Tethered Fortunes

The recent publication Tethered Fortunes makes for grim reading. Written by Doctor Beth Kitson and others, it states unequivocally that the future of charities (large and small) will be directly impacted by the finances of Local Authorities. Much of the news lately has been about Local Authorities considering bankruptcy (the serving of a section 114 notice) as they try to stay afloat and continue to provide services to local communities amidst huge funding shortfalls in some cases. The talk of swingeing cuts across all areas of a Local Authority’s operation has been spoken of by council leaders across the UK: And of course, Northamptonshire has recent history regarding this. Set against a backcloth of a sharp and deep cost of living crisis, where more people are vulnerable than ever before more demand is certain, and its clear that many of the most disconnected will fall through the cracks. One would like to think that the VCSE could provide for these, but that’s uncertain in the current landscape.

The report also states that Local Authorities, who have historically been supportive funders of the VCSE, are beginning to disinvest. Disinvestment takes different forms: It can be seen through the operation of non – inflationary grants and contracts (effectively asking the VCSE to do more with less) or reductions in funding programmes (certainly asking the VCSE to do more with very much less).

The report also argues that when Local Authorities fail, the VCSE sector tethered to it is likely to fail also, and certainly takes years to recover post failure.

The report can be seen here

The solutions are complex. Asking the VCSE to disinvest from its traditional Local Authority partner is difficult, but in some cases it may be a route to survival. Diversifying a portfolio though (long in the making) is no easy task and can take years to achieve.

Providing more for less can only be sustained in the short term. Eventually the house of cards will topple.

If the report is too depressing to read in its entirety the conclusion page provides an excellent synopsis. Ultimately our communities and the people we all want to service will suffer, and that’s disappointing, frustrating and alarming for all to see.