Motion calls on Northamptonshire County Council to extend funding to voluntary sector

The motion will be debated at County Hall this week
The motion will be debated at County Hall this week

A motion will call on Northamptonshire County Council to continue the funding of a contract that helps fund voluntary social services across the county.

Eleven organisations had written to the county council’s chief executive asking the authority to continue the ‘social wellbeing contract’ that expires in March 2020.

The letter was signed by Northamptonshire Age UK, The Autumn Centre, Catch 22, Dostiyo, Glamis Hall, Marlow House Welcomes, Mayday Trust, Midland Heart, Naash, Serve and ACA.

They all work under the Commsortia contract, which is worth £1.6million and handled by the county council’s public health department. The organisations say that not extending the contract will be ‘highly detrimental’ to 3,500 users of the services, and that half of the groups would cease trading unless alternative funding was located.

Now a motion from Labour councillor John McGhee will be debated at County Hall at Thursday’s full council meeting (November 21).

The motion calls on the council to ‘ensure that the funding is maintained to the voluntary and community sector in the county and specifically through continuing the £1.6million social wellbeing contract to the same level as this financial year and in 2020/21 to support local government reorganisation in the coming years’.

It adds: “This council recognises the value of Northamptonshire’s voluntary and community sector and the contribution it has made to support county council services. It recognises the immense preventative work undertaken across the county that have a direct impact on not only county council service users but county council services and their stated outcomes.

“The money the organisations receive from the county council ensures that they can provide these services viably.”

A spokesperson from Northamptonshire County Council has previously said: “Commsortia was awarded a three-year contract in 2017 to manage and improve social wellbeing services in Northamptonshire. This contract comes to an end, as planned, at the end of March 2020.

“Public health has been working with Commsortia, adult social care and housing partners to ensure that, as elements of this contract cease, appropriate alternative support is provided to those service users with on-going social care and housing needs. This will be supported by public health through a short bridging arrangement, subject to agreement by Commsortia.

“At the same time, public health has also working with wider partners and stakeholders, and will be consulting service users, to better understand the public health needs of wider vulnerable groups in Northamptonshire, with a view to developing a broader preventative offer for those most at risk of inequalities.

“It’s important that public health funding is prioritised against the areas of greatest need locally, addressing health inequalities and demonstrating value for money, as well as being fully compliant with public health grant requirements. The development of a new inequalities contract is part of an on-going improvement programme for public health.”