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Make the Big Society fair for the North, leading think-tank urges

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The report argues that relying on donations from business to provide resources for social action will put areas such as London – where large numbers of big business are headquartered – at a huge advantage.

Forty £1million or more donations were made in London in 2009/10 compared with only six in the North East.

The government should therefore boost giving in areas where the private sector is weaker by pledging to match a proportion of business donations for a fixed period.

The report – Can the Big Society be a Fair Society?< – argues that areas with a weaker private sector are also where voluntary and community organisations are more reliant on public funding. The proportion of voluntary and community organisations in receipt of public funds is:

  • 43 per cent in the North East<
  • 42 per cent in the North West<
  • 39 per cent in Yorkshire and Humber<
  • 38 per cent in the East midlands<
  • 38 per cent in the West Midlands<
  • 37 per cent in the South West<
  • 34 per cent in the East of England<
  • 33 per cent in London<
  • 33 per cent in the South East<

Spending cuts and a move to greater reliance on business donations could therefore doubly disadvantage organisations in the North unless the government provides innovative forms of finance.

To help vital services offered by voluntary and community organisations survive spending cuts and make the Big Society in their areas flourish, the report recommends:

  • the Big Society Bank should offer products that are accessible to small and large organisations and should support a range of forms of finance;<
  • the Transition Fund should provide ‘seed corn’ grants to help voluntary and community organisations to become more enterprising to make them more sustainable;<
  • commissioning should be reviewed so that VCS organisations, social enterprises and service users are involved in identifying need and shaping services;<
  • a strongly branded local community fund should be established in priority areas, backed by a government pledge to match a proportion of business donations for a fixed period in order to strengthen relationships between the VCS and private sector.<

Ed Cox, director of ippr north said:

'Our research shows that the Big Society will not be a fair to the North without changes to government support for philanthropy and charitable giving. Good will is beginning to wear thin as people in the voluntary and community sector try to deal with budget cuts, and organisations in the North cannot turn to big corporate or high value donors to make up the gap as London-based organisations can. We need to target what little money there is to organisations that struggle to find it elsewhere. Less attractive organisations that lack donor appeal or those operating in areas where business or corporate gifts are hard to come by should be a priority.'

Notes to editors:

This research has been made possible by support from the Policy and Representation Partnership, which is funded by the BIG Lottery Fund.

http://www.ippr.org.uk/ipprnorth/pressreleases/?id=4456<

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Reports Warns of North South Divide Under Big Society Proposals

A report carried out by ippr North warns that a lack of access to private finance may hamper the realisation of the Big Society in the north of England.

<

The report reveals that London and the south have a higher number of private sector organizations, meaning greater access to private finance, and that while 40 £1 million donations were made in London in 2009/10, only six such donations were made in the north of England during the same time. Additionally this means most voluntary organisations in the north of the country are more dependent on public financial support. 

The report suggests the government take steps to incentivise funding for Big Society in the north of England and makes a number of recommendations to redress the balance:

  • The Big Society Bank should offer products that are accessible to small and large organisations and should support a range of forms of finance.
  • The Transition Fund should offer ‘seed corn’ grants to help voluntary and community organisations to diversify their income and become more sustainable.
  • A review of the commissioning process should be conducted to so that voluntary organisations, social enterprises and service users are engaged in identifying need and shaping services.
  • A strongly branded local community fund should be established in priority areas, backed by a government pledge to match a proportion of business donations for a fixed period in order to strengthen relationships between the VCS and private sector.

Ed Cox, Director of ippr North said:

"Our research shows that the Big Society will not be a fair to the North without changes to government support for philanthropy and charitable giving. Good will is beginning to wear thin as people in the voluntary and community sector try to deal with budget cuts, and organisations in the North cannot turn to big corporate or high value donors to make up the gap as London-based organisations can.

"We need to target what little money there is to organisations that struggle to find it elsewhere. Less attractive organisations that lack donor appeal or those operating in areas where business or corporate gifts are hard to come by should be a priority."

http://www.fundingcentral.org.uk/newsview.aspx?SH=&WCU=DSCODE=OTSSCMLIVE...<

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kevin
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A geographical divide has opened up in English adult social care spending with huge cuts in the North but budgets continuing to expand in the South.

While spending in the North and Midlands will fall by 4.7% this financial year, southern councils will boost spending on adult social care by 2.7%, a survey by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and the BBC has shown.

This equates to a 2.6% decrease in spending overall, with the total reducing from £9.8bn to £9.5bn in the 73 councils surveyed.<

There was a similar divide in children's social care where cuts amounted to 7.4% in the North and Midlands and 3.5% in the South.

Councils in the North West have been forced to consider service reductions, management restructures, tightened eligibility, increased charges and staff reductions through voluntary retirement, according to John Rutherford, chair of the region's Association of Directors of Adult Social Services group.

He added that the re-tendering of contracts at lower costs and lower level reablement costs were on the agenda.

"Most staff are well aware of the pressures we are facing and there are fears about job security and future career prospects," said Rutherford, Bolton Council's director of adult and community services.

"Most councils are doing their best to protect staff and services in this scenario of pressures on resources due to the savings and the additional demand for social care due to an ageing population."

The survey findings follow criticism of the local government settlement for targeting cuts on councils in Labour's northern strongholds. Nationally, councils faced real-terms reductions of 28% from 2010-11 to 2014-15.

Although councils on average lost 4.4% in revenue this year, many northern authorities were landed with a loss of 9%. The Cipfa/BBC figures therefore suggest councils have tried to insulate social care from the impact of the cuts.

Council Spending: Making it Clear is a BBC/CIPFA assessment of council spend in England for local radio, regional and network TV and BBC online<.

http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/2011/05/12/116792/social-care-in...<

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