A new report from SCVO details the impact that welfare reform is likely to have on the third sector in Scotland. According to their analysis, there are serious concerns among third sector organisations about how welfare policies will affect both their services and service users.
Existing issues such as funding gaps are already causing problems with most organisations, leading to fears that they will not be able to meet the increases in demand predicted for their services. Some report having to turn from providing their own services to deal with welfare issues. Others fear a “snowball” effect, noting the increased complexity of cases that service users present with.
The report points out that although much of the responsibility will lie with local authorities, the third sector should be viewed as a key strategic partner in mitigating the impacts of the reforms.
The authors make 6 key recommendations:
- Lobbying and campaigning from both sectors against welfare reforms
- An anti-stigma campaign
- A single resource that allows the public to access key information about welfare reform and where they can go for help and support
- Training for frontline staff in both the public and third sectors
- Investment in a diverse range of services to build community resilience – not just those relating to advice
- Mapping of welfare services available across the country