The Government has embarked on a process of 'double devolution' that will give local voluntary organisations more power, communities minister David Miliband told delegates at last week's NCVO annual conference.
Miliband said Labour wanted to devolve power, firstly from Whitehall to town halls, then to citizens and local communities, through initiatives such as Local Area Agreements.
He said it was "a major opportunity to rebalance the relationship between the state and the third sector".
"We need local authorities to map need, set goals, benchmark best practice and seek best value from a range of providers," he said.
Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, executive director of CSV, said volunteering was the key to engaging people in public services. "Our public services, like those in the US, should ensure that 10 per cent of their person power comes from committed citizens," she said.
- See Nick Cater, page 24.