Author Topic: What Next - the effect of the comprehensive spending review  (Read 1146 times)

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Offline Muggins

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What Next - the effect of the comprehensive spending review
« on: December 29, 2010, 11:12:57 am »
What Next?

National Organisation Community Matters, Policy officer Rosie Anderson looks at the implications of the spending cuts and the challenges facing the community sector in the coming months.

Complicated cuts: the Coalition government’s Comprehensive Spending Review was widely heralded as the deepest cut to public spending for a generation.  But how big are the reductions in spending really, and how will local community groups be affected?

A changing landscape: Trying to work this out is complicated by the fact that these groups currently receive relatively little public funding compared to the rest of the voluntary and community sector.  Most benefit indirectly from government spending and funding schemes.   However almost all rely on local infrastructure or development organisations for specialist support and changes to taxes, local government spending and national funding schemes will affect their ability to find and run affordable premises, train and retain staff and develop services.  When the impact of public service and welfare cuts on their communities is factored in it’s clear that community groups will be operating in a very different environment to the one they’ve become used to over the last fifteen years.

In terms of direct support for the voluntary and community sector in general CSR was than many expected. The Office for Civil society has been given £300 million funding to help organisations providing frontline services to manage transition to more market driven models, and a £470 million budget over the next four years which may help to lessen some of the blows dealt elsewhere in the review. This money will be used to set up a community First scheme to support local and community organisations and establish a network of 5000 community organisers.

Real terms, real Impact

However when compared with the £500 million it has had to play with over the previous three years, the Office for Civil Society annual spend has fallen from £188 Million to £116 million, a considerable drop. The Department  for Communities and Local Government  resource budget will have also taken a cut equivalent  to 51% in real terms by 2014. And direct funding to local governments has fallen by a quarter.

But what real impact will this have on Community Matters members and similar groups? Much of the impact of these cuts has yet to be worked out, and in the coming months individual councils and departments will announce what and who, will be going.  But it seems likely that discretionary services including many community services will be under review in England. In particular:

Community buildings, green space, and other council owned community premises may be disposed of, restructured or see a change of rental or maintenance terms.
Funding to local infrastructure organisations such as Voluntary Centres’s,(like VAS)  development  organisations or specialist support providers may be restricted or stopped.
Local government support for particular groups such as elderly, disabled or young people may be curtailed or switched to personal budgets.

In addition the Transition Fund will only be available to organisations with an income of £50K per annum or more (not many of those about) – meaning most members will miss out.  Since many of the reforms outlined in the CSR revolve around increased competition  between providers, such as payment by results for running Surestart  Childrens Centres or personalised budgets for social care, this could mean that groups already marginalised by the commissioning process become even more excluded as they lack the business skills to compete.  The Charity Commission has also taken a 27% drop in funding over four years. Much more that just a regulator, its advisory, training and advocacy roles are now in jeopardy.

But perhaps the greatest pressure on the local community groups over the next four years will come from the roll back of the State and the cut in benefits for those who will still qualify.  These changes have been well published and range from lower housing support, to the withdrawal of child benefit for higher income families, to the loss of nearly half a million public sector jobs over the next four years.  This will see the rise in unmet needs which the voluntary, charitable and private sectors are expected to meet, coupled with a withdrawal of money from some communities that might  have been spent in local community centre. 
 
Lifes not always fair. Sometimes you can get a splinter even sliding down a rainbow. - Cherralea Morgen

Offline Muggins

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Re: What Next - the effect of the comprehensive spending review
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2010, 11:46:25 am »
Part two:   I'm off to put a strongly worded commnent on Community Matters web blog......

Community Matters advice (well, their chief exec’s) to groups is:

BE PREPARED:

The Community Matters National Conference 2010 threw up some interesting points, from which Chief Exec David Tyler drew the following action points and resolutions:

Overcome cynicism and prepare for the Big Society – When the community organisers are deployed, don’t freeze them out: get in touch and make them work for you.

Step up income generation - This includes service delivery, not forgetting smaller components like subcontracting.

The Big Lottery Capital Fund – for community buildings is something to look forward to.

Keep trying to persuade local funders – Prove to them that grant funding can be efficient and effective.

