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Islington Voluntary Action Council
322 Upper Street, London N1 2XQ
Tel: 020 7226 4862
Fax: 020 7359 7442
Email: information@ivac.org.uk

Big Cuts - But IVAC carries on

AT ISLINGTON Council Executive Meeting on 10 April, Islington Council’s Executive made the decision to make a total of £436,000 worth of cuts to funding to the voluntary sector. Add this to cuts made in voluntary sector funding provided by the Play and Youth Service, and total cuts amount to nearly three quarters of a million pounds, on top of the two million plus
cut three years ago, and in the intervening years.

Many of the proposed cuts as set out in the Council’s paper, Partnership with the voluntary sector, were top slices across the board. There were 20 – 25 per cent cuts to arts organisations, 10 per cent cuts to community centres, 20 – 30 per cent cuts to nurseries’ ‘funding cushion’, 10 per cent cuts to black and minority ethnic groups, a 12.5 per cent cut to Disability Action Islington—but a couple of very large cuts were proposed, notably to Caxton House Community Centre (50 per cent), Finsbury Park Action Group (100 per cent) and IVAC (75 per cent). However, slight changes had been made to these proposals by the time of the meeting. To look at these papers in detail, you’ll need to go to the appropriate part of Islington council’s website: http://www.islington.gov.uk/democracy/reports/reportdetail.asp?ReportID=730

The report was introduced by Councillors Laura Willoughby and James Kempton, and changes to the original proposals (which can still be viewed below) were announced. These were:
1. The cut of 50 per cent funding to Caxton House Community Centre will be phased in over three years (one third of the cut each year).
2. Slight changes/improvements to proposed funding to nurseries (complicated to report - see link to paper above)
3. A cut of 20% instead of 25% to Shape
4. Finsbury Park Action Group (FPAG) to receive a 50% cut (£10,000) instead of a 100% cut (£20,000)
5. IVAC to be cut as proposed (75% - £90,000) but an additional amount of 'up to' £30,000 to be put aside to contract IVAC to provide 'partnership and capacity building services'.

Deputations were heard from IVAC, Islington Under Fives' Trust and Shape, and there was a lengthy discussion with questions taken from the floor, including FPAG, IVAC Executive Committee member Pat Haynes, and several Labour Councillors. Issues raised included the Compact (which the Council members and officers emphasised the importance of), the lack of financial need to make the cuts considering the Council's income and expenditure increase this year of over £20 million, the monitoring of the knock on effects of the cuts (particularly to matched income from other funders), the effect on the reduction of nursery places (which in the Council's view was a response to the lack of demand), and the relationship/partnership with the voluntary and community sector (which the Council insisted was a separate issue to that of funding).

All in all the Council felt they were making 'difficult but right' decisions, by targeting more resources at education and social services rather than the voluntary sector, and pointed out the new range of funding opportunities available to the sector, such as NRF and Surestart. Councillor Willoughby commented on how effective the consultation had been, using the example of how IVAC's response had shown them how their cuts would directly effect services to groups, which was why they were prepared to contract IVAC now for up to £30,000 worth of work.

The effect of the cut on IVAC's services will be:

1. Our compact work will cease in three months, as funding for this has been specifically withdrawn.
2. Current level of support for the BME Network will be reduced. However, we are looking for funding from alternative sources.
3. Charges for Finance services will be increased
4. Charges will be raised for specific training and development services
5. With the exception of funders, we will no longer send out complementary copies of Islington Community News (Although we will of course continue to send ICN to members and subscribers)
6. Statutory bodies will be charged for use of IVAC's online database, and for other specific work

All in all, the cut represents a 12% cut to our total income, and IVAC will be able to survive the cut and continue to provide quality services. IVAC’s support for small groups will continue, IVAC’s support for the Community Network will carry on, and with the exception of the above IVAC hope you notice no decrease in the quality and quantity of its services. IVAC are aware of a number of opportunities in the near future, and are confident that IVAC will continue to prosper.

Compact

IVAC continues to work on the development of the Compact between the Voluntary sector and the Council, and Islington Council are clearly very keen to get the Compact signed sealed and delivered – however, they no longer wish to fund the work around development and management of it. So at the council meeting we witnessed the bizarre situation where Islington Council manage to mention the Compact and its importance about five times in the same meeting where they vote to cut the funding to the post that has been working on the compact for the last 18 months. Funding doesn't run out until the end of June for this, but obviously this leaves little time, especially considering that there is still much work to be done on the codes of practice for funding, premises and BME groups.

The full document on Education and Regeneration Department cuts (ironically called Partnership with the Voluntary Sector) is downloadable by clicking here. To read IVAC's response click here.

IVAC's latest newsletter now online: go to Islington Community News page.

IVAC: promoting a thriving, effective, and influential voluntary sector in Islington.

Islington Voluntary Action Council (IVAC) is Islington's umbrella agency for the voluntary sector and the main provider of support for local voluntary organisations. The scale and diversity of the sector and the extent of the needs in the borough make these major tasks.

Islington is a deceptive borough. One could be deceived by national press coverage into believing that the borough consists of a cappuccino-swilling middle-class community regularly dining out in Granita with Tony Blair. The truth, however, for the majority of the Borough's population is entirely different. Deprivation indices show that Islington is the eighth most deprived borough in the UK. It is an inner-London borough with a multi-ethnic population and much social deprivation, including high unemployment, poverty and poor health. Statutory services are severely stretched and inadequate.

IVAC:

  • Provides information, consultancy, training, advice and support to Islington's voluntary sector.
  • Helps co-ordinate the voluntary sector, and promotes partnership within the sector, and with statutory agencies.
  • Represents the views of the sector to statutory agencies.
  • Targets its services particularly to groups which have experienced discrimination, or which have been excluded from access to services.

NJC Scales: Scales from April 2003 now available: click here

Annual Report:

To download IVAC's latest Annual Report click here.

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