New network for Scottish CVSs

Councils for voluntary service vote to set up their own umbrella body

Councils for voluntary service in Scotland have voted overwhelmingly to form their own umbrella body to represent them in discussions with community planning authorities.

In a poll of the country's 57 CVSs in January, 92 per cent voted to set up a new umbrella body. Harry Whiteside, chair of the steering group responsible for drawing up the proposal, said she was delighted by the result. She said it showed a growing self-confidence among Scottish CVSs and reflected their increasing role in helping local authorities to draw up the Single Outcome Agreements required under new Scottish governance arrangements, which will set local priorities (Third Sector, 19 March 2008).

Whiteside said: "To get to the position where 57 independent CVSs can agree to work together in a more structured and cohesive manner is good news for the Scottish voluntary sector. There is a key role for CVSs across Scotland to help ensure the building of an effective interface between the voluntary sector and local community planning partners."

She said a board would be elected in the next two months, whose first task would be to draw up a business plan and strategy. She said she hoped the new body could also represent Scotland's volunteer centres and local social economy partnerships, which promote social enterprise. She said: "Such a move may not be easy but does need to be explored. With open dialogue and mutual respect I do believe we can get to a position where there are gains all round and, more importantly, gains to our communities."

Scottish CVSs are currently represented by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations. Paul White, director of networks at the SCVO, said: "We very much welcome the development of a strong representative voice for the CVS network."

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