Nice transition fund – what about the rest?

There are a couple of striking things about the new hundred-million-pound Transition Fund for the voluntary sector, announced in the yesterday comprehensive spending review yesterday.

The first is that it happened at all, given the overall 19 per cent cut in public spending over the next four years. The civil society minister, Nick Hurd, has done well to secure it.

The second is that the sum is more than twice as large as the £40.5m the last government managed to find for the third sector action plan, designed to help the sector through the recession at the start of 2009.

The amount might be small in the overall scale of things, but it is no doubt partly intended as a symbol of the government’s often-stated commitment to the big society and the role in envisages for the sector.

Other figures remain more obscure. The Office for Civil Society has been given a budget of £470m for the next four years. This compares to approximately £500m that the last government allocated to it for the three years 2008-11.

The extent to which the figures are comparable will depend partly on the value of OCS youth volunteering functions that will eventually be transferred to the Department for Education. This will no doubt emerge in the coming days. But it is clear that there will have been cuts, which is no surprise.

Now the overall figure is set, we need to hear from the OCS how much it is going to spend on flagship big society programmes like Community First, the National Citizen Service and match funding for local endowments.