Orkney's MSP Liam McArthur has called on the Scottish Government to make changes to funding for third sector organisations to reflect a growth in demand for services and the need for continuity.
A report published by Voluntary Action Scotland has set out the difficulties encountered by Third Sector due to what they describe as a "standstill" in grants from the Scottish Government over the past five years.
Voluntary Action Orkney has highlighted the problems created locally due to delays in confirming funding until almost the end of the preceding financial year. As a result, staff are left in the dark and many receive redundancy notices as a precaution, in case funding does not materialise.
Raising the issue with the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities & Pensioners’ Rights, Orkney's MSP Liam McArthur has called for "a remodel of grant agreements so that funding streams for 2016/17 can be agreed before Christmas”. Mr McArthur has also called on the Minister to commit to a minimum of three year funding agreements from 2017/18, with an inflationary increase."
Commenting, Mr McArthur said:
"The work done by volunteers in Orkney is hugely varied and absolutely invaluable. Over recent years, though, the demands placed upon different local voluntary organisations have increased significantly, creating real challenges.
“The Council has shown its support by guaranteeing funding but I know from my discussions with Voluntary Action Orkney that changes are required at a national level to improve continuity and reflect this increased demand.
"That is why I have written to the Scottish Government calling for a re-modelling of their grant agreements for third sector organisations. This would help Voluntary Action Orkney and its members continue to respond positively to the needs of our community.
"The proposals put forward would ensure that third sector staff are spared the annual prospect of being served with redundancy notices. Indeed, longer term grants would enable financial plans to be drawn up that better address and manage the demand for services.
"I have raised these concerns before with the Finance Secretary, John Swinney MSP. In the interests of a third sector upon which we rely so heavily, I hope Scottish Ministers will agree to take up the suggestions being advocated by Voluntary Action Scotland."