Pressure on public sector budgets is undermining the vital role the third sector can play in planning and delivering children's services
Third sector organisations are vital to children’s services but need more support to play a full role.
Groups working with children also fear that pressure on public sector budgets is undermining the progress being made in developing important partnerships between the public and third sectors, and is distracting service planners from focusing on early intervention and preventative approaches.
A report from the national third sector Getting It Right For Every Child Project – Tackling Inequalities in Partnership: are we getting it right? – makes a series of recommendations to strengthen the role the third sector plays in planning services.
Progress made in partnership working is fragile and much more support is needed for the third sector if engagement is to develop and be sustainable
Maureen McAteer, project director, said: “Over the three years of the project we have been inspired by the willingness of individuals and organisations in local areas to work together, despite many difficulties, to make sure that all children get the services they need and deserve.
"We have seen many great examples of joint working between the public and third sectors that make a real difference to children’s lives. However, it is also our experience that the progress made in partnership working is fragile and much more support is needed for the third sector if engagement is to develop and be sustainable.”
The report contains key recommendations aimed at Community Planning Partnerships, the third sector and the Scottish Government which would mean reviews of local partnership arrangements, a more organised third sector and more support from the Scottish Government.
McAteer continued: “We know the budgetary challenges faced by organisations in the public and third sectors and the fact that there are tough choices to be made. We found that partnership working makes a difference to the lives of children and their families by using often limited resources in an effective way. This is particularly true when the third sector is meaningfully involved in planning services.”