We’re calling for Government to act quickly to support organisations who are delivering invaluable public services to some of the most vulnerable in our society.
Our letter, sent to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden MP, calls on Government to instruct all public bodies and commissioners – across central, local government, police, health and so on – to adopt the following strategies over the next three months as a minimum:
- Relax all contractual targets for grants or contracts with Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (VCSEs)
- Pay all outstanding and upcoming invoices promptly (within a week)
- Maintain open and honest lines of communication on the challenges and pressures our communities are facing – distancing does not mean no communication.
The letter states that civil society organisations are resilient, adaptable and well connected to the communities they serve. It says that the sector has the ability to be flexible, responsive and adopt new ways of working – and is committed to delivering the vital services that the most vulnerable people in this country need.
But, it says, the Government has a responsibility too; to make conditions no harder than they need to be, and exhibiting leadership, tolerance and forbearance in the use of the financial and commercial mechanisms at its disposal.
The letter says:
“We are aware that other sectors will need support, and we are not asking to be prioritised at others’ expense. But throughout and beyond this crisis, community and civil society organisations will need to survive as they will be instrumental to what will have to come after.
“A huge renewal of social action and social participation is going to be key to our national regeneration.”