Blunkett publishes manifesto menu

The programmes, proposals and funding streams for the third sector should be drawn together to present a "substantial and comprehensible picture" of the support given to it by the Government, according to former Cabinet minister David Blunkett.

David Blunkett
David Blunkett

His report Mutual Action, Common Purpose: Empowering the Third Sector reviews progress made by the Office of the Third Sector and makes 56 proposals Labour could consider for its next manifesto. He calls for a different relationship between government and governed, and between civil society and formal politics. The main recommendations include:

On the sector:

- The Commission for the Compact should be given statutory powers.

- Avoid large-scale contracting in favour of a community-based version.

- The merging of Futurebuilders and Capacitybuilders into a "one-stop shop".

On communities and neighbourhoods:

- There should be training for public sector staff who work with third sector groups.

On philanthropy and CSR:

- Donors should be able to donate an asset while still alive, allowing a charity to use it as collateral for borrowing, while the donor continues to use the asset and enjoy tax breaks on it.

- The Government should review the Charities Act to assess its impact on charity regulation.

- Child Trust Funds should be extended to allow parents and grandparents to add money to a child's fund specifically for charitable giving, with the possibility of tax relief for contributors.

On volunteering:

- Volunteers should have the chance to gain recognised qualifications through their voluntary work.

- A "voluntary but substantive" civil volunteer corps - a kind of non-military national service - should be trialled.

- Trained and accredited volunteers should provide pastoral care in the NHS, help disabled people at airports and help the elderly use technology and cope with the digital switchover.

On trade unions and the third sector:

- A portable third sector pensions scheme should be established.

- Unions should be involved in setting up a sector workforce development council.

- It should be recognised that trade unions are "agencies of community empowerment in the world of work" and are part of the third sector.

On social enterprise and cooperatives:

- The cooperative model should be considered for public utilities, following the example of Glas Cymru (Welsh Water), a single purpose company with no shareholders, run for the benefit of its customers.

- There should be a review of tax breaks for social enterprises, with greater tax relief for those that reinvest their profits for community benefit.

- There should be more support for Community Development Financial Institutions, which provide credit where there is social need, and the creation of a "social stock market".

- See Editorial, page 12

Current Policies

Social Enterprise Action Plan Promised to help social enterprises by breeding an enterprise culture.

Public Services Action Plan

Emphasised that the sector should design as well as deliver public services.

Third Sector Review: The wide-ranging Government plan to promote social and economic regeneration through the sector.

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