Don’t dismiss the idea of contracting - Contracts are coming and the community sector needs to be prepared. Your organisations may need to incorporate to negate risk.

Convince people of your social value – Community matters are piloting a social value tool in the North East  and South East to address that very issue.

There’ll be lots of transfer of community buildings - This could happen en bloc. Local authorities aren’t doing so out of ideological motivation but because they need the money. Despite the cuts, they’re not the enemy, so work with them to make sure buildings end up in the right hands.

We’re advocating hard and Government are listening – We’ve affected the community right to buy and the right to save. We can provide you with the tools to negotiate the financial and business implications of asset management.

We will continue to investigate – campaign and influence on the subject of red tape, including looking at the whole culture of implementation. 
Lifes not always fair. Sometimes you can get a splinter even sliding down a rainbow. - Cherralea Morgen

Offline Muggins

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Re: What Next - the effect of the comprehensive spending review
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2010, 03:25:56 pm »
Whilst you're at it take a look at this too....

http://www.steam-museum.org.uk/one_swindon_cabinet_report_081210.pdf

Whilst reading be careful of the tense. SBC has a habit in these documents, of using present tense instead of future tense, when it comes to Outcomes, makes it look like it's already happening, leading to a false sense of security.
Lifes not always fair. Sometimes you can get a splinter even sliding down a rainbow. - Cherralea Morgen

Offline Chav

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Re: What Next - the effect of the comprehensive spending review
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2010, 05:30:57 pm »
Whilst you're at it take a look at this too....

http://www.steam-museum.org.uk/one_swindon_cabinet_report_081210.pdf

Whilst reading be careful of the tense. SBC has a habit in these documents, of using present tense instead of future tense, when it comes to Outcomes, makes it look like it's already happening, leading to a false sense of security.

Interesting stuff - but haven't we heard it all before in various other guises !
Well I suppose we will have to wait and see how this works  :santa_afro:
"Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects." -- Lester B. Pearson.

Offline Mellon

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Re: What Next - the effect of the comprehensive spending review
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2010, 05:50:23 pm »
An interesting read, "Real terms, Real impact" very thought provoking
"Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the world together."

Offline Alex

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Re: What Next - the effect of the comprehensive spending review
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2010, 06:35:54 pm »
Saying and doing are different.

As usual we'll see, in hindsight, whether  promises are lived up to.

Almost makes you consider taking up gambling... I wonder what the odds being offered at the bookies are.....could be a whole new investment opportunity....

Meanwhile the developers are still trying to nick our green spaces..I didn't notice any reference to this....

Offline Tea Boy

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Re: What Next - the effect of the comprehensive spending review
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2010, 11:22:20 pm »
Meanwhile the developers are still trying to nick our green spaces..I didn't notice any reference to this....

Developers nicking green space= That's maximising income to SBC why would they want to stop that.
Whose left in a depleted parks and landscape team to stop that from happening anyway.
Gardening tips: Always remember its brown side down, green side up.  If its knocking now it'll only go bang later

Offline Muggins

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Re: What Next - the effect of the comprehensive spending review
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2010, 08:19:49 am »
Chav:  "but haven't we heard it all before in various other guises !"

We have.....but nothing quite so devastating as this and once set on course there will be no turning back for some of it.

Alex:  "Meanwhile the developers are still trying to nick our green spaces..I didn't notice any reference to this...."

It is there in the community Matters stuff, about public places including parks and open spaces being sold/leased off enbloc - I think they read it as not necessarily to developers, but to someone private to manage as a business.  Now if we had our act together we could bid for that, but the liklihood of the community - any community or part of it, being in a position to do that and sustain it is pretty much impossible. And we've been telling them that for years now.

One of my biggest concerns with this posting above was the advice from the Chief Exec of Community Matters which seems to be to be saying "Roll over and do as you are told"  so the caring/doing for your community in a voluntary way has become a compulsion, so no longer voluntary.

If I wanted to become 'more market driven'  I would have set up my own business years ago and been rich by now.

And where the heck do they think they are going to find '5000 Community Organisers' with the qualifications to do a good job, they just are not about.
Lifes not always fair. Sometimes you can get a splinter even sliding down a rainbow. - Cherralea Morgen

 

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