Desta's vision is to improve the health and social, economic and environmental well-being of individuals and communities in north west London. It operates across Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster.
Desta is the outcome of a £750,000 investment by the local voluntary sector to create a strategic and enabling vehicle for organisations that want to enter or expand in domestic markets for public services. Open to any eligible organisation, Desta is a democratic, accountable, membership owned and controlled not for profit consortium. Currently there are 55 members, with a joint expenditure of £59 million each year and, between them, providing 1,800 jobs and over 2,000 volunteers.
Voluntary sector organisations are niche but important providers in domestic markets for public services. Place based not-for-profits, they operate as values focused, person centred organisations, often highly entrepreneurial and innovative - converting ideas into doing things in new and different ways - and able to provide culturally appropriate services. As such, they are market disruptors, influencing the whole of the provider market through their activities.
Desta's research, Shaping the Voluntary Sector Provider Market, found that there are systemic problems with current commissioning models, which are costly, risk averse and have unintended consequences. There is little take-up of flexibilities in the UK Public Contracts Regulations 2015, leading to a lack of diversity in the provider market and the inexorable exclusion of voluntary organisations from domestic supply chains.
Desta is a key resource for voluntary sector providers and public service commissioners to work together and to ensure a strong voluntary sector provider voice.
Shani Lee, Chief Executive
White City Community Centre
India Way, London, W12 7QT
T: 020 8749 5245