CFDG welcome the Government's strategy for the Big Society

15th October 2010

Charity Finance Directors’ Group welcome the Government’s new strategy paper, ‘Building a Stronger Civil Society,’ which was launched yesterday at NCVO.  The broader principles and proposals outlined in the paper, such as the need to support efficiency, consolidation, innovative funding models and investment opportunities, have been advocated by CFDG for some time.

CFDG is particularly encouraged by the Government’s aims to modernise service commissioning and procurement processes.  In their 2010 Election Manifesto CFDG explicitly called for a streamlined commissioning process that is inclusive of charities at different levels of service design and delivery.  Charities will not be able to make the most out of the opportunities presented by, or play an active and constructive part in the Big Society, unless they are able to compete on a level playing field.  The drive for efficiency should not be used as an excuse to force charities to deliver services without full-cost recovery. 

Steps being taken to make the tendering and procurement processes more transparent are also strongly supported by CFDG.  However transparency cuts both ways; CFDG will not welcome local authorities cutting funding with little consultation and notice. 

Whilst the content of the Government’s commitment to the Big Society and to supporting a stronger sector, outlined in this paper, is encouraging, it is also important to remember that until the Comprehensive Spending Review on Wednesday 20th October, it is impossible to know what the extent and impact of the cuts will be. 

Caron Bradshaw, CEO of CFDG, attended the launch and said “there appears to be a genuine receptiveness about Government.  As finance professionals are at the centre of understanding what makes a great charity we have got a real opportunity to answer the call for new ideas.  I was pleased to hear Ministers confirm that they understand the sector will need help with adjusting to a new operating reality – we will press to make sure that the rhetoric is matched by action.”

CFDG looks forward to working closely with the Office for Civil Society on all matters relating to financial management of the sector - helping charities to improve in efficiency and supporting the creation a funding structure which is strong and sustainable.


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Notes to Editor:

1. CFDG is the charity that promotes best practice in charity finance management, supporting finance managers with conferences, training and a wealth of web-based information.  CFDG is also active in the policy arena, working on issues that affect charity finances.

2. CFDG’s circa 1700 members are responsible for the finances of charities with a wide variety of income levels. Between them our members manage some £17.4 billion in charity income per year, around half of the sector’s income.

3. If you would like to discuss any of these issues further please contact CFDG Policy Officer Katherine Smithson at katherine.smithson@cfdg.org.uk or on 0207 2508347

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