As 2017 continues to bring momentous change and challenges for all of us, as a third sector organisation (as with most arts organisations) I feel we really are in the thick of it and understanding the ever-evolving local, national and international landscape is a full-time occupation.
I certainly gained reassurance, at least in my knowledge if not in how to deal with the situation, from NCVO’s excellent report, ‘The Road Ahead: What will 2017 mean for charities?’
In summary, the key drivers shaping the sector include:
The impact of Brexit: Charities will need to quickly understand the threats and opportunities, so they can be part of the debate
Austerity extended: The direction of travel for government continues to point towards a reduction of public spending. This, combined with changing local authority finances, reduced public service provision and lower incomes for poorer households, is likely to increase demand for many forms of charity services and place further pressure on their resources
Regulatory challenges: new requirements will be introduced at a time when charities are already facing the consequences of a drop in the public’s trust, and when therefore it is more important than ever to have the right checks and balances in place
Decreasing social mobility: The need to strengthen social cohesion is likely to become a priority for many voluntary organisations
The rise of automation: It is becoming increasingly possible that automation will affect voluntary organisations, even if this will initially be limited to back-office roles, redirecting people’s time towards higher value tasks
Charities in the ‘shared society’: This will continue to be our sector’s greatest strength as people connect and work together in building a truly shared society
Many of these issues have surfaced recently with the announcement of funding cuts to the arts in B&NES and Bristol and the variety of responses from the sector. We had a fascinating and extremely productive What Next? Chapter meeting, discussing the cuts and their implications and have formed several questions that we will be seeking clarification of from B&NES council itself. I will be sharing these with What Next? Chapter members so please do let me know if you would like to be put on the mailing list and receive invites and info. I will also be meeting with Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, to discuss the rationale behind their decision, and will no doubt be sharing some of this understanding in future blogs.
Director, Creativity Works