Senior Development Officer for the Children and Young People Programme reflects on the current nature of funding in the sector.

It is without doubt the vital role that the third sector has in supporting disabled children and young people alongside their families, yet many organisations find themselves wrapped up in writing funding bids and waiting for decisions and that can alter future plans drastically or even hinder the ability to make the plans. As we continue to navigate through a challenging funding environment in the midst of a cost of living crisis and rising inflation, we must continue to champion the role of the third sector and see significant progress made towards achieving fair funding.

Our learning within the Children and Young People Programme at the ALLIANCE, although aware this will apply to many other workstreams highlights that for meaningful work to be applied and service delivery tailored to the needs of children, young people and their families the time taken to nurture relationships and build trust is essential. However, due to uncertainty with funding, posts are lost and this results in higher turnover of staff. In order to avoid this, organisations need longer term commitment and funding. Short-term funding takes time away from providing services that children and young people rely on or worse, service delivery is cut, leaving them without the support they need or being presented with a new service entirely, one they didn’t ask for or is not suited to their needs.

Short term funding streams create uncertainty and insecurity for third sector organisations, yet we’re stuck in this cycle. The workforce in the third sector needs to be and should feel valued for their contributions. Too often, we are seeing people leave the sector to take on employment with more job security and better wages. Recruitment and retainment are real challenges faced to the sector.

SCVO set out the principles of Fair Funding that were developed with Scotland’s voluntary sector and defines fair funding as a long-term, flexible, sustainable, and accessible approach to funding including, but not limited to, longer-term funding, flexible unrestricted funding, timely decision-making and payments, accessible application processes, sustainable funding with inflation-based uplifts, and proportionate, transparent approaches to monitoring and reporting.

It was heartening to hear Scottish Government’s commitment to delivering Fairer Funding by 2026 which was highlighted in the Scottish Government’s policy prospectus New leadership – A fresh start.

“As the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, working with my Cabinet colleagues, I commit that by 2026 I will have… Progressed Fairer Funding arrangements, including exploring options to implement multi-year funding deals, enabling the third sector to secure the resilience and capacity it needs to support the transformation and delivery of person-centred services for Scotland’s people and support our thriving social enterprise economy”. 

Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP

I’m sure I speak for many if not all, when I say that I hope this becomes a reality because right now it’s a huge area of stress, worry and concern not only for third sector organisations but for the people who rely on them.

Third sector organisations are a vital strategic and delivery partner across health and social care in Scotland; they are crucial in the longer term to ensure people get the right support at the right time.

End of page.

You may also like:

Written by: Grace Beaumont, Programme Manager - Self Management Published: 11/04/2024

Self Management Programme Manager Grace reflects on the fifteenth anniversary of Gaun Yersel, the Self Management Strategy for Scotland.

Continue reading
Back to all opinions