Fears Volunary Action will be swept aside

Worthing Labour is concerned that the excellent services provided by Voluntary Action Worthing and Adur Voluntary Action are about to be swept away for reasons that are far from clear and using processes that are equally opaque.

Both organisations can rightly claim to be at the heart of their communities with networks and relationships with the groups and charities they provide services for built up over many years.

They epitomise the localism we should be striving for in community services of this type.

So putting the work out to tender seems highly questionable. How can any bidder from outside the area provide that same vital intimate connection with local communities and groups?

We also have to question how the current providers of the services scored just 48 per cent in the tender process, while the bidders from Brighton scored 96 per cent.

Such a disparity has to bring into question whether there was a level playing field.

The councils have claimed that the contract was put out to tender “to secure the best provider to meet the councils’ objectives. They should make it absolutely clear what that objectives are so that the organisations concerned and the public can decide whether they agree with the objectives and whether they agree that the right decision has been made when it is taken.

And why was the decision handed over to officers to make, seemingly leaving our elected representatives sitting on their hands unable – or unwilling – to question the process or influence the decision?

We understand a decision will be made in early February. We urge councillors to do their job and defend the local organisations ­ and those who work for them as paid staff or volunteers that have served them well over many years.

Jim Deen

Worthing Labour

Harrow Road,

Worthing

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