OCS consultation on support for frontline organisations — update

In this earlier post I mentioned the recently launched Office for Civil Society consultation on how frontline organisations can best be supported — what we have previously called infrastructure support.

I mentioned that all of the versions I had been able to find of the consultation document online were lacking Appendices referred to in the text — well I have just found a full version that includes these and you can download it here.

UPDATE: The significance of the Appendices is that Appendix 1 contains a detailed “Market analysis of current advice and support”. Many will do well to pay close attention to this because as the paper says it has been used to inform the ‘principles for reform’ outlined in Chapter 2.

The significant thing, to me at any rate, is that there is no separate analysis of social enterprise business support (as opposed to more generic infrastructure support and capacity-building for third sector organisations), no acknowledgement of the role that business support and development services may play in helping organisations become more sustainable or adopt more effective  income-generation strategies, and no acknowledgement of the role business support and development will need to play as the wider sector comes under ever-increasing pressure over the next one to two years, as revenue from public contracts either dries up, or is drastically reduced as contracts and commissioning declines in both volume and value.

The notes in the appendices confirm that the deadline for responses is the 6th January 2011 — but note that responses to Q.9 specifically (“How can central Government best work with national infrastructure to support and deliver the Big Society?”) have an earlier deadline of the 25th November.

BVSC will be organising consultation events for the wider third sector.  BSSEC will contribute a response but we will probably focus on fewer than the full ten questions, emphasising those where we casn best make  the arguments for access to business support services.

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