NCVO, ACEVO and Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales have teamed up in a project to help rebalance the relationship between large and small voluntary organisations when bidding for and delivering public services.
The project, ‘Rebalancing the Relationship’, aims to examine current bidding and commissioning practices, and explore how voluntary organisations of different sizes can work better together in bidding for and delivering public services. A call for evidence to be launched in coming weeks will seek views from the sector. This evidence, combined with further desk-based and qualitative research, will form the basis of a research report expected in the autumn.
The report will inform a series of engagement events with voluntary organisations to develop recommendations to improve current practices, which will be the subject of a consultation with the sector, ahead of a final report early next year.
The project will consider the wider commissioning environment, however the partners expect the focus of their recommendations to be on how organisations themselves can take action to improve how they work with others.
The work will be overseen by a small steering group made up of the project partners and individuals with expertise in leading both large and small voluntary organisations.
A wider advisory group will be asked to provide feedback and advice to the project.
Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive at NCVO, said:
“For the best outcomes for people using public services, we need a system that allows a range of organisations to flourish and deliver high quality services.
“We want to look under the bonnet of current commissioning practices to explore the issues faced by organisations of all sizes. We will then work with voluntary organisations to explore new ways of cooperating to ensure the long-term sustainability of organisations of all sizes across the voluntary sector delivering public services.”
Vicky Browning, Chief Executive at ACEVO, said:
“Many ACEVO members tell us that one of their biggest challenges is a commissioning environment that doesn’t meet the needs of their organisation, and by extension the needs of the people they support. Leaders of voluntary organisations have a vital role to play in driving change and modelling new ways of working to create a more balanced system. We are excited to work with NCVO and Lloyds Bank Foundation to explore this issue together.”
Paul Streets OBE, Chief Executive of Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, said:
“We know that commissioning and contracting is a significant challenge for many charities and of course it needs reform. But voluntary organisations themselves have choices as to whether and how they bid, contract and collaborate.
“Both smaller and larger charities bring distinctive benefits which are too often being lost. It’s vital that we rebalance the relationship between large and small charities to find a new way forward that best harnesses both the value of small and the capacity of larger for our mutual ambitions of ensuring people can access the services they need and trust.”
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