Plans to improve voluntary sector funding welcomed

Funding worries

Moves to ensure greater stability for voluntary sector funding have been welcomed 

12th November 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Plans to improve the way the voluntary sector is funded have been welcomed.

Last week, the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee said the work of the voluntary sector is vital in realising equalities and human rights in Scotland, but how it is funded needs reviewed.

Reduced and short-term funding, the committee heard, has led to job insecurity, loss of talent, and essential services either being reduced or stopped altogether, directly affecting the communities and vulnerable people who rely on them.

The committee welcomed the Scottish Government’s move to a three-year funding model, but considers that more can be done to ensure that more people benefit from the support services provided by charities promoting equalities and human rights.

It has called upon the Scottish Government to set up a working group, involving key stakeholders, to examine the longer-term funding models available to statutory funders and for its conclusions to be made available before the end of this parliamentary session.

Other recommendations made by the committee include allowing organisations sufficient time to apply for funding, making the applications process more accessible and to examine how partnership working can be encouraged in a competitive funding environment.

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) has welcomed the findings of the committee.

Anna Fowlie, chief executive of SCVO, said it is important that organisations work together to ensure the funding environment across Scotland is improved.

She said: “SCVO strongly supports the recommendations in the Committee’s report - this recognition from cross-party MSPs that something needs to change is very welcome.

“Funders, particularly government and local government, must take a more collaborative and sustainable approach if we genuinely want a socially just Scotland with empowered communities.

“The committee heard from a wide range of voluntary bodies emphasising cross-sector support for change at a local and national level, and the report findings chime with feedback we have been hearing for too long about the need for a more common sense approach to funding, that looks past traditional procurement-based models and process-driven grant funding.

“Funders, public sector bodies and voluntary organisations need to come together to create programmes of work that really make a difference for the communities they serve.”

Committee convener, Ruth Maguire MSP, said: “The third sector provides huge value to communities right across Scotland. More funding would give greater stability to the support these organisations provide.

“Crucially, this will help not only those who benefit from that support, but also the many women, carers, and people with disabilities employed by the sector.

“We’ve seen that the Scottish Government can move to a three-year equalities budget cycle, now we want other funders to follow suit and have asked the Scottish Government to set up a working group, involving key stakeholders, to examine longer-term funding models.”