Headlines: April 28th, 2009

Voluntary and community organisations have set out a series of steps they believe will strengthen the relationships between local authorities and the Third Sector. “Working Together to Strengthen Local Communities” has been produced by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations in advance of the local elections on June 4th.

It contains five principles which the NCVO believes will help the two sides work better together. Stuart Etherington, the Chief Executive of NCVO said: “Voluntary and community organisations share the same objective as local government, to improve the lives of local communities and local people. We can only achieve this if we work effectively together.”

The five principles call on council to Sign up to the Sustainable Communities Act, which the NCVO says gives local people and communities a real opportunity to shape their future. It also urges local authorities to provide fair and sustainable funding for local voluntary and community groups and to respect and support the role of voluntary and community organisations as advocates and campaigners for their local community. It says good funding practice maximises the contribution the Third Sector can make while links between people and politics ensure a range of voices are heard.

‘Working Together’ also calls on councils to work with organisations to ensure community assets are owned and managed in ways that benefit the community. Finally it calls on councils to demonstrate their commitment to their local voluntary and community sector through the operation of a local compact, which can achieve better outcomes for local people.

Stuart Etherington added: “In the current economic climate – with increased demand for many local services at the same time that financial resources are decreasing – it is even more important that we work together to achieve better outcomes for local people and build stronger, more resilient communities.”