Brown gets sector wish list

A new parliamentary select committee on the voluntary sector and a sector 'summit' later in the year are key requests in an open letter to Gordon Brown from the NCVO today.

The letter tells the new prime minister that the sector has five priorities: sustainable funding, putting the sector at the heart of democratic debate, upholding trust in the sector, investing in staff and volunteers, and ensuring that the voice of citizens and communities is heard.

It also calls for a new October bank holiday as part of a drive to encourage voluntary activity and promote participation in civic society.

Stuart Etherington, the umbrella body’s chief executive, writes that the summit should take forward some of the key findings of the Government’s third sector review, expected to be published soon.

“This summit could be addressed by you and attended by key ministers to hear directly from the breadth of the sector about the issues that they believe your Government should tackle,” he writes.

On sustainable funding, Etherington says the sector is still concerned about diverting lottery funding to the help finance the 2012 Olympics.

The request for a select committee is placed in the context of Brown’s leadership campaign, which stressed an increased role for Parliament.

On trust and confidence, Etherington calls for “genuine implementation of the public benefit test”. He also says there should be a third sector skills council to help train staff and volunteers.

The campaign for a new bank holiday, jointly organised with the TUC and other sector bodies, “would be used to help build the vision of a society where voluntary activity flourishes and all individuals and communities are enable to play a full part in civil society.”

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