Government invests £3m in plan to involve charities in children’s services

The government has unveiled a £3m plan designed to encourage the voluntary sector to play a bigger role in children’s services.

DfES children’s minister Parmjit Dhanda launched the funding, known as the Third Sector Capacity Building Programme, last week to coincide with the announcement of a range of government initiatives designed to “provide a level playing field in which public, private and voluntary sector providers can compete to give the best service to customers”.

Dhanda said: “I am keen to see a wide range of providers delivering improved services for children and young people. Getting the relationship between government and the third sector right is a crucial part of achieving this vision.

“We need to dismantle barriers to their involvement in planning, commissioning and delivering services in order to harness the full potential of all providers.”

The programme will be led by a consortium of voluntary sector and social enterprises, chaired by Paul Ennals, National Children’s Bureau’s chief executive.

The DfES is also convening a “third sector forum” for children and young people’s services next month, which will be co-chaired by Clare Tickell, chief executive of children’s charity NCH and the minister. The forum will examine issues around third sector involvement in public service delivery.

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