Representatives of local and national government in Scotland have agreed a detailed statement setting out how they intend to interact with the third sector under the country's new administrative arrangements.
Scotland's new ‘concordat', introduced by the Scottish National Party administration, has seen many funding decisions that were previously taken at national level devolved to local authorities.
The 41-point statement, agreed last week by the Scottish Government, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, says there should be a sector representative on Community Planning Partnership boards, which determine local spending priorities.
It also concedes that it is reasonable for organisations to make operating surpluses and build up "reasonable and realistic" reserves. Local authorities should not expect organisations to contribute to the costs of services, it says.
The statement also contains a commitment to providing three-year funding, making provision for inflation and maintaining grant funding where appropriate.
Harry Whiteside, chair of Voluntary Action Scotland, the umbrella body for local third sector infrastructure, said the statement would lead to "improved outcomes for local communities across Scotland".
Alison Elliot, convenor of the SCVO, said the statement demonstrated the effectiveness of a partnership approach. But she added that it left out some important commitments called for by the SCVO and various unions in their Fair Funding for Voluntary Sector Services document, agreed in 2007.
These include parity of pay for third sector and public sector workers, pensions for third sector staff employed on public service contracts and an end to unfair procurement practices such as compulsory retendering.