Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, has suggested that too much money from government led to an unstrategic and bloated national infrastructure sector, and welcomed recent moves towards rationalisation.
Sir Stuart made the comments at a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Civil Society and Volunteering this week. He said national infrastructure bodies were too diverse in the past: “There were too many,” he said.
“It was not very strategic, it did need to be rationalised. When there’s money on the table it causes squabbling about who gets it. Now we have to collaborate as there is nowhere else to go.”
Sir Stuart also said there was a big case for the modernisation of local infrastructure bodies too: “There is no reason why volunteer bureaux and CVSs should be separate. They should be in the same place – there was more money so they split.”
Bubb: working more closely with NCVO
Today, Sir Stephen Bubb, CEO of Acevo, also used his speech to the Acevo national conference to welcome a more united sector. He said people would be happy that last night's conference dinner was held with the board of Acevo and NCVO in attendance.
“It’s the first time you’ll hear the chairs of Acevo and NCVO speaking at the same conference," he added. "We will be working more closely together.”
He credited the chairs of NCVO and Acevo with the closer working: “They said to us chief executives that we should get together.” Members had also urged better collaboration, he said.
The Office for Civil Society announced last year that it would be reducing its infrastructure body strategic partners from 42 to no more than 15, no organisation should receive more than a quarter of their income from them and that those who merged or collaborated had the best chance of success. Minister for civil society Nick Hurd described the structure he had inherited from Labour as “absolutely ludicrous”, particularly when frontline charities were having to swallow large budget cuts.
The announcement led to some mergers between strategic partners and a number of joint partner bids.