Exclusive: Sturgeon commits to three year funding
Third Force News, by Robert Armour
First minister says she wants to include third sector more in government policies.
Scotland’s first minster is committed to achieving three-year funding for the third sector and to involve it more in the delivery of public services.
In an exclusive TFN interview, Nicola Sturgeon tells how social justice and equality will be at the heart of every policy she makes and how she believes the sector will be a crucial ally in taking this agenda forward.
Speaking ahead of The Gathering, Sturgeon said three year funding was in her sights with longer-term deals the “common sense” approach.
Amidst sweeping public sector cuts, securing three-year funding would provide financial stability to thousands of organisations – something which Sturgeon said was a “strong and powerful argument”.
However she said it comes at a time of “very constrained funds.”
“The Scottish Government has been cut by over 10% in real terms since the current Westminster government took control,” she said.
“When you’ve got that overall reduction in your budget it’s just not possible to allocate resources that protects everyone from their share of pain.
“It’s something we have to look at.”
There is also a strong commitment by her government to capitalise on the innovation and creative approaches developed by organisations in delivering public services.
We’re determined the third sector gets a proper seat around the table
“If we change our thinking and see the third sector as a full delivery partner as opposed to just grant receiving organisations then we change the whole culture,” she said.
“I’ve seen it in action. I know the issues and I’m clear about the solutions,” she says. “I want to harness innovation and make that approach the norm. Where there are innovative, new, creative approaches then let’s use them if we can. Let’s back those projects.”
Overall Sturgeon says the third sector has to be more centrally involved – not just as an afterthought or a token gesture but fully integrated into how public sector services are planned and delivered.
“If you take the example of health and social care a lot of organisations will express frustration as to how that’s panned out," she said.
“But we’re determined the third sector gets a proper seat around the table in future.”
John Downie, director of public affairs at the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, welcomed the first minster’s commitment to the third sector.
“To hear the first minister commit to these principles, especially three year funding, is heartening. However the details how this will become reality will be eagerly anticipated by the entire sector."