The creation of the Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector is important and timely. (See http://www.independencepanel.org.uk/) The voluntary sector’s independence is vital, and it will shape much of the discussion about the sector’s evolving role over the next five years. We were therefore delighted to be invited to make a submission to the Panel, based on our experience of the sector.
In our submission we have focused on the impact of commissioning, not because we believe it is the biggest issue for all organisations but because the changes currently underway or envisaged are likely to have a significant impact. This impact will affect public service delivery organisations directly but could have a much wider knock-on effect on how the sector overall is perceived.
However, in thinking about independence its worth remembering that changes in the voluntary sector are happening at a point where trust in charities and the voluntary sector is much higher than most other institutions. It has not had a systemic failure such as that witnessed in the banking sector, nor has it suffered a crisis such as the MPs expenses scandal or ‘Hackgate’ in the print media. We therefore remain optimistic about the sector’s future prospects. To read our full submission see independence%20panel%20submission