Local Authority Relationships

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The relationship between the VCS and local authorities has become much closer over the last 10-15 years, as the strategic role of the VCS in shaping outcomes for the benefit of diverse communities becomes more recognised. The relationship is complex and conflicting with varying experiences between trust and mistrust, co-development and arm’s length relationships and strategic partnerships vs subordinate recipient and participant relationships.

The current drive to greater localism during a period of national austerity will require a further shift in the relationship dynamics between local authorities and the VCS. Identifying local need, targeting resources effectively and protecting those most vulnerable underpin the need for a better working relationship moving forward.

The difficulties lie in managing the dual role of the VCS. Firstly as strategic partner – a sector able to inform and shape better public services, against the secondary role of service deliverer and possible recipient of public funds.

This section provides information on how the relationships between local authorities and the VCS can be improved and strengthened. The section is informed by our March 2011 ‘Big Event’ conference Particular areas of focus include:

  • Local Enterprise Partnerships
  • Grant funding and investment
  • Community engagement in planning
  • Health & Wellbeing Boards
  • Intelligent commissioning
  • Community Asset Transfer

Half of local authorities made disproportionate cuts to VCS

Half of local authorities in England reduced the amount of grant funding to the voluntary sector between 2011/12 and 2012/13 disproportionately, compared to the amount their own budgets have been reduced by, according to research from Compact Voice.


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