Voluntary Sector gains a concession from Government over LEP’s!

September 3, 2010

Voluntary organisations and social enterprises can now become key players in the new local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) following a challenge to the government from the sector.

The National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (Navca) says pressure from its members has reversed the original decision, which appeared to exclude the voluntary and community sector from the new LEPs, which will replace regional development agencies.

In a letter to one of Navca’s members, communities and decentralisation minister Greg Clark said he welcomed the involvement of voluntary organisations and also made clear the government recognises the ‘considerable’ economic impact of the sector.

The challenge was mounted by Navca after business secretary Vince Cable and communities secretary Eric Pickles wrote to council chiefs in July, inviting businesses and local authorities to work together to develop LEP proposals, but did not extend the invitation to voluntary and community sector organisations.

Navca chief executive Kevin Curley said: ‘This is a victory for the voluntary and community sector and a welcome and timely recognition of the economic impact of our sector. It also shows it is important for us to be prepared to tell the government when we think they have got things wrong.’

A key issue to emerge from New Start’s recent LEP round table event was the importance of community organisations and social enterprises in making LEP activities effective in disadvantaged areas. Read more in the September edition of New Start.

Can Do Communities played their small part in campaigning for third sector involvement, we met with Shailesh Vara (MP NW Cambridgeshire) a month ago to suggest a re think. The MP admitted that it was a good point we were making and promised to take it to Communities minister Eric Pickles, we like to think we contribute in our own little way !


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