Councils should consider the unique skills and benefits the third sector has to offer when improving local public services, Communities Secretary John Denham said today.
In a keynote speech to the New Local Government Network, Mr Denham said councils shouldn’t ignore the social outcomes the third sector can provide such as jobs for the workless or better services, in the stampede the hunt down the cheapest deal.
Mr Denham will shortly be meeting with representatives from local government and the third sector to discuss the issue and look at how to ensure the third sector has the opportunity to play its part in the big issue of public service reform locally.
John Denham said:
“It does not make sense to exclude the many excellent voluntary and third sector providers. They may not offer the cheapest contract in terms of narrowly defined cost/benefit in the short-term. But they can deliver important additional social outcomes such as jobs for the workless and marginalised and better quality service which saves money in the long run.
“Third sector organisations – as well as groups of local public service employees and new private sector providers – must have the chance to show how they could deliver the outcomes local people want by new ways of working, and new ways of delivering services – not just asked to compete to deliver the current services at the lowest possible cost.
“I have a real concern that the third sector is not getting the opportunity to play its part in the big issue of public service reform locally. I have invited in representatives from local government and the third sector to discuss the issues and look at how we can address this.”
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