A few years ago we ran a local funding survey. The results helped us show Scottish Government ministers and council leaders how many charities had received only one year of funding at a time when the sector had been promised three.
This led to me giving lots of anecdotal evidence to Holyrood’s local government and regeneration committee about what was really going on when our sector received grants and contracts, and helped inform the minister’s views on how charities could work best with local public body partners.
Since then we have helped those who responded to the survey share their learning with finance chiefs and other staff from local authorities. We’ve also had conversations with COSLA and others on the tricky business of designing commissioning in a way that achieves the best outcomes possible for people and communities in a sustainable and supportive manner.
All of this has increased the number of people in our public bodies who better ‘get’ the third sector.
What we don’t know is whether or not this has translated into improved funding practices across Scotland.
In light of austerity, further cuts to come, and the uncertainty from Brexit, the funding conversation is still as important as ever. If we can get commissioning right – through contracts, grants, or the latest co-produced whizzy funding formula – we will have a shot at ensuring that, in all our work where we receive support from public bodies, we do the best for those we support.
So please do fill in the survey. Help us make sure we have the evidence we need to keep on improving local funding in the coming difficult years.