Headlines: August 3rd, 2006



Sir Michael Lyons’ inquiry into local government offers an important opportunity for the ideals of double devolution to be realised and to strengthen communities, according to the formal response to the inquiry by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. It has told the inquiry that the voluntary and community sector can play a key role in double devolution by helping local people to engage with their areas.

NCVO, which is the umbrella organisation for more than 4,700 voluntary organisations and groups, has called on local authorities to work in partnership with a broad range of voluntary and community organisations as a way to reach out to ‘communities of interest’, that might be faith and cultural groups, as well as targeting people based on their geographical locations. The Council backed the Inquiry’s call for greater emphasis on locally-agreed priorities. It believes the voluntary sector should play an important part in identifying and setting those priorities because of its role in representing local communities and working with them.

The NCVO’s head of policy, Ann Blackmore, said, “People send their children to school, go to the doctors and carry out the majority of their daily lives in their local communities, yet relatively few people turnout to vote in their local elections. The Lyons Review represents an important opportunity to show people that by participating in their local areas, they can make a difference.” She added that voluntary organisations formed an essential part of communities and could reach and encourage people to get involved.

Sir Michael Lyons is due to speak at the Third Sector Foresight Conference in September and the final report of his review is due to be published in December.