GAVS chair Martyn Coe has sent another e-mail to Cllr Peter Brooks regarding the funding cuts, please see below.
I have now received the reply to my email from Frances Dolan re the above. Thank you for giving some more detail to the background to the DCLG proposals which GAVS and the sector does comprehend. What I was seeking to clarify, but may not have explained myself well enough in the previous email was the political reasoning behind the Council:-
a) proposing that a cut of 50% could be made to the Commissioning budget rather than the 40% saving indicated by DCLG
b) seeking much higher levels of cuts across the board in comparison with other councils in the area; most are proposing 25% as they are unwilling to align themselves with the central government strategy of shroud waving which may unduly raise concerns with the sector
The response I have received also raises one more issue. Is the voluntary and community sector seen as a stand alone service which could be deprioritised in comparison with other services? That is could the sector receive a disproportionately higher level of cuts than the rest of the council? Alternatively will voluntary and community providers be seen as part of a specific service area (e.g. homelessness) and so in this case the level of cuts imposed would be the same as that on the service as a whole? I would be grateful if you could advise which approach you are taking.
I know that these are sensitive issues politically, and it is difficult for any Council at this time to make any firm pronouncements because there is so much uncertainty. Providing a more detailed awareness of your current budget strategy would go some way to reducing concerns in the sector.
Whatever happens in October, it would be useful if next time we meet for us to discuss how the Council’s views on how it intends to work with the sector in the light of central government’s recent ‘Big Society’ announcements particularly in the area of provision of buildings for community use and increasing the opportunities for the sector to tender for contracts.
I look forward to receiving an early reply to this email as at the moment it is difficult for my staff to advise the sector clearly on your strategy.
I am out of the office for a couple of weeks but if you copy Naomi in to any reply we will be able to continue the conversation.