The community sector delivers a range of services to the young, old, unemployed, disabled and the disadvantaged. This is not done for a profit; it is done for the benefit of communities, by communities and supported by the State.
But all this is about to change. The Government is starting to put community programmes out to tender, essentially privatising key parts of the sector.
The Department of Environment have announced that the Social Inclusion and Activation Programme (SIAP) will be subject to competitive tendering from 2015. This programme helps people in areas on disadvantage get back to work, start their own business, access education and training.
For the first time for-profit companies will be able to provide these traditionally not-for-profit community services.
Not only does this go against the inclusive and cooperative ethos of the community sector, there is no evidence that it will be on any benefit to communities or the tax payer.
Communities Against Cuts is a campaign group made up of SIPTU Community members, the Community Worker Coop, Citywide and community activists. We have come together to fight against privatisation and continued cuts to funding.