You will be aware from our previous briefings that PAVO has been urgently seeking clarification with Powys County Council’s leadership regarding their intentions for the Local Authority’s 2019/20 budget and financial support for Community Groups and Voluntary Organisations. We understand that budget proposals, if implemented, would totally remove funding from most groups and severely reduce funding for others.
Representatives from PAVO’s Board of Trustees and Management Team have held discussions with senior leaders and managers from PCC.
It is clear that PCC is facing a very difficult financial situation. PAVO fully understands the reality of this and would not wish to argue that the third sector should be immune to the implications of this or be treated more favourably than is reasonable.
PAVO enjoys an important and significant working relationship with PCC and we have repeated our offer to work with the council in facilitating the involvement of our sector in identifying new, different and progressive ways of providing services that PCC will no longer provide.
Impact of Decisions
PCC has assured PAVO that impact assessments have been carried out in connection with the budget proposals. We have not had sight of these assessments, but understand they will be published alongside other information related to the proposed budget.
We are not aware of any current recipient of funding that has been involved in an impact assessment.
It is essential that a holistic impact assessment is executed in order to avoid adverse consequences. Cutting grants to community & voluntary groups may save money now, but could create increased demand on statutory services in the future, thereby making the financial situation worse and not better.
The vast majority of third sector groups use funding from PCC as a base from which to attract further funding. The return on investment is impressive and substantial – for every £1 invested in a voluntary sector group, Powys can receive up to £11 of service. If removal of a core grant puts the viability of the organisation at risk, Powys loses the totality of the financial, fiscal, economic & social value of the service. We could cut end up shooting Powys in the foot.
It also seems that spending on community and voluntary services that support the work of statutory services is being squeezed.
Existing contracts with individual voluntary organisations are being combined into single contracts, often of lower value, and put out to competitive tender to secure ‘best value’. There are also signs of an aspiration to divert current contractual spend on services provided by voluntary organisations into spending upon PCC provided services.
PAVO continues to pursue all these issues with the Local Authority and through Powys’ multi-agency partnerships.
However, if you have concerns about PCC’s Budget for 2019/20 and the impact it may have on your organisation and community, we strongly suggest you raise them with your local County Councillor(s). Their contact details are available at: https://en.powys.gov.uk/findmycouncillor Should you wish further information about the issues covered in this Briefing, please contact us on 01597 822191 or info(at)pavo.org.uk