"It's an outdated term that suggests a pecking order," said governance consultant Linda Laurance last week. "It doesn't reflect the importance of the sector or describe what it is."
Angela Sarkis, national leader of YMCA, added: "It's called the third sector and the Government treats it like the third sector."
But Cathy Pharoah, founder of research body Third Sector Prospect, said the phrase encompasses all the organisations involved.
- See Editorial, page 13.