Cameron tells local authorities not to take the easy option and slash funding to voluntary and community groups

Thanks to Pauline Roche for this item — fascinating coverage on the Civil Society website regarding a recent exchange with David Cameron during PMQs on the 15th September. Read it here.

Cameron was responding to a question from Labour MP Julie Hilling (Bolton West) who told him that community groups in Bolton had already lost £89k in funding — and what would the government do in order to protect such bodies and ensure their role in the Big Society.

Cameron said:

“… we should say to every single council in the country, ‘When it comes to looking at and trimming your budgets, don’t do the easy thing, which is to cut money to the voluntary bodies and organisations working in our communities. Look at your core costs. Look at how you can do more for less. Look at the value for money you get from working with the voluntary sector.’

Charities Aid Foundation, however, is calling for much stiffer commitment, demanding that the government

“…insist that spending decisions of individual [public sector] departments consider as a priority the need to strengthen civil society and take account of the long-term impact the work of the voluntary sector has on local people and communities….”

In other news, we were used to the ‘evidence’ mantra under New Labour, but so far the new government has said relatively little about evidence and social impact. Civil society minister Nick Hurd has just changed that. Speaking to mark the twentieth anniversary of Charities Evaluation Services, Hurd said:

“To be able to tell a story that doesn’t just rely on anecdotes or bringing a few people into the office to tell their personal story – I’m afraid the future is going to demand more than that. This poses great challenges, particularly for smaller organisations that don’t have the resources necessary to develop complex methodologies to articulate social return.”

Story here.

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