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Forming consortia improves charities’ prospects, claims new report
July 20th, 2011 by Alun Severn
Consortia for the delivery of public services: the issues for small and medium-sized charities, a new report published by the Charity Commission, claims that consortia working can result in a range of benefits for smaller charities in particular, with some stressing that consortia working helped them gain access to strong peer support networks and helped them cost their services properly and operate in a more business-like way.
Do you agree that the consortia approach is the future for the third sector? Or are there too many consortia already, a situation which leads to conflict of interest. I was recently in a funding meeting in Birmingham where third sector organisations were being instructed they must form consortia to bid for new strategic funding. I looked around the room and realised that my own organisation already belonged to half a dozen consortia present in the room. What rationale does one use to decide who to work with, especially given the short time frames from funders to form consortia for particular pieces of work?
Is this approach leading to new elites within the third sector where the more astute organisations get the money, whilst the little local groups will get crumbs, if they are lucky?
What do you think? Is this about the goverment ultimately imposing more and more control over the third sector and effectively killing the growth of their own Big Society? Or is it about more effective and strategic working, networking and less duplication or reinventing the wheel? Is strategic working the only way for the third sector to survive, especially when we are in competition with the private sector and public sector for things like employment and training funding?