Big funding cuts proposed for children's services in Fife
Fife Council's Education and Children's Services Committee met on 27 March to discuss, amongst other things, funding to the voluntary sector in Fife for the provision of services to families and children under 12 years old. Under 12 services have been under review for the past couple of years - both Fife Council provision and external, third sector provision. Colleagues in the sector have been involved in the review but were not made aware of any potential cuts until last week - just days before elected members were due to decide on significant cuts.
Some organisations have very recently (as part of the review) been asked to increase the amount of work they do and, with just days before the new funding period, received a letter to say their grant was being cut by 7% - considerably more than the 1% cuts that were anticipated. According to officers, Fife Council services are under similar pressure and will be cut in the next financial year too.
Elected members chose to defer the paper on cuts to the May meeting of the Committee (scheduled for Tuesday 22 May).
Fife's Voluntary Sector Children's Services Forum met on 28 March and discussed the review and process at length. FVA has been asked to collate information from voluntary sector organisations and Fife Council so that we (the Forum members) can sit down and discuss the difficult financial climate and come up with suggestions on a way forward, in partnership with Fife Council.
Funded organisations will receive an e-mail from FVA in the first week in April to seek some information and intelligence to shape those discussions.
We do not believe voluntary organisations can sustain cuts in the region of 10% (funding cuts and real term cuts in terms of inflation) - particularly in the face of increased demand - without risks to the service and families we support. Rhona Cunningham, the chairperson of the Forum said "We did expect some cuts, but these are huge cuts and have come without any dialogue or warning. We're keen to work in partnership with all interested parties to make sure we achieve a fair outcome for all, particularly those vulnerable families and children we work tirelessly to support".
To find out more about the work FVA is doing to support this issue and to be included in the discussions please contact Kenny.