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Prioritise preventative spending to achieve greater change, charities tell MPs

The next government must prioritise preventative spending in order to address social problems and save money in the long term, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations said today.

The charity representative body said that a short-term approach to spending is failing communities and limiting the potential for real financial savings for the exchequer.

Launching its 2015 manifesto (PDF, 1.4MB), NCVO said future governments should adopt a 'ten-year test' by which spending decisions would be measured to assess their social and economic benefits over a longer period. Targets for preventative spending should also be introduced, along with a loan fund to allow public bodies to access capital for major preventative initiatives.

Highlighting the work of charities and volunteers in addressing social problems and supporting people and communities, the manifesto argues that they could make a bigger difference with a supportive policy environment and longer-term approach to public spending.

The manifesto follows a substantial consultation with NCVO's members last year.

Other recommendations for the next government include:

  • a major review of public service markets, to ensure charities are able to help design and deliver high-quality services
  • creating a Centre for Social Value to support commissioners and charities in making use of the new Social Value Act
  • simplifying the under-used Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme to ensure small charities can claim the money they are entitled to
  • establishing a fund to build on the success of the Paralympic Games by supporting disabled people to volunteer.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said:

'As we move towards economic recovery our priority must surely be taking steps to prevent greater costs to the public purse arising in the future. We can do this while supporting the people in society who most need our help by investing in services that address health and social problems before they become more serious. Charities and volunteers have long been at the heart of running such services and creating new and innovative ways to act early to change people’s lives for the better.'

David Robinson, chair of the Early Action Task Force, a cross-sector group promoting the role of preventative action, said:

'Acting early to prevent problems from arising rather than waiting and dealing with the consequences is common sense but not yet common practice. Only by planning and budgeting for the long term will government be able to invest properly in the vital preventative work of charities and public services, save money and improve lives all at the same time.'

For more information, please contact Aidan Warner, external relations manager, NCVO, on 020 7520 2413 /
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


NCVO represents the charity and voluntary sector, with over 10,000 members, from the biggest household name charities
to the smallest community groups. 

The Early Action Task Force, led by Community Links, is a cross-sector group of leaders working for a society that prevents problems from arising rather than one that deals with the consequences. Their latest report, Looking Forward to Later Life, is released today (Thursday 15 May).

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