Exploring the impact of public expenditure cuts on the voluntary and community sector in London.

London Funders' Publications

Social Fund-delivering at London level
(2012) A report of our meeting in partnership with Child Poverty Action Group and the Association of Charitable Foundations exploring how local authorities can fulfil their new duty to deliver crisis loans and community care grants to the poorest and most vulnerable people in London.

A perfect storm: changes to the funding of the advice sector 
(2012) A London Funders meeting exploring the crisis facing advice in London and also strategies for funders and advice services to maintain and improve income.

There’s nothing to fear from a postcode lottery
(2011) CCLA sponsored Powerful Ideas No 4, Tony Travers, Director, Greater London Group, London School of Economics and Political Science

BAME groups and the recession
(2009) Meeting of London Funders and MiNet

How are you handling the cuts?
(2010) Learning from Funders No 2

Recession Survey
(2010) How the recession is affecting funders and their funded groups.

The recession: we're all in it together
(2009) Day Conference on the impact of the recession in London

Strategies for funding the voluntary and community sector in London
(2009) Meeting covering action following the recession; NCVO's Funding Commisssion

External Publications

Big Squeeze 2012: Surviving not thriving
LVSC's Big Squeeze report is the analysis of extensive survey results from the VCS in London and a timely reminder of the impact of the economic and policy climate on the VCS and the people that use their services. Executive Summary here; full report here.

Budget focus: What was hidden in the numbers for charities?
Charity Finance Group (March 2016)
A blog warns of further cuts to public services, highlights the dangers of household debt levels and stresses the loss of income from business rates for local governments.

Challenging cuts – Investigating the response of charities to frontline service cuts
NFP Synergy (January 2016)
This report explores how charities and communities have been responding to frontline service funding cuts, both from local and central government. Is there evidence that charities have been working together in the face of adversity​? What can domestic charities learn from overseas development charities and the way they have managed to have the overseas aid budget ring-fenced? Looking to the future, the report questions how charities might prepare for further cuts.

Community and voluntary services in the age of austerity: UNISON voices from the frontline
Unison (November 2013)
Trade union Unison, which has a strong voluntary sector presence, has published this report. Based on member input, it "lays bare the impact of austerity on services provided by the community and voluntary sector and on the workers [with] a deep personal commitment to the people they support", and also makes a number of recommendations. See the website or download the document

Coping with the cuts
Demos has developed an index which reveals how cuts to social care budgets are affecting disabled people across the country and which local councils are best managing budgetary changes. There is a brief profile of each borough in England and Wales. 

Coping with the cuts? Local government and poorer communities
Annette Hastings, Nick Bailey, Kirsten Besemer, Glen Bramley, Maria Gannon and David Watkins (November 2013)
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) commissioned this paper as part of its programme on austerity, which aims to track, understand and highlight the effects of policy changes, tighter public spending and the state of the economy on poor people and places.  

Counting the cuts: The impact of spending cuts on the UK voluntary and community sector
In response to the government’s Spending Review, this NCVO report analyses the Government’s projected spending plans for the Spending Review period 2011-15. The report offers an estimate of where, how, and how much the cuts from Government in public spending already are and their likely future impact.

Despite cuts to housing benefit, claimants are remaining in London
Trust for London (May 2016)
A blog analysing the effect of cuts on housing benefits claimants in London

Efficiency in the criminal justice system
Public Accounts Committee (May 2016)
The report says the criminal justice system is close to breaking point. Lack of shared accountability and resource pressures mean that costs are being shunted from one part of the system to another and the system suffers from too many delays and inefficiencies.

Evaluation of the Reducing Social Isolation and Loneliness Grant Fund
OPM Group, August 2016
This report presents the findings from the evaluation of the Reducing Social Isolation and Loneliness Grant programme. The programme was commissioned and funded by North, Central and South Manchester Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), and administered and managed by Manchester Community Central (Macc). The evaluation has been undertaken by the Office for Public Management (OPM), an independent not-for-profit research and consultancy organisation, commissioned by the CCGs and Macc.

