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DCMS establishes programme to promote small charity commissioning

Small charities will be offered opportunities to secure public sector contracts under a new Public Services Programme announced by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The department will develop a Public Services Incubator, which will support charities in building relationships with commissioners and other providers and study the barriers charities currently encounter and how they can be overcome.

It also promised to create the role of a voluntary, community and social enterprise crown representative to champion commissioning practices that benefit small charities.

Rob Wilson, minister for civil society, said the proposals would “not only benefit communities but also help charities become more sustainable in the future”.

Furthermore, the department suggested looking at a kitemark for commissioners to show that they are committed to small charity-friendly commissioning.

Sir Martyn Lewis, the former news presenter, who will chair a voluntary sector-led group to implement the proposals, said: “Strengthening collaboration between small charities and commissioners has long been the aim of many in the voluntary sector.

“I am encouraged that the government is keen to support this and look forward to leading an implementation group with that purpose.”

Tony Armstrong, CEO of Locality, welcomed the proposals, adding that he hope this inspires the “step change across commissioning which is required”.

“We need services delivered at a local level, co-produced with communities and responsive to local need,” argued Armstrong.

He added that Locality would submit evidence and recommendations to the implementation group. Earlier this year, Jack Hunter of IPPR North wrote for PSE on how public bodies can help charities provide services.

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