The 2015 Project: Public Services


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The presentation is part of NCVO's project to learn more about how charities can work better with government, and how charities delivering public services can be supported to ensure the best outcomes.

Find out more about the 2015 project and tell us what you think:

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The 2015 Project: Public Services

  1. 1. Public Services How can charities make the case for good commissioning, early action and improving the way government works
  2. 2. This presentation covers the third of NCVO’s 2015 Project: public services. It explores three topics – how government works, early action and commissioning. The 2015 Project aims to stimulate discussion about what role charities can, and should, have in a number of areas. The feedback we receive will form the basis of NCVO’s work ahead of the 2015 election.
  3. 3. The role of charities in delivering public services The role of the voluntary sector in delivering public sector contracts has increased significantly in recent years. By being close to their users, charities have a unique perspective on their needs and how to improve services. Source: Exeter CVS, NCVO Photo
  4. 4. Early action Early action relates to the preventative measures that help alleviate social problems before they take place, or escalate. Source: Guardian For early action to be truly effective, it needs to have a joined-up approach to government departmental budgets, local authorities, and voluntary organisations.
  5. 5. Benefits of early action “Many of the costly and damaging social problems in society are created because we are not giving children the right type of support in their earliest years.” Graham Allen MP, Early Intervention: The Next Steps, 2011. Source: Young Minds Often early intervention is used in relation to children and early years – but it can be applied to many other areas (such as criminal justice, social care).
  6. 6. Revolving door Similarly to early action strategy, charities are expert at dealing with multiple problems, and tackling the root causes. The analogy of a revolving door policy relates to issues that people experience in cycles, and find it difficult to escape the ‘revolving door’ of problems. This can be seen in many areas of social policy.
  7. 7. How Government works Source: Telegraph With limited resources, it can often seem difficult for charities to navigate and gain access to the right decision makers in Westminster and Whitehall. A more joined-up approach to policy making could be achieved through the appropriate voluntary organisations, businesses and individuals being in conversation with officials during the decision making processes.
  8. 8. Government Consultations Used to hear the views of interested organisations on the potential policy proposals. Some issues with the current way consultations take place, these include: Timing • The time frames given to external audiences to respond in a meaningful way Meaningfulness • How useful are consultations for improving policy Frequency • High frequency of consultations could result in charities unable to take part, or take part fully • Decision makers could potentially miss out on an important, or different viewpoint
  9. 9. Open policy making There’s a trend towards more open policy making – with the Cabinet Office Open Policy Making team stating that “Whitehall should not have a monopoly on policy expertise”. Source: Telegraph * This is a real opportunity for the voluntary sector.
  10. 10. Work Shadowing By sharing experiences between government departments and civil society, both sectors would be more informed of each other’s work, ethos and challenges. For example - NCVO’s ‘A Day in the Life…’ work shadow scheme:
  11. 11. So what does this all mean? Some food for thought. The relationships between local and national governments with charities has changed in recent years – with more public services being commissioned to the public and voluntary sectors. If this trend continues, how will charities maintain their distinctiveness as organisations with clear missions? How will they differ from public bodies? There seems to be some consensus around the benefits of early action, but what can charities do to really make the case? Do government consultations work for anyone? Commissioning – What small changes are needed to improve the process to make for better services?
  12. 12. What next? If you have 2 minutes - We’d love to hear your ideas in relation to these big debates – contact If you have 10 minutes – Please read our discussion papers and blog posts on each topic, and respond to the questions. How government works • Open policy making is a huge opportunity for charities Early action • Why wait for trouble? The case for early action Commissioning • 10 small changes needed to improve commissioning
  13. 13. References Bond: Young Minds - The Government’s new Mental Health Strategy emphasises the crucial importance of early intervention in emerging emotional and mental health problems for children and young people. The Guardian: Local government plays critical role in early intervention Community Care: What is reablement? Age Cymru: The Welsh Reablement Alliance BBC News Compact Voice Early Action Task Force, 2012. ‘The Deciding Time’