From crisis to mixed picture to phoney war: tracing third sector discourse in the 2008/9 recession
Research Report 78, Third Sector Research Centre, 2012
This report outlines the shift from the initial rhetoric of crisis to a ‘mixed picture’ discourse, which accommodated a lack of evidence about the impact of the recession. That impact has proved to be long-lasting, extending well beyond the initial crisis, but it is being played out in a very different political context, characterised by deep public spending cuts, a downsized Office for Civil Society, and changing relationships. Briefing paper also available here.

Funding local voluntary and community action
NAVCA, 2012
Local state of the sector reports by NAVCA members for an overview of the impact of cuts on local charities and community groups. Also findings of a NAVCA members’ survey showing how cuts are affecting the support available to local charities. Demonstrates disproportionate impact of cuts on children and young people’s organisations.

Hard Times, New Directions? The Impact of the Local Government Spending Cuts in London
Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE (2013)
Part of the Social Policy in a Cold Climate project, this report contains an independent estimate of the size of the cuts to local government budgets; London local government has taken a 33% real terms cut in service funding from central government between 2009/10 and 2013/14.

The impact of funding reductions on local authorities
NAO (November 2014)

The National Audit Office has found that local authorities have coped well with reductions in government funding, but some groups of authorities are showing clear signs of financial stress. It also reports that the Department for Communities and Local Government has a limited understanding of authorities’ financial sustainability and the impacts of funding cuts on services.

Impact of the economic downturn and policy changes on health inequalities in London
UCL Institute of Health Equity, 2012
Analysis of the results of the continuing economic downturn and government welfare cuts on health inequalities in London up to 2016. The full report, and additional information about a set of indicators for use by local authorities in measuring the impact of changes, is available here.

Is the federated model for national charities now under threat?
Public Sector matters blog, PWC (January 2016)
An article suggests this is the case for charities that face competition from private sector or other organisations with national scale. Some federated charities are finding that the number of members is reducing each year as some of the financially weaker member charities merge or fail.  Local boards of trustees and management teams are increasingly stretched, with limited time to respond to strategic challenges.

Local authorities and child poverty
Child Poverty Action Group, 2013
A UK-wide summary of the current programme of welfare reform and its impact on household budgets, including a tabulated list of each reform with its implementation date and the client groups affected, examples of ways in which local authorities are managing the reforms at local level, and of borough-wide strategic development, concluding with recommendations from local to central government. 

Local welfare provision
National Audit Office (January 2016)
Since 2013, central and local government have reduced overall spending on discretionary support to help people meet urgent needs for food, heating, clothing and essential household items, according to this report from the National Audit Office.

The Department for Work & Pensions paid grant funding of £347 million to single-tier and county councils for 2013-14 and 2014-15 to provide local welfare provision after the government abolished crisis loans and community care grants. Four-fifths of councils did not spend all the funding they were given on local welfare provision in 2013-14, and one quarter did not expect to spend it all in 2014-15. The Department also spent less on the discretionary advances and loans it continued to provide after April 2013.

Managing the welfare cap
National Audit Office (April 2016)
This report examines the government’s approach to forecasting and managing the welfare cap.

Nowhere to turn? Changes to emergency support
The Children’s Society, 2013
Report on changes in the resources available for emergency needs of the poorest households, describing the beginnings of local welfare assistance schemes set up by local authorities.  

Paying the Price: Single Parents in the Age of Austerity
Gingerbread (December 2013)
This report shows that single parent incomes dropped by 6% between 2010/11 and 2011/12, falling further behind those of couple families which have, on average, not changed. Other findings include:
• Single parents have been hit hard by the rising costs of household essentials, which make up a third of their spending, compared with a quarter of couple families’ spending.
• More than half (55%) of the single parent families polled by reported running out of money before the end of almost every week/month.
• Over the next two years, single parent families are set to lose more of their net income from spending cuts than any other family type.

Preparing for cuts
A report by New Philanthropy Capital which looks at how funders can respond to current changes and support charities through the challenging times ahead. It also suggests ways in which charities can put themselves in a stronger position to cope with the impact of the cuts, for instance by adapting their strategies or partnering with other charities or private sector providers.

