Conservatives promise greater role for voluntary sector in social care

The Conservatives have pledged to give more freedom to the
voluntary sector so it can run projects currently funded and
delivered by government such as social services.

In a speech to charities at the Conservative Party conference in
Bournemouth this week, Iain Duncan Smith said that the information
gathered from the exercise would shape future plans for reforms of
public services and lead to “more diverse provision”.

But the party insists that the goodwill of charities will not be
exploited to provide services on the cheap or to undermine the
sector’s independence.

Duncan Smith said the Conservatives intended to undertake a radical
review of the way funds are distributed with the intention of
diverting public money into more local projects, cut out red tape
and removing the “political meddling” in funding decisions.

“Charitable groups are filling the gap left by government failures,
they should not have to ask for grants from bureaucrats who were
the architects of those failures,” Duncan Smith added.

The party also plans to work with voluntary groups to break down
constraints on the sector. Duncan Smith said that the party’s first
task would be to listen to charities and community groups outlining
the barriers they face.

Solutions to these problems would become the backbone of a
voluntary sector bill, which would be put before parliament in the
first Queen’s Speech of any forthcoming Conservative government.

Duncan Smith added that he would use the existing Conservative base
in local government to make progress for delivering this vision.

“During the next three years we hope to take control of more local
authorities, presenting a golden opportunity to identify and
promote best practice with the voluntary sector,” he added.

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