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Consortia for the delivery of public services: the issues for small and medium-sized charities

5 Aug 2011 - 10:09 by michelle.foster

The Charity Commission is the independent regulator for charitable activity. This is one of a series of reports that draws upon independent research that they have commissioned, as well as their own internal data, knowledge and experience of working with charities.

The purpose of these reports is to help increase understanding of an issue. They are part of their mission to help charities maximize impact and comply with their legal obligations, to encourage innovation within the charitable sector, and enhance effectiveness.

The research report focuses on the experiences of charities that deliver public services by joining forces and working together as a consortium. Although only a minority of charities are involved in public service delivery, being commissioned to deliver services, usually by local authorities, is an area very much in the public spotlight at present.

The report aims to provide some timely insight into the opportunities and challenges that many charities are experiencing. Whilst it is for trustees to decide if consortia working is right for their beneficiaries, the principal concern as a regulator is ensuring that all charities operate within the charity law framework.

There are a number of messages that emerge from this report, and there are two that the Commission would like to highlight. Firstly, the benefits that may arise from working together with other charities, and secondly, the need for charity trustees to identify and consider seriously any risks they will need to manage if they decide to join or form a service-delivery consortium.

The Commission urge all charity trustees whose charities are considering consortia working to read, discuss and share this report.

To read the report, visit: www.charitycommission.gov.uk/Publications/rs26_consort.aspx.

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