Share

OCS strategic partner funding decisions trickle out

TimeBank logo
News

OCS strategic partner funding decisions trickle out1

Finance | Tania Mason | 8 Mar 2011

TimeBank and Community Development Exchange have been told they have failed in their bids to secure further funding from the Office for Civil Society’s strategic partner programme.

Both charities received emails from the OCS yesterday confirming that from next month they would no longer receive core funding from the programme.

The OCS has so far declined to issue a list of the partners that have been weeded out at the first stage.

National volunteering charity TimeBank has relied on the government to cover its core costs for several years, and last year received £775,300 of its £1.9m total income from the OCS, £525,300 of which was strategic partner funding. The vast majority of its other income was also derived from statutory sources, putting it at high risk from the public spending cuts. At 31 March 2010 the charity had reserves of £1,135,209.

TimeBank’s remit as a strategic partner of the OCS was to "shape the national debate on volunteering", according to its latest annual report. Over the last decade it claims to have contributed to mobilising 300,000 people to volunteer as well as improving the quality of volunteering.

Chief executive Helen Walker said: “This is a devastating blow for TimeBank which has been living and breathing the government’s vision for a Big Society for the past ten years.

“Without this vital core funding we will not be able to continue to deliver the level of service that we have based our reputation on and will have to considerably reduce our activities and staff as a result.” It employs nearly 40 people.

TimeBank is not going to take the decision on the chin, however. It has announced its intention to appeal and has already launched a petition, telling supporters that “if we receive 100,000 signatures our case will be debated in Parliament”.

The email to TimeBank arrived on the same day that the charity issued a press release announcing that it had been approached by Parliament to develop a website to encourage more MPs to volunteer. The site was expected to be launched in the autumn.

CDX loses 87 per cent of income

Community Development Exchange (CDX) received around £250,000 each year from the strategic partner programme, equating to around 87 per cent of its total income. Sophie Ballinger, communications officer, said it had submitted a bid for 2011/12 for around £75,000, meeting the OCS criteria that the programme funding should not comprise more than a quarter of a partner organisation’s total income.  But it learned yesterday that it too had fallen at the first hurdle.

CDX has already made one of its five employees redundant and all the rest have had their hours cut by one-fifth.  Ballenger said the organisation will now operate on its reserves while it explores alternative income options.

The LGBT Consortium, an umbrella group for charities supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, told Civil Society that it was not invited to apply for continued funding and so did not do so.

Some other partners have made it through to the next round and were being interviewed at the Cabinet Office today and over the next few days.  Among these were Navca, Acre (bidding jointly with Community Matters), Urban Forum, Charities Evaluation Services (bidding jointly with Voice4Change England), Volunteering England and the Women's Resource Centre. 

NCVO, the Institute of Fundraising and the Citizenship Foundation all declined to comment, while Acevo, Social Enterprise London, Mentoring & Befriending Foundation, Bassac, BTCV, Social Enterprise Coalition, Church Urban Fund, British Youth Council and Community Foundation Network had not returned calls by the time this story went live.

YouthNet has already said it is not eligible for funding and youth charity v has agreed a separate arrangement with the Office for Civil Society.

The National Youth Agency said it felt it was not appropriate to apply as it had already got transition funding from the Department of Education.

Youth Action Network, which received 15 per cent of its £1m income from the OCS, announced its impending closure in January.

The OCS has already stated that it plans to cut the number of strategic partners from 42 to no more than 15 and that organisations that choose to merge or collaborate with others stand a better chance of success.

Rob Dyson
PR Manager & social web
Whizz-Kidz
8 Mar 2011

This seems naive and counter-intuitive. By investing in organisations that train, recruit and retain volunteers (and Timebank is a huge player in this sector) society will be paid back exponentially by volunteers that energise communities and personify the Big Society mantra.

A sensible strategy would be focussing money on things that promote Government policy - this would be joined-up and consistent with their narrative. It could also be used to PR Big Society on a localised level (there are many many case studies to be gleaned from Timebank's work). Maybe I'm thinking with my comms head on, but this decision appears a bit of an own goal for Government Big Society champions.

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

Age UK spends £1.8m in latest round of redundancies

21 Oct 2014

Age UK spent £1.81m on 120 redundancies in 2014, on top of £1.17m last year, as part of a review of...

Stand Up To Cancer raises over £14.5m

21 Oct 2014

This weekend's Stand Up To Cancer event has raised over £14.5m so far, and that figure is continuing...

Charities 'must continue to fight for the right to influence policy'

20 Oct 2014

Civil society organisations must not give up the fight to influence policy and governments, the international...

Demonstrate effectiveness or risk losing public trust, charities told

24 Oct 2014

Charities must demonstrate their effectiveness better to the public or face losing trust, David McCullough,...

Volunteers no longer happy to 'do what they are told', says report

24 Oct 2014

Volunteers now expect more from their experience and charities must do more to recruit and retain them,...

Relationship between government and charity 'has lost its way', says Nandy

23 Oct 2014

There needs to be a rebalancing of the relationship between the voluntary sector and government, shadow...

BeatBullying's technology CIC has not filed accounts with Companies House

22 Oct 2014

A software community interest company set up by the BeatBullying Group in 2012 is almost a year late filing...

Blackbaud launches online giving platform for individual fundraisers

17 Oct 2014

Blackbaud has launched its online giving platform, everydayhero, for fundraisers in the UK in a bid to...

Don't dismiss social media 'slacktivists', fundraisers told at IFC

16 Oct 2014

Charities should embrace and love charity ‘slacktivists’ because social is a great ramp for new donors,...

Join the discussion

 Twitter button

@CSFinance