Best Value Statutory Guidance
NAVCA and our partners Locality, NCVO and Volunteering England have produced a joint briefing on The Best Value Statutory Guidance and how to use it.
NAVCA, ACEVO and NCVO have written a joint letter to all local authority chief executives to remind them of the need to follow the Best Value Statutory Guidance when reviewing voluntary sector budgets.
NCVO has also produced a Quick guide to challenging funding cuts.
Speaking at the 2011 NCVO annual conference, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles set out four "reasonable expectations of how Local Authorities will conduct themselves".
- they will not pass on disproportionate cuts to local voluntary and community groups, by inflicting bigger reductions to VCS budgets than they take on themselves
- they will have been talking to voluntary and community groups at a very early stage about how services need to change
- they will have given three months' notice or more when they think they need to end or alter a grant, or other support
- they use this three months to give local groups a chance to make their case and suggest alternative ways of redesigning or reshaping the service
These expectations are now enshrined in the Best Value Statutory Guidance published in September 2011. (This replaces the previous government's Creating Strong, Safe and Prosperous Communities: Statutory Guidance.)
Among the important issues covered in this one-page document are instructions to councils to honour local Compact commitments and not to impose disproportionate funding cuts on their local voluntary and community sector. Consequently, while neither the national Compact nor local Compacts have the force of law, being voluntary agreements, it has been suggested that their reference in the Guidance may have the effect of making breach of Compacts a breach of statutory guidance. A legal briefing on the Guidance is avaliable from our Empowering the Voluntary Sector service.
The government does not propose to define Best Value beyond what was set out in the Local Government Act 1999. Paradoxically, however, it does intend that provisions for Best Value should be implemented in the light of more recent discussions about environmental and social value; both of these terms figure prominently alongside economic value in the Guidance itself, the Localism Act 2011 and the Public Services (Social Value) Act.
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