In an earlier blog in the year, I concurred with Craig Dearden-Phillips’s notion that 2009 is going to be the year of the merger.
Well - five months on - I want to make a slight shift in prognosis and declare 2009 neither being the year of the merger, nor the Ox for that matter, but the year of the partnership.
Last week, I spoke at a kick-off meeting for a Third Sector Consortium. This initiative aims to bring together third sector organisations in partnership to deliver publicly-funded welfare, employment and healthcare contracts.
The logic is that third sector organisations are being squeezed out of many public sector contracts because they are too small – and yet it is these organisations that are best placed to deliver some of the (up to) £30bn worth of services being commissioned in the next 12 to 24 months.
The Consortium aims to connect a number of large third sector organisations to act as a primary contractor, and commission out delivery through a network of local social enterprises.
Can it work?
Well, most people I have spoken to are positive – although are also quick to point out its challenges.
There will be many hurdles ahead. But, I think this is an intervention worth our attention. It’s a very positive sector-led response and will help build the capacity of social enterprises to deliver more of their services to meet the growing needs of the times.
It appeals to me because it’s disruptive and has the potential for widespread change.
For this reason, we will be getting involved and partnering with Futurebuilders to develop this initiative further.
If you would also like to get involved or have any questions then please do get in touch…
Eastside is a business consultancy that provides services to civil society organisations. Adopting a business-like approach, we help social organisations to explore how they can improve their sustainability whilst continuing to grow their impact.