Consortium lands £1.2m for innovation programme

A consortium of three voluntary organisations has won a £1.2m government contract to deliver a pilot programme to promote innovative work in the sector.

Chief executives body Acevo, education specialist the Innovation Unit and social software consultancy Headshift will work together on the Innovation Exchange - a project that was announced in December as part of the Government's action plan to ensure third sector partnership in public services.

The exchange will provide an online information centre to give guidance on appropriate sources of investment and to allow voluntary groups planning innovative projects to contact like-minded organisations.

Phil Hope, the third sector minister, said that the consortium had both the know-how and creativity to make the exchange "an asset for the sector".

Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, said: "Gathering an evidence base for the innovative work of the third sector must be our priority if we are to bring about real change in public services and real learning in how to develop innovation."

Work on a website for the programme is due to start straight away. The programme's official launch is scheduled for October.

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