Advisory panel looks for recruits

The Office of the Third Sector is to advertise for members of an advisory panel that will scrutinise its implementation of the third sector review.

The OTS is expected to start advertising for a chair and 12 panel members this month. It plans to have the group start work by May.

The panel, which will be set up as a non-departmental public body, will replace the Futurebuilders panel, the Voluntary and Community Sector Advisory Group and the Infrastructure National Partnership, which provides advice to Capacitybuilders on the running of the ChangeUp infrastructure programme, when they are abolished at the end of March. It will also replace the defunct Third Sector Review Advisory Group.

Members of the existing panels last week received a letter from Campbell Robb, director general of the OTS, setting out the new body's remit.

"The primary purpose of the body will be to provide advice to ministers and the OTS in overseeing the implementation of the third sector review commitments and priorities," it read.

"Ministers will also be looking to members of the advisory body to present ideas about future priorities, issues and policies that might affect the sector."

Richard Gutch, chief executive of Futurebuilders England, said the new body would provide a link between programmes that affect the voluntary sector.

"The body will be able to provide cross-cutting advice to the OTS," he said. "That's good because it has tended to run its programmes in silos with little learning between them."

A spokesman for the OTS said the gap between the closure of the current panels and the start of the new one was not a problem. "Policy-making is a long-term process and the short interim period will not adversely affect outcomes," he said.

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