Headlines: July 11th, 2006

Plans to get more people involved in running their communities will not work unless people are given the training they will need to participate in public life, according to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. It says double devolution – giving people more say in their local areas – will require people to have the skills and confidence to become school governors and hospital or charity trustees.The NCVO has launched the Voluntary Sector Strategic Analysis, which looks at trends and factors that will influence the running of voluntary organisations. It is urging the Government and the voluntary and community sector to remove other barriers preventing people from being more active. For example, it says, consultation meetings should be made accessible and a range of ways should be created for people to respond and to ensure that consultations are not too formal.

The NCVO is also calling for both the Government and the voluntary sector to broaden its search for participants and to reach out to people from all backgrounds, beyond the traditional group of community activists.

Megan Griffith from the NCVO’s Third Sector Foresight project said, “Double devolution’ requires a wide range of people getting involved in the running of their local communities. In order for it to succeed, both the Government and the voluntary sector must support people in developing the skills they need to get involved.”

She said that public participation would work only if the people taking part reflected the diversity of British society. “Government and the voluntary and community sector must reach out to people of all social classes, ethnic backgrounds and faiths and show them the value and rewards of becoming ‘active citizens.”

The Voluntary Sector Strategic Analysis can be ordered via NCVO’s website www.ncvo-vol.org.uk