Headlines: January 29th, 2009

A major survey of charity, social enterprise and voluntary organisations has found that public bodies need to do more to improve the support they give to the Third Sector. The National Survey of Third Sector Organisations – one of the biggest of its kind ever carried out – found, however, that more than half of them felt working with the local public sector was a positive experience.

The survey of almost 50,000 organisations revealed that 58 per cent which had had direct dealings with local government bodies said this had a positive or very positive effect on their success. Almost as many of the Third Sectory bodies, however, said the public sector had more to do to improve their contact and support.

The survey was commissioned by the Government and conducted by Ipsos MORI, and covered a range of issues about the relationship between the two sectors. The Third Sector Minister, Kevin Brennan, said the results suggested that direct contact between local authorities and Third Sector organisations was a crucial first step to improving support to those who really needed it.

“A thriving Third Sector is vital to ensure people get the help they need from the best people who can deliver it. Especially now, during the economic downturn, the third sector can make a huge contribution by providing essential services, supporting those most badly affected and helping people into employment and positive voluntary action,” Mr. Brennan said. He saw the results as a starting point for change but stressed that engagement was a two-way process and that all organisations needed to ensure they were playing their part in making the partnership work.

Ipsos MORI will provide a more detailed analysis of the results in April with the aim of helping local public sector bodies and Third Sector organisations to make targeted improvements.