What should Miliband do? Four sector insiders give their view

KEVIN CURLEY, chief executive, National Association of Councils for Voluntary Service

First, tell local authorities they must continue grant aid for local voluntary groups and not shift all their funding into competitive procurement processes. These impose a big bureaucratic weight on local groups.

Second, require local public bodies to meet the cost of third sector participation in local area agreements and other local partnerships.

Third, insist local authorities invest in effective local infrastructure organisations. These are crucial to the health of the sector, providing a wide range of support services and developing new voluntary services according to local needs.

STEPHEN BUBB, chief executive, Acevo

The main issue is for Miliband to put the finishing touches to the plan to bring together the various parts of Whitehall that deal with the sector - and then deliver it. That's the top priority, particularly against the background of growing cynicism in the sector over the lack of progress on funding reform. The recent difficulties with Department of Health Section 64 grants show why radical change is essential.

Acevo members will be looking for the action plan to be published and then for Miliband to give it a real push across government. The other priority is to give the sector a growing role in community renewal and civil society.

HELEN DONOGHUE, director, Charities' Tax Reform Group

The simple answer is 'tax, tax, tax'. The Government is keen to engage the sector in service delivery, yet the tax system puts the sector at a competitive disadvantage.

First, he should acknowledge the impact of irrecoverable VAT and persuade the Treasury to make changes.

Second, he must champion the sector on wider charity tax issues by supporting a full analysis of the tax regime and ensuring that unnecessary and counter-productive regulation is removed.

Third, he should develop support for existing and new tax-effective giving mechanisms.

STUART ETHERINGTON, chief executive, National Council for Voluntary Organisations

NCVO welcomes the Cabinet changes. Ed Miliband should endorse and implement NCVO's terms of engagement, which set out clearly both government and voluntary sector responsibilities with regard to public services.

He will have an important role in implementing the Compact. The White Paper on Local Government is a good opportunity for him to do this.

We will be looking for immediate action on the Charities Bill. It must provide a clear definition of public benefit and ensure that regulatory systems take account of the sector's distinctive role.

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