Office for Civil Society will continue to fund training on commissioning

The National Programme for Third Sector Commissioning, set up by Ed Miliband three years ago, trains local authority staff in contracting services from the voluntary sector

Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office

The Office for Civil Society has pledged to continue funding the programme set up by the former third sector minister Ed Miliband in 2007 to train public sector commissioners to work with third sector organisations.

The National Programme for Third Sector Commissioning, run by Local Government Improvement and Development, known as IDeA, has trained 2,000 local commissioners so far.

It aims to increase their awareness and understanding of the role of the voluntary sector in public service delivery and to help them to make it easier for third sector organisations to bid for contracts.

The programme began with £2m from the government in 2007. When IDeA received funding for the second phase in 2009, the then Office of the Third Sector declined to reveal the figure on the grounds it was "commercially sensitive."

The OCS has said that it expects 3,000 commissioners to have been trained by the end of the second phase in March.

An OCS spokesman said he was unable to provide details on how much more funding the programme would receive and how long this funding would last. He added that the funding would "ensure that commissioners are able to contribute to the big society agenda and respond to public service reforms".

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