Minister downplays voluntary sector's public service role

The Welsh minister for social justice last week dashed the hopes of voluntary sector organisations expecting an increase in their public service delivery role when she gave her opinion on the review of the Voluntary Sector Scheme, which governs the sector's relationship with government.

Edwina Hart said: "There is a fear within the public sector that voluntary organisations might start to take over certain public sector jobs. Trade unions are particularly concerned.

"The voluntary sector is there to enhance other services."

Hart said she had tried to improve relationships with Welsh quangos through meetings, "which I believe are leading to a greater understanding of the needs of the voluntary sector".

She also apologised for use of jargon in consultation exercises. The commission which undertook the review reported complaints that papers "often had to be translated to make them accessible to certain groups".

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