Redesigning social security, for the 2020s
Fabian Society, August 2016
For six years of the Cameron government ‘austerity’ dominated all discussion of benefit policies. Now it is time to turn a page and start to consider the long-term future of social security, as part of a strategic agenda for raising British living standards following the UK’s decision to leave the EU. Politicians need to find the confidence to argue that generous, well-designed benefits for non-pensioners are essential for a fairer, more prosperous future. Social security for pensioners is now on a strong and sustainable footing.

Running on fumes: London council services in austerity
Centre for London (November 2015)
Public services in London face tough times. Over the past five years, London boroughs have absorbed real terms funding cuts of 44%, while the capital’s population and their needs continue to grow. This report provides an overview of how London boroughs’ spending has changed over the past five years, and looks ahead to the potential impact of the next phase of cuts. The report goes onto question whether these approaches will continue to bear fruit if the next phase of cuts is as severe.

Sleepless nights: accessing justice without legal aid
Toynbee Hall (November 2015)
In response to the need for a client-based perspective, Toynbee Hall and Middlesex University conducted primary research to examine the impact of legal aid cuts on people’s lived experiences. Based on data from in-depth interviews, surveys and two sets of service evaluation, this research suggests that seeking justice without legal aid is a precursor to sleepless nights – feeling stressed, powerless and unable to get on with life.

The Spending Challenge: How to cut spending while maintaining quality
Institute for Government, September 2016

The Government faces a huge spending challenge. While it has made clear that it is prepared to borrow more than planned should the economy deteriorate, Prime Minster Theresa May has also committed herself to continuing George Osborne’s cuts to day-to-day spending. As she has set herself against substantial tax rises, such cuts remain the only long-term way to balance Britain’s books.

At the same time, none of the pressures on public services have gone away. The performance of key parts of the NHS, such as A&E, is still declining. The pressures on areas as diverse as social care or the prison service remain both obvious and severe. Meanwhile, polling shows that the public’s appetite for further austerity appears to be declining.

This briefing paper examines the options that the Government has for reducing spending while maintaining the quality of public services.

Social Policy in a Cold Climate
Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics, 2013
A set of reports from a programme of research to examine the effects of major economic and political changes in the UK from 2007-15, particularly their impact on the distribution of wealth, poverty and social mobility. These reports cover the period up to 2010.

Tough Times
Audit Commission, November 2011
Analysis of local authorities’ responses to the challenging financial climate, summarising the extent of cuts, the immediate impact and risk factors.

The UK’s youth services: how cuts are removing opportunities for young people and damaging their lives
Unison (August 2014)
UNISON’s research, based on data provided in response to a Freedom of Information request from 168 local authorities across the UK, shows that youth services lost at least £60 million of funding between 2012 and 2014. The report finds that more than 2000 jobs have been lost in that period; around 350 youth centres have closed as a result of the cuts; 41,000 youth service places for young people have been cut; and at least 35,000 hours of outreach work by youth workers have been removed.

Updated cuts report
LVSC, 2012
Analysis suggests that London's voluntary and community sector was disproportionately cut in 2011-12 compared with national government cuts to London's local authorities, in breach of current Best Value Duty guidance.

Welfare reform voices from the voluntary sector
NCVO (January 2016)
Research carried out by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has found that voluntary organisations such as cancer charities, homeless shelters and advice services have experienced greater demand for their services as a result of welfare reforms.

The report reflects on the experiences of voluntary organisations and the extent to which the government’s objectives of simplifying the benefits system, protecting the most vulnerable and incentivising work are being met.

According to the report, a rise in demand for voluntary organisations’ services during the welfare reform period was coupled with cuts to government funding for charities of £1.7bn from 2010-11 to 2012-13.

When the going gets tough
Sarah Hedley and Iona Joy, New Philanthropy Capital, 2012
This report draws on a survey of the largest charities that earn at least part of their income from public sector contracts, to elicit hard-hitting, if not unexpected, messages. 62% of charities surveyed expected to dip into reserves to survive or have already done so; 73% either plan to make staff redundant in the next 12 months or have already done so; 65% have cut or planned to cut front-line services. Over 90% believe they face more risk in the current commissioning environment than before, the result of new funding mechanisms as well as cuts in third sector income. The report offers lessons for commissioners and charities and examples of adaptation to the new environment. Concerns include cash flow problems arising from impractical payment arrangements, competition from the private sector and squeezed sub-contracts.