Envoy it while you can: Blair takes roving third sector role

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is to take on the new role of Third Sector Envoy in a move to solve key problems faced by charities and the voluntary sector.

His mission will include persuading government agencies to observe the Compact and encouraging fundraisers to stop using pens and other incentives in direct mail.

In a telephone interview from Ramallah, where he is working on his parallel Middle East peace mission, Blair told Third Sector he was confident the main problems could be sorted out quickly.

“This is not a time for soundbites, but I feel the hand of Stuart Etherington on my shoulder,” he joked. “At some point we might even have a Regent’s Wharf Declaration, setting out the main points of agreement.”

Aides confided that the Blair mission would also include acting as an intermediary in disputes between third sector umbrella groups and representative bodies.

This would involve producing a ‘road map’ between Acevo headquarters in New Oxford Street, the NCVO head office near King’s Cross and the Directory of Social Change building next to Euston station.

It is understood that Blair’s former press secretary, Alistair Campbell, could also be brought on board to help get the media more “on message” about Government policy.

“Frankly, there’s been too much negative press,” said a source. “It might be time to put a more positive spin on the Government’s fantastic achievements on behalf of the sector.”

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