What we need
The community and voluntary sector requires an infrastructure-of-support to provide training, advice, information, mentoring and support-services that address needs in the areas of:
- board development, governance, and leadership
- strategy development
- general management: human resources, operations, financial and accounting, information and communications technologies, and other management areas
- fundraising and funding.
The infrastructure-of-support should also provide:
- shared services and specialist advice in the areas of secretarial services, legal services, accounting services, and incubation supports for new organisations;
- one-stop-shop information on services and training advice;
- policy development information and advice on sectoral issues and engaging in dialogue with other sectors.
Although some of these services are provided in parts of the country, they need to be available to all community and voluntary organisations – at local and national levels. There is a need to map the services that are presently available and to identify the ways in which the gaps can be filled. There is also a need for substantially increased multi-annual government funding for the delivery of these supports.
Independent advice and guidance required on regulation of charities
The Wheel believes that community and voluntary organisations will require independent advice and guidance in their dealings with the proposed Charities Regulator. Given that the Charities Act identifies a support role for the Charities Regulator, The Wheel would caution that the Regulator may sometimes face a conflict of interest if it is required to simultaneously regulate AND support all charities. There is thus a need for an independent support infrastructure for charities. To protect the independence of the community and voluntary sector, the support-infrastructure should be located in the sector itself.