‘Collaboration not competition’ – an important message that was raised by the Women’s Resource Centre at a recent event that was attended by LimeCulture.
LimeCulture wholeheartedly agrees with the WRC when they say that collaboration, not competition, is key to the survival of many specialist organisations. LimeCulture believe that the sexual violence sector could benefit enormously from the concept of collaboration.
Here is why. In the past, the specialist sexual violence sector have not always coordinated their responses and have not worked together as a united sector. In fact on some occasions, they have been openly divided by political and theoretical differences of opinion. Some sexual violence organisations have been in direct competition with other sexual violence organisations and have become competitive about the services that they provide. While competition can, in some circumstances, drive up standards and offer choice, it can also isolate and holt innovation and development.
Today we find ourselves in challenging climates. The budgets are getting smaller and its harder to get a slice of the cake. We are now being asked to enter competitive tendering arrangements to win contracts. Gone are the days when a ‘grant’ arrangement could be quickly put in place for an organisations that needs bailing out. Today it is all about contracts. It is all about service delivery. It is all about evidencing your outcomes. Its about showing YOUR bang for THEIR buck.
While the benefits and the disadvantages of competitive tendering can be argued, it is definitely time the sexual violence sector is properly funded. In order to be properly funded, organisations needs to be commissioned, and contracted. Unfortunately, many small organisations are not yet commissioner-ready. They are not used to competitive tendering arrangements and they are still not used to evidencing their outcomes. Unless these organisations get themselves ready or in shape, they could very likely loose out.
There are so many fantastic organisations and individual professionals that work in the field of sexual violence. There is so much fantastic practice that goes on and we really must make sure that this is not lost. LimeCulture believes that is is time that the sexual violence sector collaborate to learn from each other by sharing experiences, identifying solutions to shared or common problems, work together to win contracts, and most importantly, collaborate to create something remarkable.