William Eichler 26 January 2017

Welsh councils not getting ‘value for money’ from third sector

Local authorities in Wales have increased their investment in third sector services, but ‘poor arrangements’ mean they are not getting value for money, auditors find.

Reductions in Government funding have forced local authorities to look to the third sector to deliver key services.

A new report by the Auditor General for Wales found a 165.5% increase - £68.7m in 2001-02 to £248.8m in 2013-14 - in the amount awarded by local authorities to the third sector.

However, the report warned there were ‘inconsistencies’ in local authorities’ arrangements for funding the third sector which made it difficult to demonstrate value for money from this increased investment.

The report also said poor systems and arrangements for awarding and allocating monies to the third sector currently impose heavy burdens on organisations.

The Auditor General, Huw Vaughan-Thomas, recommended Welsh authorities use his self-evaluation tool to assist ‘in planning, managing and overseeing their work with the third sector.’

‘Wales needs a strong and effective relationship between local government and the third sector,’ Mr Vaughan-Thomas said.

‘With the likelihood of more services being delivered jointly in the future, we must ensure that partnership and funding arrangements are effective, efficient and are well run and continue to meet the needs of the many thousands of people who use and depend on them.

‘The recommendations in my report and the self-evaluation checklist provide local authorities with the tools they need to review and strengthen their joint work with the third sector and continue to serve the needs of the citizen both now and in the future.’

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