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NCIA says umbrella bodies have signed up sector to privatisation

The National Coalition for Independent Action and 22 voluntary sector groups have attacked national infrastructure bodies who they say have signed up the voluntary sector to privatisation and the dismantling of the welfare state without its consent.

In an open letter, penned by the National Coalition for Independent Action (NCIA), it says correspondence sent to Sajid Javid, economic secretary to the Treasury, by 14 infrastructure bodies in October, has committed the sector to a “party political agenda”.

The letter to Javid, whose signatories include Acevo, NCVO and Navca, seeks to highlight the economic importance of charities.

It says that the sector is ready to make a greater contribution to the government’s open public services agenda and help families manage the change with welfare reforms.

However, the NCIA says the open public services agenda is code for privatisation and termination of public services.  “We question whether we should connive in delivery of policies about which there is growing evidence of damage to our common wealth and to vulnerable people. Our starting point should always be the expressed needs of our beneficiaries and those with whom we stand in common cause."

NCIA also criticises the letter’s reference to welfare reforms, “because these are not reforms. They are cuts, the effects of which we observe daily, and are being monitored nationally. The clear inference is that the sector is, through these leaders, offering increased levels of volunteering to compensate for shrinking public services.”

NCIA adds that the letter to Javid does not mention the role of voluntary and community groups campaigning alongside service users, trade unions and public sector staff against cuts. Or the difference between national and local organisations; or service delivery and campaigning bodies.

NCIA’s open letter is co-signed by 22 voluntary sector groups including the Federation for Community Development Learning and Asylum Aid.

This article was taken from www.civilsociety.co.uk – http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/governance/news/content/13839