Hallmark system will rate service providers

Nathalie Thomas

Charities that deliver public services aimed at socially excluded people will be subject to a government rating system under new plans unveiled this week by social exclusion minister Hilary Armstrong.

Programmes that prove to be particularly effective will be awarded a government hallmark.

The initiative, which was announced as part of the Social Exclusion Action Plan, will require charities to adhere to a government code of practice.

A spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office said the criteria for the code had not yet been decided, but they would apply to providers from all three sectors - voluntary, public and private.

Stakeholders would be consulted on the criteria, she added.

The scheme is designed to set a common standard for best practice across the sectors - a theme the Prime Minister was keen to encourage in his speech to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation last week.

"We need to be clear about schemes that work and encourage the spread of good practice," the Prime Minister said.

"Commissioning of services will be strengthened, and we will incentivise good practice."

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