Failing the public? A provocation paper

Designed to spark discussion and debate across the sector about whether the current focus on service delivery is the best way for charities to have an impact.

This paper—written by Fiona Sheil, previously of NPC and NCVO—explores if the current focus on service delivery within public services is the best way for charities to have an impact and create change.

The growing crisis in our public services is well known. Needs are growing, while money shrinks, and the overarching system is not working effectively to draw on the assets of communities and maximise the money that remains.

The charity sector, with its flexibility, ideas, wealth of social assets and expertise, should be setting the principles and creating the systemic practices for the future.  It should be driving forward equality, impact and cost-effectiveness at all points of the system, from the top levels of decision making through to service delivery.

But income from government now makes up over a third of charity sector income: what are the implications of this? Have charities gained more influence through their delivery role, or less? How has it affected culture? And most important of all: has it been the route to greater social impact, or a distraction?

What do you think about the future role of the charity sector in improving public services? We welcome all responses so please get in touch via or tweet @NPCthinks using the hashtag #NPCprovokes.



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