Role of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector

There seems to be an assumption now (across all political parties) that the VCSE will somehow ‘pick up’ the fallout from Government decisions and lack of investment in statutory provision. 

And they do. Or they try to.  But is this really the role that the Sector should be holding?  How can charities and social enterprises innovate when they are having to pick up people in crisis, and solve huge social issues with no extra resource.   The statutory sector is referring into the sector at a great rate – think benefit system referrals to food banks, or CAMHS referring to local youth charities. 

It is great (for example) that there are foodbanks for those in poverty; local youth charities to offer therapeutic support to young people when the statutory services don’t even accept them onto their books; and social enterprises giving excellent support to people with dementia, in a ways that statutory services can’t begin to offer.   

But is this a sticking plaster that means that the big questions don’t get asked?  As a sector, are we enabling a society that doesn’t really look at the big challenges because there is a VCSE organisation who picks up the slack?  Are we providing solutions that cover up the issues with the current statutory services and within society rather than solving them?  Could the sector leave people in crisis to suffer short term to highlight the issues?  How can the sector keep filling these gaps when there is no more resource available? 

I have many questions… and would love to hear your views.