DCMS’s announcement on the release of £330m of dormant assets
NAVCA welcomes DCMS’s announcement on the release £330m of dormant assets, however we do not think this goes anywhere near far enough to address the longer term sustainability of charities, voluntary and community groups.
The release of these funds is a positive move, but in the last year the Commission for Dormant Assets identified a possible £1-2bn could be released, which to us suggests that the proposed £330m falls short in terms of the potential impact it could have in improving quality of life across many communities and vulnerable groups.
We commend the decision to target much needed support to initiatives around housing for vulnerable people, helping disadvantaged young people into work and financial inclusion, however we feel an opportunity has potentially been missed to invest in long term development of charities and local infrastructure. Whilst there is acute need for more support for key frontline services such as these, we also feel that capacity building and investment in back office functions and skills are also critical. Closing the digital skills gap for instance is one example where investment is needed across the whole sector. Investment in skills development, infrastructure support and evidence sharing across the sector will create a lasting impact that front line service provision alone cannot.
Additionally, with charities and the voluntary sector playing an increasing role in the delivery of health and social care, we also feel that there is opportunity to invest in charities, to change the public sector/voluntary sector commissioning playing field, so that true long lasting partnerships, that deliver long term eco-system wide changes are made.
The announcement is a move in the right direction, however finance to the frontline is not enough and a more holistic approach is needed to ensure that charities, voluntary and community groups are strong and well-equipped to deliver their valuable services and support.