Sector leaders say Robb must stress impartiality

Stephen Cook

Campbell Robb has pledged to "work across the whole range of voluntary sector concerns" in his new post as director general of the Office of the Third Sector.

He was responding to the view of some sector leaders that he will need to distance himself from the NCVO, where he was director of policy for eight years, to establish his credentials in the new job, which he starts next month.

"I was in a similar situation when I became a part-time adviser at the Treasury recently, and I think I have shown I can work with a range of organisations in a positive way," said Robb. "I'm very much looking forward to the challenge."

There was general welcome from sector leaders. Debra Allcock Tyler, chief executive of the Directory of Social Change, said: "I think Campbell's quite a sound bloke. But he is so associated with the NCVO, which hasn't been entirely popular with the sector recently, especially over ChangeUp."

Andrew Hind, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said Robb was an excellent choice because he knew both sector and government: "He will need to establish a track record for distance and impartiality, but I'm confident he can."

Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, said he had already met Robb to talk about his new role. Acevo has been pressing government for faster progress on public-service delivery.

Kevin Curley, chief executive of Navca, said Robb had been "openly sceptical" over the large-scale transfer of public services to the sector.

"He's always been strong on the need for the sector to protect its independence," said Curley. "I hope he can influence the relationship with local government."

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