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Thirteen OCS strategic partners now known to be off the list

British Youth Council
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Thirteen OCS strategic partners now known to be off the list

Finance | Tania Mason | 10 Mar 2011

Charity Trustee Networks, the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation and the British Youth Council have admitted that they too have received notification from the Office for Civil Society that they will not be continuing as strategic partners after 1 April.

This brings to eight the number of partners that are known to have received emails this week informing them that they were unsuccessful in the first round.  The others were:  TimeBank, CSV, BTCV, National Council for Voluntary Youth Services, and Community Development Exchange.  Five others are understood to have not applied or agreed a separate deal with government.

The Mentoring & Befriending Foundation was one of the most highly-funded strategic partners and will have to cope with the loss of a £1.1m grant, around half of its funding. The British Youth Council received a grant of £94,600 from the OCS programme this year - around 7 per cent of its total funding.  CTN was more exposed - its £94,000 grant, the fifth over five years, accounted for more than three-quarters of its income.

CTN, an OCS strategic partner for the last three years, had bid jointly with the Small Charities Coalition with which it recently merged.

Chief executive Cath Lee said: “Clearly we are extremely disappointed as we felt we have the reach and contact with small charities and trustees that would be valuable in terms of informing the development of the Big Society agenda and give the government real insight into the actual experience of civil society organisations on the ground.”  

However, she insisted the future was bright. “Clearly this has been a setback to our funding efforts at a crucial time for the organisation but we will continue to support the small charities and trustees that come to us for help. Like so many other charities the current times are challenging but we are not daunted.”

James Cathcart, chief executive of the British Youth Council (pictured), said it had applied in partnership with another organisation but he did not wish to disclose which one.  Together they had bid for a total of around £300,000 for the first year.

"We are very disappointed," he said. "We thought we were strong candidates."

For further detail of which strategic partners have made it through the first round and been invited to interview at the OCS this week, click here.

The OCS announced last year that it would be reducing its strategic partners from 42 to no more than 15 and that no one organisation should receive more than a quarter of its income from the programme.  Minister for civil society Nick Hurd described the structure he had inherited from Labour as “frankly ludicrous” particularly when frontline charities were having to swallow large budget cuts.

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