£6.25m government cash boost to help them work together,
communicate better and have a stronger voice in policy-making, home
office minister Fiona Mactaggart announced today.
The money will be used by organisations that help the
voluntary and community sector (VCS) make its voice heard
in policy-making, and help VCS organisations work together
and communicate with each other.
The programme is the first part of the government's £93m
investment in the country's voluntary and community organisations, to
enable them gear up to help shape and deliver high quality public
The money allocated today is to support two themes:
- Development work, to improve capacity and communications in areas
with very little or no voluntary and community sector
- 'Exemplar' work, both nationally and locally, to develop ideas and
proposals on building and sharing good practice, delivering support
services in new and innovative ways, and redesigning the way
services are delivered to improve sustainability, efficiency and
Ms Mactaggart said: 'To be full partners in shaping and delivering public services,
voluntary and community organisations need to have a strong voice on
policy-making and communicate well with each other. They need to have
the capacity to meet the challenges they face. These qualities should
be supported by a high quality, sustainable infrastructure. The
government is keen to see this developed - and these funds will help
to get the ball rolling.
'These new funds will break new ground, promote new ideas and create
partnerships - benefiting voluntary and community organisations in
every region. Government offices will work in partnership with the
voluntary and community sector and other key players to commission
local projects. They will also ensure that funds are alloca ted fairly.'
Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs minister Alun Michael said:
'The Home Office and DEFRA will be working together to ensure that
rural communities throughout England have infrastructure support as
strong as that available in towns and cities.'
- The deadline for proposals for national exemplar projects is 5.00pm
on Friday 9 January 2004. Successful national projects will be
announced by the end of January 2004.
- Local and regional work will be commissioned by government offices,
with funds available in the New Year. Contact your government
office from January 5 2004 for more information.
- The total £93m funding for the implementation of an
Infrastructure Strategy arising from the government's October 2002
cross cutting review on the Role of the Voluntary and Community
Sector in service delivery was announced by Ms Mactaggart on 17
September 2003 in a written ministerial statement (Home Office
press release 254/2003).
- The cross cutting review recommended that government and the VCS
develop a Capacity Building and Infrastructure Strategy to support
the VCS' role in influencing and delivering public services.
- The VCS Infrastructure consultation document is available here
Responses can be made to this document up to 22 December 2003.
- What is Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) Infrastructure?
VCS infrastructure organisations provide capacity building support to
voluntary and community organisations (VCOs). They represent VCO
interests and provide a voice for VCOs in policy making. They also
facilitate joint working between VCOs and across the public and
private sectors. Infrastructure organisations exist at national,
regional, sub-regional and local levels and may also be known as
'umbrella' or 'second tier' organisations. This is because they
provide support to 'firs t tier' or 'front-line' VCOs.
There are generic infrastructure organisations that provide support
to all VCOs within a particular geographic area. There are also
specialist infrastructure organisations that provide support to VCOs
working with specific communities/client groups or within specific
1. National Exemplar Projects.
The Active Community Unit is commissioning work and inviting
proposals for work managed at a national level or across two or more
regions. Approximately £1m is available to support bids in the
range of £10,000 to £75,000.
2. Development Projects and Exemplar Projects managed at local, sub-
regional and regional level.
There will be no bidding rounds. Government offices in the regions
will be managing funds and commissioning work, working in partnership
with the VCS and other stakeholders.
Local will normally mean local authority level.
Detailed information is available from your local government office.
'Early Spend' development work in local, sub-regional and regional
areas with very little or no VCS infrastructure, could include:
- Mapping and consulting local voluntary and community organisations
to produce evidence of capacity building needs.
- Strategically exploring local funding and income generating
opportunities with potential funders of infrastructure.
- Supporting partnerships (including cross-sector) to draw up
proposals for sustainable local infrastructure development.
The Home Office and the DEFRA will be working together to ensure
that rural parts of England have infrastructure support as strong
as that available in towns and cities.
- 'Early Spend' exemplar work will develop ideas and proposals on
building and sharing good practice, delivering support services in
new and innovative ways, and redesigning the way services are
delivered to improve sustainability, efficiency and effectiveness.< p/=""> This could include support for the following:
Successful infrastructure supporting the development of
infrastructure in weaker areas
Increasing collaboration and strategic working between infrastructure
bodies on policy, information andservices; building links between
generic and specialist infrastructure
Preparation of ideas and proposals for redesigning or developing new
models of delivery, including partnership working, feasibility
studies, and consultancy.
Exemplar projects can be at local, sub-regional, regional or national
DEFRA's policy paper on Community Capacity Building and Voluntary
Sector Infrastructure in Rural England is available here.
Responses can also be made to this document up to 22 December 2003.