Voluntary groups should look to improve relations with councils

    Voluntary organisations must set aside disputes with councils that
    in some cases may have lasted 20 years and become allies against
    central government, according to the director of public policy at
    the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

    Campbell Robb told a fringe meeting on the voluntary sector’s
    involvement in the delivery of public services that it was time to
    “move away from the destructive relationship” of the past in order
    to move forward.

    He added that the voluntary sector also needed to be able to prove
    that it provided added-value.

    “The voluntary sector is great at making unsubstantiated claims
    about what it can do but it needs to become better at showing
    specifically what benefits it brings.”

    Robb made a plea to local authorities to examine carefully their
    procurement policies to ensure they did not disadvantage voluntary
    organisations.

    Paul Roberts, strategic adviser on education at the Improvement and
    Development Agency, said social services had a long history of
    working with the voluntary sector but that education had not
    traditionally formed such alliances and problems could emerge over
    funding.

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