Did you know that Birmingham City Council’s Partnership, Contract Performance & Third Sector Overview and Scrutiny Committee met today to consider ‘the health of Birmingham’s third sector’? Me neither.
So thanks to Judy Tullett and Ray Goodwin at Castle Vale TRA for the heads-up. (Apparently one has been following proceedings on BBC WM while on holiday and emailing the other their thoughts. I couldn’t possibly say which was which, but quite clearly the sector would be sunk but for the
sad lives selfless dedication of some its stalwarts.)
Today’s meeting was the culmination of a number of evidence-gathering sessions with wide third sector representation and involvement.
One of things that does surprise me is that the scrutiny committee has recommended that there should be a full, ‘forensic’ mapping of third sector provision by both ‘theme’ and geography, down to District level, and that local authority decision-making and strategic priorities require this.
Now granted, we do need better intelligence about who does what, and this is true of both the wider third sector and social enterprise… But what will such an undertaking cost? Who has the capacity to undertake it? Where will the resources come from?
Now, if I thought that the relatively well-funded Third Sector Research Centre could either undertake or contribute to this, I might feel differently…
The other thing specifically picked up on is the need for BCC and the sector to better understand and and respond to Social Value — something that the work we are currently doing, funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, will make a significant contribution to. We are currently working closely with BCC to develop its internal processes and procedures to support Social Value-based procurement and later this year will be producing support materials and workshops for social enterprises and third sector organisations in Birmingham that want to understand more about the practical implementation of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012.
More here on our Barrow Cadbury-funded project.
The Act (a complete PDF download as published by The Stationery Office).