Headlines: July 27th, 2000

The Department for Education and Employment is setting up a new specialist team to help central departments work more closely with voluntary organisations to tackle poverty and social exclusion. The voluntary sector plays a key role in many programmes from childcare provision to community learning centres. The sector is also becoming increasingly important in responding to the welfare to work challenges.The new specialist team, which is due to start work in the autumn, will guide the DfEE in its dealings with voluntary organisations. It will develop a partnering programme to link DfEE staff directly with individual voluntary organisations to share knowledge and experience.

The team is seeking a secondment from the voluntary sector to provide first hand specialised knowledge to team members. Secondments between the two sectors will also be encouraged to improve staff knowledge of the voluntary sector.

This new development will complement the work of the Connexions Service which seeks to ensure that every young person has the best start in life. Connexions is developing more formal links between schools, careers services, youth workers, social services, the police, health services and community and voluntary groups to strengthen the support for teenagers.