Lewis: improvements needed in the way public bodies contract with voluntary sector

The government needs to close the “rhetoric and reality” gap on improving the way public bodies contract with the voluntary sector, care services minister Ivan Lewis said yesterday.

Lewis, a former social care charity chief executive, told the NHS Confederation conference that both chancellor Gordon Brown and prime minister Tony Blair were committed to improving contracting but this needed to be translated into action on the ground.

However, he pointed to the current Treasury review of the sector and the new third sector unit in the Cabinet Office as opportunities for reform.

He added: “What I will be doing is getting the Department of Health to think, I hope, in a more creative and imaginative way in terms of its relationship with the voluntary sector and social enterprises.”

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