Almost 90 per cent of charities expect to maintain (45 per cent) or increase (44 per cent) service provision despite continuing pessimism about the general economic outlook.
The latest Charity Forecast Survey published by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) saw a net increase of 33 per cent in the number of charities expecting to increase the amount of services they offer over the next three months.
This is a rise of 12 per cent from the previous quarter and the first time since May 2010 when the figure has been above 25 per cent.
Just under 50 per cent of respondents claimed that the financial situation of their charity had worsened over the last 12 months. Some 51 per cent expect the financial situation to worsen over the next year, although the net confidence has improved from the last quarter, from -46 per cent to -26 per cent, with 26 per cent of organisations predicting that their financial situation will improve.
Most (92 per cent) expect conditions within the voluntary sector will be negative over the next 12 months. Sixty per cent of organisations expect to compete more with other organisations and almost three-quarters expect to collaborate more.
Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, said: “Charities are under considerable pressure. The demands on all organisations are increasing while still trying to support the needs of the most vulnerable in society.
“Increasingly agencies without specialist knowledge and expertise with specific client groups are winning service delivery contracts over charities, largely because they are more adept in the tendering process.”
He called on the government “to support charities by encouraging opening up of commissioning processes and by removing the complexity of initiatives such as the gift aid small donations scheme so charities can benefit”.
Cabinet Office: improving service delivery is a priority
The Cabinet Office responded with a statement, which said: “Improving public service delivery has been a coalition priority since day one and we are determined to make it easier for charities and social enterprises to play a bigger role in this area.”
It highlighted measures such as the removal of pre-qualification questionnaires for procurements of less than £100,000, the Commissioning Academy, the appointment of a crown representative for the sector and the launch of Big Society Capital.
The survey was carried out between 31 August and 28 September. It is open to all UK-based members of NCVO and this time 201 took part. It is the 19th edition of the survey which started in February 2008.