CFDG submits to the Comprehensive Spending Review

16th September 2010

The Charity Finance Directors’ Group (CFDG) has submitted a response to the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review asking the Government to work in partnership with the sector in order to, “actively seek ways it can aid voluntary organisations in creating sustainable futures.”

In recognition of the inevitability of public sector cuts, CFDG has focussed on encouraging Government to increase levels of partnership and communication with charities in order to avoid irresponsible funding cuts that weaken the sector, communities and the Big Society.  The response also highlights the importance of finding ways to improve the operating environment for charities in terms of regulatory burden, tax inefficiencies and unfair commissioning and procurement processes.  These areas are all important in order to ensure that charities are better equipped to work efficiently, innovatively, sustainably and independently.

CFDG’s Policy Manager Megan McInally said “the issues identified in our submission are reflective of cases that have been brought to us by our members.  We know that charities have been working hard to maintain high level service provision despite the impact of the recession on resources.  Admirably most of our members have been successful in this endeavour, remaining ambitious and striving for further development of their organisations.  However our research shows that sudden cuts, especially over 20%, that go even deeper than those that have already been put in place, do have the real potential to weaken the sector and are likely to seriously impact on beneficiaries and communities.”

In particular CFDG’s submission has highlighted concerns that the Government needs to do more to encourage better communication between local authorities and charities in order to distribute cuts in a way that does not disproportionately affect services that are currently provided in partnership with the charity sector. 

As key public service deliverers, charities are taking on a significant proportion of the strategic and decision-making process associated with public spending cuts.  Megan McInally added that “the issue for our members is that responsibility for restructuring is being immediately placed on their organisations, with local authorities looking first to external contracts before considering their own internal operations.  Frontline services are not protected by this process, neither is efficiency or value for money, and the people ultimately affected are those that are the most vulnerable in society.” CFDG have therefore asked for improved accountability, transparency and cost-benefit analysis to be applied not only to commissioning and procurement, but also to the process of cutting the funding of services or changing the terms of grants and contracts.  

As an organisation that works to support the charity sector in driving financial efficiency, CFDG would like to work collaboratively with Government to identify areas where their organisation can help enable the sector to embrace their role within the Big Society, grasp the opportunities that do become available, and work innovatively in order to adapt to changes in the way resources are allocated. 

- Ends -

Notes to Editors:

1.CFDG’s submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review can be found on the CFDG website.
2.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.
3. 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.

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