Charities give high ratings to councils that listen to them

Office of the Third Sector releases analysis of National Survey of Third Sector Organisations

The amount of influence third sector organisations have over local decisions is a key factor in how positively they view local statutory bodies, a poll of 50,000 voluntary sector organisations has found.

The findings are part of the National Survey of Third Sector Organisations, conducted by pollsters Ipsos Mori on behalf of the Office of the Third Sector.

Early results from the survey published in January, found that just 16 per cent of charities said local statutory bodies had a positive impact on their success. Fourteen per cent believed they had a negative influence, while 51 per cent said it was neither.

A detailed analysis of the results was released on Wednesday. It found that where third sector organisations were satisfied with their ability to influence local decisions and had some contact with the local statutory bodies, 75 per cent believed the local public sector positively influenced their work.

But where charities did not feel they influenced local decisions and had little or no contact, only 3 per cent reported a positive impact.

Kevin Brennan, the third sector minister, said: "Overall, I'm confident there will be progress. I'm pleased to note that local statutory body chief executives are very keen to develop their relationships with the third sector."

The results of the survey also reveal local variations in the relationship between voluntary organisations and local statutory bodies. In St Helens on Merseyside, 27.9 per cent of charities are positive or very positive about the influence of local statutory bodies, but in Thurrock, Essex, the figure is only 8.8 per cent.

Brennan said the results would provide a baseline score for local authorities' success in implementing National Indicator 7 - creating "an environment for a thriving third sector".

"We will judge local statutory bodies on their progress at developing their relationships with local third sector organisations," he said.

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