Public sector to learn how to treat charities well

The Government has appointed the Improvement and Development Agency to run a £2m training programme for public sector commissioners.

The two-year programme is designed to create a better understanding of charities that are keen to deliver public services. From the summer, it will train 2,000 public sector commissioners, including staff from councils and Jobcentre Plus.

Third sector minister Ed Miliband said he hoped the programme would improve commissioners' awareness of the sector and the problems it faces when bidding for government contracts. "The third sector is not yet seen by commissioners as a solution to their commissioning needs," he said.

The Improvement and Development Agency - a training body owned by the Local Government Association - will manage the scheme, but it will be overseen by a steering group of charity representatives and government officials.

Miliband said he hoped to involve representatives from social enterprises and charities of all sizes.

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