Headlines: August 30th, 2002

As the voluntary sector awaits publication of the Treasury’s Cross Cutting Review and the call to help deliver more public services, it warns that it should not be viewed as a cheap option. The sector can provide niche services and specialist local knowledge in delivering services such as drug rehabilitation, or ex-offenders working with young offenders. Although voluntary groups do not need to satisfy shareholders, they do need a profit margin so that they can reinvest in their organizations. Profit is not an optional extra. The National Council for Voluntary Organizations argues that groups should receive payment for the specialist knowledge they bring to public service provision. Despite the difficulty in defining added value, it will release a report in November recommending how this can be done.The Organization has also called for the government to set up a skills council to promote training and identify skills gaps. It has pointed to the need to concentrate on building the skills of leadership and negotiation as well as financial management skills. It is concerned that there were no proposals for a skills council in the draft Review report.