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Voluntary Work

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of (a) volunteer week in raising awareness of the role volunteers play in local communities and (b) measures taken by local authorities to harness third sector public service provision. (144151)

Volunteers’ week (1-7 June) is the UK’s annual celebration of the work volunteers do and is co-ordinated by Volunteering England (VE). VE assess the effectiveness of the week by analysing media coverage and data collected via a questionnaire given to those who participated in the week. The closing date for this year’s survey is 20 July therefore the analysis is not currently available.

The Government are committed to working with local government to enable the third sector to make an effective contribution to better public services. One mechanism for this is through the Compact. 99 per cent. of local authorities have local compacts in place or under development with the third sector. These provide the basis for partnership working within the sector and support local area agreements by setting out priorities for improving public services in local areas.

Third sector organisations still face barriers to delivery of public services. However, the Office of the Third Sector (OTS) and Communities and Local Government are taking steps to address these barriers through OTS action plan: “Partnership in Public Services”. This includes a programme to train 2000 of the most significant public sector commissioners, many of whom will be drawn from local authorities.