Headlines: June 12th, 2006

Leaders of voluntary organisations have welcomed a call by the head of the Local Government Association for councils to look at three-year deals for the bodies with which they work in partnership. Acevo – which represents the chief executives of voluntary organisations – said this was a significant movement but that local authorities could go even further.Its chief executive was reacting to a statement from LGA chairman, Sir Sandy Bruce Lockhart, that all councils should routinely address the idea of three-year contracts to allow the voluntary and community sector to plan ahead. Sir Sandy said, “Compacts with the sector have been helpful, but more needs to be done to release the potential of these organisations.”

Stephen Bubb, Acevo’s chief executive said this was the first time there had been such an explicit statement on the issue from the LGA. “Given that 92 per cent of our members have one-year contracts, three years would be significant movement. But why only three years? Seven or fifteen-year contracts could be more appropriate in some areas.”

Meanwhile the Charity Commission has registered Acevo as a charity with the objective of working to promote the third sector for the benefit of the public. Andrew Hind, Chief Executive of the Commission, said promoting the voluntary sector for the benefit of the public was a charitable purpose that was increasingly relevant to support today’s community-based organisations. “Acevo carries out valuable work in support of the third sector and we welcome its transition into a registered charity,” he added.

Stephen Bubb, said he was delighted with this development. “Chief Executives have a key role to play in setting and maintaining a high standard of leadership and professionalism, and in promoting a modern, enterprising third sector. Better leadership in the sector means better results for the people we serve. We will continue to develop and represent our members to maximise their contribution to the wider third sector and for public benefit,” he said.