Government review will focus on partnership with voluntary sector

The government’s cross-cutting review of the
role of the voluntary sector in service delivery is not about
funding levels but making existing resources work better, Paul
Boateng told Community Care this week.

The financial secretary to the Treasury
stressed that the strategic review was a chance to look at how
government can best work in partnership with the voluntary and
community sector to deliver high-quality public services.

“In particular, we want to understand the
scope of the voluntary and community sector’s involvement in
overseeing and delivering services. We need to understand what
constitutes good practice between central and local government and
the sector, and identify any barriers standing in the way of better

Boateng added that many of the biggest
challenges facing government did not fit neatly within traditional
departmental structures.

“Tackling problems like health inequalities,
children at risk or the role the voluntary sector plays in service
delivery requires better co-ordination and teamwork across a wide
range of departments and agencies.”

He said the government recognised the
substantial contribution that the voluntary and community sector
makes to service delivery. “However, while the government sees an
enhanced role for the 185,000 registered charities and many more
unregistered voluntary organisations working across the country,
voluntary sector activity is certainly not intended to replace or
supplant the state. As set out in the 1998 compact on relations
between government and the voluntary sector, the government wants
to see the continued independence of the sector.”

The review, which is part of the Treasury’s
overall spending survey, will report in early 2002. Working groups
made up of representatives of the voluntary and community sector
will focus on five themes: service delivery, social and community
enterprise, capacity structures, and developing the compact.

Boateng added: “Voluntary organisations and
community groups have a wealth of experience, commitment and
insight about what works. Whether people work locally, regionally
or nationally, we want to hear from you. I am determined that the
outcome of the review should make a real difference.”

– For details of how to get involved in the
review process, email:

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