Welsh Assembly embraces the voluntary sector

The Welsh Assembly Government has reaffirmed its commitment to the voluntary sector in a new strategic action plan launched last week by the Deputy Minister.

Third Dimension: A Strategic Action Plan for the Voluntary Sector Scheme sets out how the Government plans to create stronger communities and deliver better public services with the help of the voluntary sector.

Leighton Andrews, the Deputy Minister, said: “The sector continues to prove itself a major Welsh asset and a powerful force for improvement. Third Dimension is a clear signal of the renewed importance of its role in Wales.”

The 45-point plan identifies five key objectives for the next four years: valuing and promoting voluntary action, empowering communities, enhancing opportunities for citizens to be heard, supporting and accelerating social enterprise and making public services more citizen-centred.

Aligned with Third Dimension are the Assembly’s new Local Service Boards, which bring together voluntary sector and local authority representatives in a bid to deliver better and more local public services. The initiative, which is being piloted in six areas, will be rolled out across Wales by 2010.

At the conference to launch the action last week, delegates heard the experience of those working on Gwynedd Local Service Boards. The debate concluded that more work and commitment to partnership were needed. “It’s about leaving your hat at the door and working for the beneficiary rather than the service provider,” said Grace Lewis Parry, chief executive of the local health board in Gwynedd.

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