Headlines: September 11th, 2002

The Government has outlined its plans to revolutionise the relationship between itself and the voluntary and community sector.It wants to move away from the voluntary sector being seen as the ‘poor relation’, by offering a new relationship and new money.

The blueprint is backed by the Treasury after its cross cutting review of the role of the voluntary and community sector in service delivery, and by the Home Office, whose Active Community Unit will be at the heart of driving the change.

It comes with 93 million pounds of Government funding, identified in the 2002 Spending Review.

The report sets out 42 recommendations to overcome the barriers facing voluntary and community organisations in delivering high-quality public services and facilitate successful, long-term partnerships between the Government and the VCS.

Key outcomes from the review include:

– Ensuring that the cost of contracts for services reflect the full cost of delivery, including any relevant part of the overhead cost

– Moving to a more stable funding relationship and ensuring that the sector is equipped to work effectively

– Involving the VCS in the planning as well as delivery of services

– Developing capacity in the sector to achieve equality within partnerships.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), the umbrella body for the voluntary sector, has welcomed the size of the commitment in both cash terms and in the proposal for a new relationship.

NCVO points out that most of its member organisations have their main relationship with local government, and it will be looking to see how the impact of this review works out at national and local level.