Public Services

  • NCVO today announces its current head of policy, research and foresight, Karl Wilding, has been appointed director of public policy, to succeed Ben Kernighan who leaves to become chief executive of NUS in June.

  • All future health and care plans should be produced in collaboration with the voluntary sector, review urges

    Recognition of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector’s potential in health and social care is vital but still limited, a new report finds. While there are examples of positive local partnerships, the difference that these organisations can make is not consistently understood.

  • Charities and social enterprises should be deeply involved at every level of the health and care system, according to a new report backed by Alistair Burt, Simon Stevens and Duncan Selbie.

    • NCVO’s Road Ahead advises charities to prepare for another financially challenging year
    • A combination of Brexit uncertainty, tight government budgets and a slow economy will continue to add pressure on beneficiaries and front-line services
    • NCVO’s annual PEST analysis of drivers for the sector provides food-for-thought for charities preparing for 2019  

    The ongoing negotiations on a withdrawal deal will continue to create an uncertain economic environment, making accurately forecasting the UK economy difficult, the 2019 edition of NCVO’s future-gazing report series, Road Ahead, predicts. It highlights growth predictions from the Office for Budget Responsibility of just 1.6% for this year, significantly lower than many of our European counterparts.

  • Organisational culture and behaviours are having a negative impact on the sector and its beneficiaries by undermining sustainability as well as the trust between service-providing charities, the emerging findings of a new project suggest.

  • The government’s new civil society strategy has delivered a range of positive announcements, but implementation will be key, said the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, which represents charities and volunteering.

  • NCVO, ACEVO and Lloyds Bank Foundation are working in partnership on a project focusing on competition and collaboration between organisations bidding for public service contracts. The project, Rebalancing the Relationship, was launched in March 2019.

    Rebalancing the Relationship

    The project partners are working together to explore how to rebalance the relationship between large and small voluntary organisations.

    Due to commissioning and bidding practices, as well as a move towards fewer, larger contracts, larger voluntary organisations are more likely to receive government funding. In 2015/16 voluntary organisations with incomes of £10m to £100m received the greatest amounts and proportions of income from government, with 84% of local government funding going to larger voluntary organisations. This has affected the sustainability of local voluntary sectors and raises concerns as to how voluntary organisations compete, collaborate and coexist.

    We want a system that allows a range of voluntary organisations to deliver high quality services, enabling the distinctiveness of large and small voluntary organisations to flourish and play their part.

    The project plans to look at the issues in the round and consider the wide range of factors that influence the way voluntary organisations behave, as well as the wider commissioning and funding environment affecting them. Although the project will consider the wider commissioning environment, we will focus on how organisations themselves can take action.

    Project information

    The following individuals will form a steering group to steer the direction of the project.

    • Polly Neate, CEO, Shelter
    • Mike Dixon, CEO, Addaction
    • Sue Bott, Deputy CEO, Disability Rights UK and representative of the Win Win Alliance
    • Julian Blake, Partner, Stone King
    • Priya Chopra, CEO, Saheli
    • Elaine Handley, CEO, North Derbyshire Alcohol Advice Service
    • Jake Ferguson, Hackney CVS

    The group will be chaired by Karl Wilding, Director at NCVO, and Kate Welch, Trustee of ACEVO and Director of the Acumen Development Trust.

    We will also convene an advisory group to draw on a broader range of perspectives and expertise. We have asked organisations to contact us if they are interested in being on the advisory group. 

    The call for evidence closed on 24 July, but you can participate in the project by getting involved in events that will run until the autumn.

    Call for evidence and research Spring/summer 2019
    Launch of interim findings and workshops to develop recommendations Autumn 2019
    Consultation on recommendations Winter 2019
    Launch of recommendations and supporting resources Early 2020

    Lloyds Bank Foundation are providing a grant of £85,700. NCVO will receive £62,000 and ACEVO will receive £24,000. NCVO will contribute £22,000 in kind.


    Please check this page for information about future events.


    Rebalancing the relationship between large and small voluntary organisations

    Press Releases

    New project aims to rebalance the relationship between large and small voluntary organisations bidding for contracts

    Stay in touch

    If you want to stay up to date with the project and how you can participate in the research and engagement activities, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also follow us on twitter @NCVO @LBFEW @ACEVO #RebalancingTheRelationship.

    Please see our privacy policy to see how we store your data. Data shared with NCVO will be shared with ACEVO and Lloyds Bank Foundation where necessary for the running of this project. Any data we collect will only be kept for the life of the project. Please follow these links to access ACEVO and Lloyds Bank Foundation’s privacy policies.





  • The government’s response (PDF, 363KB) to the consultation on Transfer of Undertakings Regulation (Tupe) was published today.

  • Ahead of the launch of Volunteers’ Week 2021, 1-7 June, new research has revealed a far more mixed impact from the pandemic for charities and volunteer numbers than many headlines have suggested. The research also reveals increased positivity among charities, greater diversity among UK volunteers, and the rise of the digital volunteer.


  • A new Code of Practice published today by NCVO aims to improve the relationships between prime and subcontractors in public services.

  • ​Communities and Local Government Committee report calling on all councils to let contracts on the basis of wider social value rather than lowest price is a timely nudge, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations says.

  • The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has commented today on the CBI’s Open Access report.

  • Commenting on the Scottish independence referendum result, Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, said:

    ‘Despite the no vote, we can expect to see the political settlement in the UK shift at a rapid pace. As greater devolution takes shape in Scotland, the demand for devolution throughout England will inevitably pick up. This is likely to affect how any number of state services are run and governed. We have seen change in this area recently, such as the introduction of clinical commissioning groups and police and crime commissioners. Charities will need to be prepared to work with more and more different and new structures in order to represent the causes they work for.’ 

  • Commenting on today’s announcement by the Ministry of Justice on the providers of rehabilitation services across England and Wales, Sir Stuart Etherington said:

    “Specialist charities, many involving dedicated volunteers, can make all the difference to the lives of people leaving prison and help reduce reoffending. It’s pleasing to see that after consulting widely with the voluntary sector the Government has taken on board some of the lessons of the Work Programme – particularly in terms of programme structure and supply chain management.

  • The poor performance of the Work Programme in getting harder-to-help jobseekers into work demonstrates there is a need for the government to work more closely with charities and service users when designing contracts, says a new report by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).

  • Commenting on today's announcement by the minister for civil society of a package of measures to help tackle the challenge of getting small charities into the public services supply chain, Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said:

    Opening up public services commissioning to smaller charities will lead to better outcomes for the people who depend on them. The expertise of charities helps create caring, responsive and efficient public services.

  • NCVO says the unusual two-year parliamentary session and the arithmetic of a hung parliament means there will be significant scrutiny of legislation, giving charities an opportunity to influence in areas that matter to them.

  • A major new project aims to rebalance the relationship between large and small voluntary organisations in public services. 

    Collaborative work between NCVO, ACEVO and Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, will explore how voluntary organisations of different sizes can work better together in bidding for and delivering public services. 

  • Local government and local health commissioners are under growing pressure to solve social problems. Arts and culture organisations can play a much more central role in helping to address these problems, according to a new report published today. The NPC-authored report, produced as part of the Cultural Commissioning Programme, argues that commissioners and cultural organisations alike must be bold in seizing this opportunity.

  • The Government’s Open Public Services agenda, announced last year, encourages the voluntary sector to bring innovation to local services, but there are significant barriers which hamper this reality according to a new report launched today.

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