Councils and other public sector bodies should be under a statutory duty to promote the engagement of the voluntary and community sectors in local strategic partnerships (LSPs).
That was the message from community sector umbrella groups Urban Forum and the National Association of Councils for Voluntary Service in their responses to a government consultation on the future of LSPs.
NACVS said such a duty was “essential” and would ensure that “those less motivated to work with the voluntary and community sectors will need to act positively”.
In its response, Urban Forum said many of its members felt the sectors were seen as “poor relations” by public bodies, and a duty could tackle this, as long as councils and other organisations were assessed against it.
However, it warned that engagement should not be limited to established charities.
The consultation closed earlier this month. Among other issues the government is considering is whether public bodies such as primary care trusts should be placed under a duty to co-operate with councils in developing community strategies for their areas.