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DCLG urges councils to give voluntary sector a leading role

26 Jul 2012 News

Communities minister Andrew Stunell has told each local authority that there is no excuse for leaving the voluntary and community sector behind when it comes to funding allocations ahead of their upcoming spending reviews.

Communities minister Andrew Stunell has told each local authority that there is no excuse for leaving the voluntary and community sector behind when it comes to funding allocations ahead of their upcoming spending reviews.

Stunell, who has written to each local authority leader, said: "Whilst councils have more tough decisions to make in the coming months, that is no excuse for abandoning the voluntary and community sector.

"Many local authorities are already setting a good example showing what can be achieved under demanding circumstances, and the government has now published further guidance to help councils working with voluntary groups.”

Last year the government published the Best Value Guidance which set out the manner in which councils should work with the voluntary sector.

The Guidance says local councils have now been freed from excessive and prescriptive guidance and duties in return for a 'social responsibility' deal which asks that they continue to give support to local voluntary and community groups and small businesses.

It came after a barrage of heavy cuts by some local authorities to the voluntary sector. Most recently, Nottinghamshire County Council . Its budget for supporting the sector in 2010/11 was £3.2m. The following year, it was cut to £1.4m, a reduction of 56 per cent.

The affected charities were unable to use the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Best Value Statutory Guidance to challenge the decision because the council’s new budget was set before publication of the guidance.

Compact Voice and the Department for Communities and Local Government have now also jointly produced a briefing note which provides practical views on how the guidance can be best used to ensure effective partnerships.

However, figures from the second annual Compact review show that local authorities are failing to consult the voluntary sector or give appropriate notice of funding changes.

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