Voluntary Sector Consortium Development Project

Consortia can support voluntary sector organisations to access more public commissioning opportunities


London Plus are working with Pilotlight to support two Voluntary Sector Consortia as part of a development programme addressing the growth of consortium working by infrastructure organisations in London.

The context for prioritising consortium development is the growing emphasis by local government to move to tendering for bigger contracts for local service delivery.

The driving force behind this trend to aggregate contracts is the need to reduce the ‘transaction costs’ of commissioning.  Many local authorities see it is as a necessity with decreasing resources, to move away from holding multiple contracts with a number of providers to monitoring a few contracts.  This has meant that local voluntary sector organisations are often in a position where they feel they have to form a consortium with other partners, in order to bid for these larger contracts which, they would be unable to do so as a single organisation.

The process of building a consortium takes a lot of time and money, but with this continued trend towards larger contracts, as long as the model is right, they can provide a structure that can support smaller frontline organisations to win contracts and deliver services – and potentially move towards supporting Local Authorities and CCGs, to design local service provision.

There are issues to consider not just with the set-up of partnership working, but also the importance of a properly developed business strategy for a group of partners, which can inform later decisions about delivery, partner contributions, performance and future negotiations with Commissioners/Funders

London Plus is also interested in looking at the importance of gathering impact data by consortiums, not just to be used for future negotiations with commissioners – but also to evidence the importance of local delivery, helping to make the case for local providers under the Social Value Act.

Our partner Pilotlight is an award-winning organisation which connects the business and charitable worlds to make both more effective. By harnessing talent at all levels of business, across industries, the Pilotlight programmes transform charities and social enterprises to think strategically and plan for sustainability, development and growth.