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'Success achieved in spite of commissioning system rather than as a result of it'

03 Apr 2019 News

Service users are “fed up” with the current commissioning system with success being achieved “in spite of the system rather than as a result of it” the chief executive of Catch22 said last night. 

Speaking at the welfare charity’s event Charity 2020 in London last night, Chris Wright said that service users were “fed up” with the current system.

Wright said the current approach by the government of using outsourced providers such as Carillion had failed and that a new system was needed.

He said: “We are at a point of inflection. We speak to our service users and they tell us they are fed up with being treated as mere recipients of services that are processing them in and measuring transactional outputs.

“And that seems the wrong way to change lives for good. In short, success in changing lives is achieved in spite of the system rather than as a result of it.”

Wright said that Catch22 strives to establish relationships with service users “despite the restraints of contracts”.

‘Don’t let public sector off the hook’

Speaking from the audience, Kathy Evans, chief executive of Children England, said it was time for the “era of charity” in delivering public services.

She said: “I think that charity is a really important concept right now. 

“Charity comes from caritas, to give of one’s self without expectation of return. There is so much in what it being described here which is best framed as humanity – our human spirit being brought to other people. The era of charity is right here, right now.”

In response, Lib Peck, recently appointed director of the mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit, said the charity sector was not “the only way forward”.

She said: “I think there is a danger of letting public services off the hook. Our mission going forward is not to necessarily praise the charity sector as being the only way forward.

“The challenge for me is really how do we make public service a lot more human and responsive to individuals.”

Peck was also asked about how she would scale local solutions to violence reduction in her new role, to which she said it was important for organisations to be honest about their mistakes so that the wider sector can learn from them.

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