated guidance on delivering public services

Lev Pedro has been hard at work updating our great Knowhow Nonprofit pages on delivering public services – if you’re interested in any of the practical aspects of public services commissioning and procurement, it’s a comprehensive resource.

Working with public service commissioners – a quick guide for the arts and cultural sector

We’ve just launched a guide for arts and cultural organisations which are interested in engaging with public service commissioners (PDF, 2MB). The report documents the learning from the Cultural Commissioning Programme’s (CCP) work with five locality projects. CCP provided in-depth support to five groups of arts and cultural organisations, helping them develop knowledge, skills and capacity. The five groups, selected through an open application process which required them to show commitment to collaborative working to increase their engagement in commissioning, are based in Birmingham, Derby, Manchester, Torbay and York.  They involve a diversity of participants, including individual artists, small arts organisations, museums, libraries and other cultural organisations of regional, national and international significance. Published as part of CCP, the report complements The Art of the Possible report (PDF, 2.5MB) – a guide for commissioners of health and wellbeing services on partnering with the arts and cultural sector.

Older people’s experience of crime

The Home Office is looking to gain a better understanding of the experiences of crime by the older population, particularly domestic and sexual abuse, and are looking to collaborate with organisations who may have helpful data or insight. If you’d like us to put you in touch, drop us a line at


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Michael was our senior policy officer until January 2019, covering issues around charity tax and finance (including social investment) and the impact of the economy on the sector.

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