Feedback from voluntary and community sector
Organisations present at the special engagement event included large county organisations such as Young Devon, national organisations such as the YMCA and the Scouting movement, and very local providers – including those with a small number of unpaid volunteers.
The perspectives expressed therefore varied considerably, but the following headline statements emerged from facilitated discussion of the questions above:
- There was clear frustration from some attendees that the commissioning of services by a local authority which is also a provider was not considered transparent or fair.
- Some attendees called for greater evidence from a needs assessment to determine what services should be commissioned, with contracts awarded for longer periods with clear outcomes required but less prescription on how the outcomes are achieved.
- Funding opportunities should always be disseminated to all interested parties at the same time. .
- Smaller organisations wanted a return to some grant funding of smaller amounts and there was a call for the return of BHLP (Budget Holding Lead Professional) and Youth Opportunities Fund.
- DCC should support external funding applications wherever possible, including practical help in de-jargonised plain English with reasonable timescales for application processes.
- Communication overall was seen as a priority between DCC and the voluntary sector, including the opportunity for local networking meetings between services.
- Diversity and equality concerns were raised by a number of attendees in particular the needs of young people in rural areas and the role of the third sector. Some attendees challenged the appropriateness of some services for diverse communities.
- There was much discussion around which services should offer what provision, but with no agreement on this. Some organisations considered that DCC Youth Service should provide targeted provision and that voluntary sector should provide more generic provision. Other organisations considered the total opposite ie voluntary sector should provide the targeted provision and DYS should undertake generic provision.
- Sharing of facilities and resources were highlighted as a way in which costs could be shared and better provision offered, including use of DCC human resources and payroll expertise.