Headlines: November 16th, 1998

The voluntary sector has been recognised as an important partner in the attainment of an inclusive society.Home Secretary Jack Straw and Paul Boateng, Home Office Minister, have launched a new Compact with the sector, which is a framework for a new, practical partnership.

Jack Straw, said: “Voluntary and community activity is a powerful means of inclusion, of enabling everyone, whatever their skills or background, age or race, to make a positive contribution to their communities. The Compact spells out in practical terms what needs to happen to make our relationship work.”

Sir Kenneth Stowe who chairs a working group with the Government on voluntary sector working, said: “The Compact marks a coming of age for the sector. It acknowledges the crucial role that voluntary and community organisations, groups and individuals already play in shaping society.

“It offers every voluntary and community organisation a positive framework for working with Government. It knits together vision and values with good practice.”

Mr Boateng said: “The role of Government is not to control voluntary action but to create a climate in which it can flourish. The Compact spells out in practical terms what needs to happen to make partnership work.”

The Third Sector contributes an estimated 12 billion pounds to the UK economy. Nearly 500,000 paid workers are employed within the sector, while more than three million people commit their time and energy to voluntary and community organisations.