Magazine article Public Finance

Ministers Set Up Third Sector Group

Magazine article Public Finance

Ministers Set Up Third Sector Group

Article excerpt

A Cabinet committee to encourage increased involvement of third sector bodies in public service provision has been established, Public Finance has been told.

In an interview with PF, third sector minister Angela Smith said the committee, known as 'Mise 37 and chaired by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liam Byrne, met for the first time this year.

Smith said the government was looking to train commissioners to be more aware of the strengths and needs of third sector bodies, and to find ways for charities to share services or bid collectively for contracts.

? think the third sector's influence has been steadily increasing,' she added. 'The recession has been very difficult and a huge challenge for the sector, but it has also been quite an opportunity. If anyone had any doubts about the sector's ability to deliver, they don't now.

'The issue is now about scaling up some ofthat - and bringing that something extra.:

The minister emphasised that third sector bodies could add value to communities by providing more collaborative services tailored to the needs of the individual. But she acknowledged that charities should not be viewed as a 'cheap option' for providing public services.

'What I wouldn't want to do is use the third sector as a way to cut costs. …

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