Government 'considering' charity public service reform proposals

18 Jul 2017 News

Tracey Crouch, minister for sport and civil society

The government has announced it is considering proposals from a group set up by the Office for Civil Society to help small charities win contracts - but has not said what they are.

Martyn Lewis, former chair of NCVO, was appointed by then-minister for civil society Rob Wilson to chair what was described as a "sector-led" Civil Society Implementation Group last December. The group was asked to propose ideas to help small charities win contracts, and has now made internal recommendations to the government.

Tracey Crouch, minister for sport and civil society, said in a written response to parliamentary question from the Labour shadow minister, Steve Reed, that: “The group has met on 15 separate occasions and government is considering its proposals.”

However the government has not confirmed what the proposals are, or the identities of the members of the group. In response to a question from Civil Society News a spokesman said only that more information will be revealed "in due course".

Published ministerial meetings for Wilson show that in February he met with a public services implementation group, which included representatives from NCVO, Navca, Small Charities Coalition, FSI, LGA, Harrow Council, P3, Community Southwark, Voscur, Staffordshire County Council and Teens and Toddlers.

Wilson also announced in December that a new VSCE Crown Representative would be appointed to help build the relationship between charities and government. 

The job was advertised at the beginning of this year, and the closing date for applications was five months ago, but no announcement has been made. 

An update is expected shortly. 

Other updates

In a separate written answer, Crouch said that an announcement on whether to hold another Local Charities Day would be “made in due course”. 

She also said that an update on the government’s review of the Social Value Act would be “made in due course”. 

In another answer to a question about the review into Youth Social Action she said: “Progress with the review was delayed for six weeks due to Purdah, and we will agree a revised process and timetable with the Chair in the coming weeks. We anticipate that the review will be completed by December 2017.” 

Responses to reports 

Crouch also revealed that the DCMS is working with the NCS Trust to prepare a response to the critical Pubic Accounts Committee’s report about National Citizen Service. 

She said this is “currently scheduled for publication in the House of Commons in October 2017”. 

The government also needs to respond to the House of Lords report on charities, and to the recommendations of the Dormant Assets Commission - which has said up to £2bn is available to spend on charities. Responses to these reports are expected shortly.


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