THIRD SECTOR NETWORK MEETS FIRST CHALLENGE
The Third Sector Network, which was set up six months ago, has met its first challenge by submitting an agreed roadmap to the Treasury’s consultation on the Comprehensive Spending Review. This consultation is the largest the Treasury has ever held with the third sector. The Review will decide what money is allocated to every Government Department from 2008 – 2011.
The Third Sector Network includes voluntary and community organisations, trade unions, housing associations, social enterprises, and co-operatives. It brings together umbrella organisations such as the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, National Housing Federation, Social Enterprise Coalition, Trade Union Congress, and Volunteering England. It is chaired by Alun Michael MP.
Historically charities and co-operatives have developed along quite separate paths. The network recognises what they in have common and provides an opportunity to raise the profile of the third sector and its value to society and to the economy.
In the response to the Treasury the Network identified a clear set of common principles and values linked to a desire to make a positive difference to society. A key priority is the creation of an environment where individuals and businesses are encouraged to give and invest in the sector and this includes considering how taxation policy can be used to create incentives for philanthropy and social investment. The Network also makes a case for investment, both in the sector to enable it to achieve its potential, but also in public bodies to enable them to engage with the sector more effectively.
The Network also calls for the appointment of a Third Sector Select Committee to facilitate Parliamentary scrutiny of policy and ensure that government takes a consistent approach to the sector.