Budget cuts affecting third sector children’s services


Pressure on public sector budgets is undermining the vital role the third sector can play in planning and delivering children's services

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1st March 2016 by Susan Smith 2 Comments

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.”


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2nd March 2016 by Debbie Hamilton

I am working within the third sector with an organisation that has been going for over 20 years delivering Family Support and Respite in the Community. We are going to be hard hit by these cuts and consultation has started we have been told that there will be a cut to our hours. We are a small community based organisation who don't solely rely on one funder but the proposed council cuts to IGF will have a real damaging effect on the services we provide to service users as the organisation looks at how we can still deliver a service but one that will reduce the amount of support needed. We have played a big part in partnership working and multi agency support, I sometimes wonder at the actual damage this may have had on the third sector although it has had some positives. The majority of the families we work with have statutory involvement, face many challenges inclusive of social isolation and poverty. This country has taken a huge backward step in how we support the most vulnerable in society as if the Social Welfare Reform as not had enough of a damaging impact. We work within the GIRFEC Framework and work to support the early intervention and prevention strategies. The cut in funding will now see this as a diminished approach pushing the most vulnerable in society even further back.

3rd March 2016 by Jim Wallace

It is harder to manage to hold onto the spirit of partnership at times of adversity. The third sector has a great deal to offer but its contribution will not be fully realised without creating a strong foundation to support collaboration.