Initiative to boost local authority relations extended

An initiative aimed at improving partnerships between third sector organisations and local authorities is to be rolled out to three regions of the UK.

The Improvement and Development Agency’s Partnership Improvement Programme – which will involve third sector and council leaders producing a joint cross-sector partnership improvement plan – will be run in the North East, London and the North West.

It follows the completion of a pilot run last year in a number of local authority areas, including Birmingham, Camden, Derbyshire, Leicester and Waltham Forest.

The IDeA runs the programme in partnership with the Institute for Voluntary Action Research. The programme is funded by Capacitybuilders, which is providing £165,000 in 2007/08, and the Office of the Third Sector, which is contributing £50,000.

According to IDeA, the pilot programme showed that uniform solutions to improvement thatare imposed from outside are not appropriate because each local authority area is complex and different. It added that the “flexible and adaptable approach” of the Partnership Improvement Programme ensured that local solutions can be found.

Simon Hebditch, chief executive of Capacitybuilders, said: “It is vital that leaders and representatives from the public sector meet as equals with third sector leaders locally to build strong and sustainable partnerships.”

“Capacitybuilders believes that an investment in this targeted partnership programme is the right way for us to help build strong relationships locally for the ultimate benefit of neighbourhoods and communities.”

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