- Minister for Civil Society’s open letter to the sector
- National Audit Office review of the Compact
- Consultation on neighbourhood planning regulations
- Care Quality Commission Report “Dignity and Nutrition”
- Welfare Reform Bill – universal credit briefing notes
- Work programme – report from NCVO
- Report on participatory budgeting
- NAVCA response to Open Public Services
- The State of Governance Support Today
- Charity news service resumes
- New Best Value Guidance (from NCVO)
- Future of Social Care (from NAVCA)
- Localism Bill – Updates on the “community rights”
Archivesback to top
Nick Hurd the Minister for Civil Society at the Cabinet office has written an open letter to voluntary and community sector setting out what he sees as the successes of the government in working with the sector including:
- Localism Bill
- Open Public Services white paper
- Giving green and white papers
- Transforming Local Infrastructure
- Reform of health & safety and vetting & barring
- National Citizen Service
- Community Organisers
- Renewed Compact
- Best Value Guidance
- Big Society Capital
- Social Impact Bonds
The National Audit Office is carrying out an examination of the work of government departments (so not local councils etc.) with regard to the Compact. It is interested in knowing about organisations’ experiences with government departments and “non departmental public bodies” – for example in funding or responding to consultations. Completed questionnaires 18th November – the questions and how to respond are available in Word and PDF formats or see some backgroundback to top
Part of the government’s new National Planning Framework, consulted on over the summer, and the Localism bill is the creation of Neighbourhood Planning. The Department of Communities and Local Government has now published a consultation on possible Neighbourhood Planning regulations. The consultation closes on 5th January and can be downloaded from DCLG website.
The department has also published an “Introduction to neighbourhood planning” setting out some background.
On a related matter, London Councils has issued a response to the proposed new National Planning Framework.back to top
You will be aware of the publicity following the publication of the Care Quality Commission’s report into dignity and nutrition in hospital care. There were some major concerns in the country as whole with only about 60% of hospitals inspected being fully compliant with required standards. The Princess Royal University hospital was one inspected but no concerns were found. You can download the full report (also available in sections) from the CQC website.back to top
The government’s welfare reform agenda continues with the Bill’s continuing progress through Parliament with further changes to benefits due to take effect in April 2012. The Department of Work and Pensions has published a series of briefings on how the new Universal credit will operate. You can follow the links to the briefings below:
- Universal Credit policy briefing notes – an introduction (18KB)
- Additions for longer durations on Universal Credit (25KB) (updated 12 September 2011)
- The payment proposal (25KB) (updated 12 September 2011)
- Treatment of Capital (28KB) (updated 12 September 2011)
- Contributory benefits (30KB) (published 13 May 2011)
- Second earners (42KB) (published 13 May 2011)
- Transitional protection (29KB) (published 13 May 2011)
- Carers (33KB) (published 12 September 2011)
- Foster carers (34KB) (published 12 September 2011)
- Treatment of income (other than earnings) (33KB) (published 10 October 2011)
- Childcare (31KB) (published 10 October 2011)
- Extending conditionality under Universal Credit to working claimants: setting a new conditionality threshold (39KB) (published 10 October 2011)
- Conditionality under Universal Credit: the work search and work availability requirements (50KB) (published 10 October 2011)
- Extending conditionality under Universal Credit to working claimants: safeguards within the new regime (38KB) (published 10 October 2011)
- Earnings disregards and tapers
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Another part of the welfare reform programme is the Work Programme – one of the new payments by results contracts. NCVO has published a report on its initial concerns. You can read it on the NCVO websiteback to top
Participatory budgeting is a process by which local communities have direct influence over decisions on local spending. The government sees this as an important part of the localism agenda. The Department of Communities & Local Government has published a comprehensive research report into participatory budgets. You can download it from DCLG websiteback to top
NAVCA has published its response to the government's Open Public Services White Paper, which sets out the government's plans to reform public services. The government sees it as part of their Big Society agenda. They believe it hands power to communities and ends the top-down 'government knows best' approach. Critics have called the plans "back-door privatisation".
The cuts have had an impact on the availability of resources and support to trustees and management committee members both locally and nationally.
- The Charity Commission may well reduce or withdraw from giving advice and support.
- There is no longer a Governance team at NCVO though the resources are still available on the website http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/governanceandleadership.
- The loss may be mitigated somewhat by the acquisition of Cass Business Schools' KnowHow Non Profit (http://www.knowhownonprofit.org/).
- The Governance Forum, which met about twice a year and looked at governance developments right across the third sector, and was hosted by NCVO, is in limbo.
- A major casualty for trustees of small organisations is Charity Trustee Networks (CTN), though the good news is that they have merged with the Small Charities Coalition (SCC) and the intention is that much of CTN's Trusteenet website (http://www.trusteenet.org.uk/) can be preserved and run by SCC (http://www.smallcharities.org.uk/).
Locally: Many local infrastructure organisations are facing a turbulent time with NAVCA reporting that more than half of its members have made cuts this year and the likelihood is of further cuts each year for the next three to six years.
- Online: Trusteelearning has secured funding until 2014 (http://trusteelearning.org/index.php)
- For advice and guidance around setting up, the micro site Get Legal is still invaluable ( www.getlegal.org.uk)
- Governance Pages (http://www.governancepages.org.uk) is currently unfunded and relying on volunteer input but will continue
(Article reproduced from governancepages.org.uk)back to top
Community Newswire, the service that helps charities get their stories in national and local media, has officially restarted after receiving funding for the next three years from the Big Lottery Fund. Run by the Media Trust, journalists select stories from press releases and photos that have been submitted, edit them and circulate to newsrooms across the UK. The Newswire feed and information on the service is at http://www.mediatrust.org/newswire/back to top
Earlier in September, the Department for Communities and Local Government published Best Value Guidance for all local authorities in how they should work with voluntary and community groups.
But what does it mean if you are funded by your local authority, what difference might it make? Melanie Carter, a partner at Bates Wells & Braithwaite, has written a short commentary on what the guidance is, its legal status, and how it might have an impact on any decision to cut funding.
You might also be interested in the joint consultation response from NCVO, NAVCA and ACEVO to the draft Best Value guidance from June 2011. (CLB also submitted a response.)back to top
Caring for our future: shared ambitions for care and support
The government wants your ideas about the priorities for improving social care, including increasing personalisation and choice, improving the integration of services and supporting greater prevention and early intervention. This will inform a Government White Paper due for spring 2012. The engagement exercise runs until 2 December. If you respond, please copy in Jon Burke, NAVCA's Health & Social Care Development Adviser. This way we can be aware of your views and ideas for the NAVCA response.
The Department of Communities and Local Government has published two new statements on the Community Rights in the Localism Bill, Right to Challenge (to begin a procurement process for) public services and Right to Buy Assets of Community Value (in reality a right to bid). They both give more detail of how the government proposes the rights will operate following the consultations, and amendments in parliament.