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Guidance on setting up a contract-ready consortium, reasons for forming one, and the various possible operating models.

Why be part of a consortium?

  • You are seeing contracts being ‘aggregated’ (combined) or awarded over larger geographical areas.
  • Commissioners wish to reduce costs by holding fewer contracts, or would like to work with a better coordinated provider market.
  • You have competition from private-sector providers.
  • Service users can be better served by providers working more closely together.
  • Smaller organisations lack the capacity to bid for contracts, and the scale required by tenders, so are excluded from bidding for contracts.

In this section

If you need more help

NCVO runs occasional training courses which go through all the steps of achieving a contract-ready consortium.

NCVO offers bespoke consultancy with sector experts.

Key success factors for voluntary sector consortia are outlined in Voluntary sector consortia: Stronger together? (NCVO, September 2016)

Examples of voluntary sector consortia

3SC operates nationally and works on some large-scale national programmes, and has developed expertise in managing subcontracting chains for commissioners.

The Families & Health & Wellbeing Consortium brings together health and wellbeing providers across Lancashire and the North West.

Nova Wakefield started life as a health and wellbeing consortium, and later merged with the local infrastructure organisation to provide a single infrastructure solution for the Wakefield district.

Sandwell Consortium provides a contract management and bidding function for its member organisations, based in the West Midlands.

Peterborough Plus started their development in 2014, supported by NCVO Consultancy. In their first year of operation they achieved their first contract as the lead provider for Building Better Opportunities for their area. 


Page last edited Oct 14, 2020

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