Book News: September 2nd, 2008

This framework for effective third sector participation in Local Strategic Partnerships from Communities and Local Government sets out a series of principles by which the best of partnership working has succeeded. Its purpose is to support the development of partnerships locally, rather than present a template to be followed.

The third sector is key to delivering ambitions to strengthen the involvement of the community in shaping better places. It has an essential role in decision-making and in delivering services which meet the needs and aspirations of those who use them. The Government wants the best local partnership working with the third sector to be the rule not the exception, particularly through Local Strategic Partnerships.

In some areas the third sector’s engagement with the local authority and its partners is already strong and this results in a fully informed local third sector that is connected with communities and is an integral part of local decision making. This is not the norm and often the level of engagement is
inconsistent at best and weak at worst. Sometimes this is because the local third sector is fragmented and unable to make its voice heard. Sometimes it is simply that local partners do not recognise the value of the sector’s voice and have not invested in the necessary infrastructure and networks.

The purpose of this document is to help the third sector to determine how best to organise its involvement in the local strategic partnership and to help LSPs to decide how they might support effective third sector involvement. It should also enable all parties to reach an understanding of what they might contribute to the development of an inclusive approach that will widen and deepen the involvement of local third sector groups and empower local communities to exert appropriate influence over local decision-making.

The principles cover accountability, with clearly defined responsibilities for all decisions and actions; equality; leadership, especially thinking and acting strategically; openness; clarity of purpose; sustainability and identifying and building on the values of the local sector.

The document is available from DCLG.