Headlines: September 18th, 2003

The Home Office is providing funds to help voluntary and community bodies develop their organizations for the delivery of public services. A consultation paper seeking views on the shape of a strategy tocreate an effective infrastructure for voluntary and community organisations has also been published. Announcing the developments, Home Office Minister Fiona Mactaggart called for more partnership working with the voluntary sector in the delivery of public services.The Home Office moves were prompted by a critical Treasury cross cutting review which found that the VCS infrastructure was patchy in distribution and in quality and that this was a barrier to increasing VCS involvement in service delivery. It recommended that “Government and the VCS should develop a coherent shared strategy to underpin capacity in the sector”.

A Development Fund of 2.45 million pounds has been set up to support early development and partnership work in areas where little or no VCS infrastructure exists. A 3.8 million pound Exemplar Fund will support early work on proposals and feasibility studies for innovative projects and ways of working.

The consultation document is available at: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/inside/consults/current

The Department of Health has also announced a consultation exercise on how the NHS and the voluntary and community sectors should work together. The aim of ‘Making Partnership Work’ is to create a strategic partnership agreement between the Department of Health, the NHS and the voluntary and community sectors. A consultation document is available at http://doh.gov.uk  and the department wants to hear the views of people working on the ground.

The Department of Health say they want to optimise the contribution of the voluntary sector to ‘a genuinely patient-centred service delivery in a reformed NHS, where patient choice is the driving force for change.’ They also say they want to do this within the framework of the Compact with the VCS.