Arm in arm


The relationships between statutory and voluntary sector mental health organisations

Andy Bell and Louis Allwood
24 July 2019

Voluntary and community organisations provide essential support for people’s mental health, but financial pressures are putting them under severe strain.

Arm in arm: The relationships between statutory and voluntary sector mental health organisations, commissioned by the Association of Mental Health Providers warns that voluntary and community organisations face numerous financial barriers including reductions in local government funding, short-term and ‘more for less’ contracts, unpredictable and delayed decision-making, and the unintended consequences of national policies. Smaller organisations are particularly at risk following the introduction of Integrated Care Systems, limiting their ability to compete for funding on much larger geographical footprints than before.

Based on interviews with both commissioners and providers of voluntary sector mental health support, the report shows that commissioners in both local government and the NHS were keenly aware of the extra value that voluntary and community organisations can bring. But they were frustrated that competition for contracts often stopped organisations from working well together and could lead to come going out of business altogether. 

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