Following a competitive process, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has announced that the VCSE Contract Readiness Fund will be awarded to the School for Social Entrepreneurs in consortium with Social Enterprise UK and Voice4Change England, This partnership will form the Contract Readiness Pathway Consortium.
The consortium will be awarded up to £900,000 across 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25.
The VCSE Contract Readiness programme is intended to help improve the skills, knowledge and networks of Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (VCSEs), providing greater opportunity for VCSEs to secure contracts so they can continue to play a vital role in delivering public services.
Over 75% of VCSEs (Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises) deliver public services where they are based, with strong links to and knowledge of that locality. Their expertise and connection to local areas ideally place them to create responsive, efficient and trusted public services, but despite the value that VCSEs bring to public services, they only account for around 5% of government spend on contracts.
An independent study commissioned by DCMS highlighted that the VCSE sectors face a variety of barriers to participating in public procurement. To address these and increase the opportunities for VCSEs in public procurement, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) launched the VCSE Contract Readiness Fund grant competition in September.
DCMS will work with the consortium to co-design and deliver a programme that will enable the VCSE sectors to increase its participation in public service procurement in England.
Further details on the programme and how to get involved will be published on the GOV.UK website early in 2023.