Not-for-profit sector demands cash to help public services

25 Oct 01
Central government must invest in the voluntary sector if it wants to see more not-for-profit organisations involved in the delivery of public services, according to one of the sector's leaders.

26 October 2001

Stuart Etherington, the chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), responded to the government's recent overtures by calling for measures to help the voluntary sector bid for and manage government contracts.

Speaking to the NCVO political strategy conference on October 22, Etherington said: 'The voluntary sector should only take on an enhanced role in the delivery of public services if and when it is ready to do so.

'Tony Blair has focused on user engagement and reiterated the role of the voluntary sector in improving delivery. The government and the voluntary sector must come together to build the sector's capacity and create an enabling fiscal and regulatory environment.'

Etherington called for 'serious investment' to be channelled into support and advice for voluntary organisations and the creation of a voluntary sector skills council.

He said government should encourage not-for-profit organisations by paying the full costs of project work and lifting some of the VAT restrictions that affect charities.

Financial secretary Paul Boateng is chairing a Treasury cross-cutting review of the role of the voluntary sector in public sector delivery, which is due to report in the new year ahead of the Spending Review 2002.

Boateng said on October 12: 'We now need to explore further ways in which central and local government can work more effectively with the voluntary sector on public service delivery to ensure that, together, we are delivering high-quality services.'


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