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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

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Council confirm funding extension after “typo” which raised fears about future of capital’s third sector

This news post is over 1 year old

Fears had been raised about the implications of multi-million pound cuts that were outlined in budget savings.

Council officials in Edinburgh have admitted a “typo” caused “distress and anxiety” for communities after papers warned of multi-million pound cuts to the city’s third sector.

Proposed savings that could have seen Edinburgh’s third sector take a hit as part of slashed budgets have been revised, with funding extended to voluntary organisations across the city. 

Last week TFN reported that multi-million pound funding cuts, proposed by City of Edinburgh Council, could hit the capital’s third sector hard

Representatives from voluntary organisations warned the future of organisations could be put at risk, with concerns also raised by councillors sitting on the council’s Finance and Resources Committee. 

The proposals originally claimed that £1.1m could be saved by April 2025 if councillors agree to carry out a review “services purchased from partners, along with grants paid to third sector organisations” to “ensure that Best Value is achieved and that areas of duplication are minimised.”

The report noted that there would be an impact on “Statutory Partner Agencies and Third Sector organisations and their staff; children, young people and families living in communities across Edinburgh who benefit from accessing these services”.

The council also suggested that £4.4m could be saved by April 2028 by reviewing “some external funding to third sector partners” to “ensure better, strategic use is made of Pupil Equity and Strategic Equity funding”.

However, at a meeting on Tuesday - following the issue being raised - a clarification was made by council officials, who told councillors at the committee that Third Sector funding will be extended for a period of seven months to allow for a transition. 

Councillors noted that often third sector groups are outperforming third party and private groups, and that savings will be made through reducing duplication. 

Third party revenue streams have now been extended for a year, with “no prospect at all” of a million pounds being taken out in a year.

A council officer said that they would work with Third Sector Interface Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations' Council (EVOC) to underline where expertise and services are provided. 

The council officers claimed this was a “typo”, which had caused a great amount of “distress and anxiety” - committing to no third sector provision being cut until new provision is up and running. 

The council said that there was some duplication, and that once the needs of communities have been identified they would look to achieve savings through private groups - not through the third sector. 

Councillor Mandy Watt, finance and resources convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said at the meeting: “It is quite clear that what we are looking at is third party and other contract spend to see where our third sector partners are doing that, doing it better, and outperforming. I’m really glad we’ve been able to clear that up in committee.”

She added: “The immense value the third sector brings to our services and communities is clear for all to see. 

“This was recognised by our Education, Children and Families Committee last week when they took the decision to protect third party grants for at least another 12 months, and again today by members of the Finance and Resources committee.

“I was pleased to be able to confirm this extension with EVOC and the other third sector organisations who contributed so constructively to the meeting today. Despite the challenges we all face, there was a real sense of positivity and willingness to collaborate going forward.

“It’s in all of our interests to offer the best and most targeted support in the most sustainable way, particularly in the current climate, and we remain absolutely committed to working with them and other partners to deliver the best outcomes for our residents within the limited resources we have available.”

The decision taken by the Education, Children and Families Committee was on Tuesday 31 January, with £2.2million “protected” for another 12 months.