Baroness Eaton, Chairman of the Local Government Association, has told charities facing grant cuts that they should look for savings in management costs just as local councils themselves are.

Interviewed for The Times (£) she says:

“I think the bottom line is that when councils are having to look so closely at their expenditure then so should the voluntary sector .

“They do invaluable work but you can’t expect local authorities to have to trim and cut every overhead that is unnecessary but then not always apply that to the voluntary sector.”

She is quite right. While councils should seek to maintan total funding for voluntary groups there should be rigour. They should not just keep funding the same groups ever years. New ones should be given a chance. Decisions shoould not be on a basis of box ticking regarding health and safety or Equal Opportuities policies but on whether the groups keep their admin to a minimum and provide a really worthwhile service.

The Times report adds:

Sir Stephen Bubb, head of Acevo, which represents charity chief executives, said her accusations were rude and unfair. “It is outrageous that the leader of a large bureaucratic organisation has the audacity to tell us our costs are too high when they are much lower than any local authority,” he said. “It’s a slap in the face for our staff and volunteer workers, who are working hard to deliver essential council services.”

Bubb is a former Labour councillor in Lambeth who was surcharged and disqualified from office. According to his group, the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, gets 44%, £1,4 million, of its funds from the taxpayer but the true figure is probably much higher. It lobbies away giving Sir Steve a platform to sneer at the Government over their Big Society plans. But what tangible benefit does ACEVO provide?

I hold no brief for the LGA but for Bubb to complain about them for being a "large bureaucratic organisation" shows he is the one with audacity.

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