Skip to main content

Challenges and opportunities for the voluntary social care market

Report | February 2011

Given the continued government policy push for greater non-state sector involvement in public service provision, this report, prepared by the Institute of Public Care for the Yorkshire and Humber Joint Improvement Partnership, explores the future role of the voluntary sector in the social care market and suggests a mechanism by which commissioners of care can assess the viability of voluntary organisations to take on services.

In the context of cuts to local authority budgets and the trend towards outcomes-based measurement of services and payment by results, the report proposes a framework by which the value a voluntary sector organisation might offer could be assessed and on which local authority funding decisions could be made. Based on a review of the literature, the report sets out eight tests of the viability of a project, including:

  • Clear outcomes - can results be identified and then measured?
  • Increased independence - given an emphasis on preventative care, will the project reduce people`s need for longer-term or more intensive support?
  • Strong evidence base - are the methods proposed shown to be the most appropriate available? Is the proposed intervention being made in the most timely way possible?
  • Sustainability of resources and commitment - is the organisation overly dependent on one funding source, for example, and is that source secure?
  • Strong leadership - is there motivational skill in the organisation`s management? Is a sense of `mission` communicated to the workforce?

The report also examines national policy developments, especially concerning localism and the `Big Society`, intended to enhance the role of voluntary organisations, and potential obstacles such organisations face. The eight tests, and the report more widely, are intended as a starting point for discussion between commissioners and voluntary sector managers on the future shape of provision.

For further information please contact Kam Dhillon at IPC


Tel: 01865 790312