The Government are committed to making it easier for civil society organisations to do business with the state. For example the recently announced Open Public Services White Paper sets out our intention to make it easier for charities and social enterprises to compete for public sector contracts by opening up public services. Our approach will be guided by applying five key principles:
Choice—Wherever possible we will increase choice.
Decentralisation—Power should be decentralised to the lowest appropriate level.
Diversity—Public services should be open to a range of providers.
Fairness—We will ensure fair access to public services.
Accountability—Public services should be accountable to users and taxpayers.
There is also the £10 million Investment and Contract Readiness Fund to transform the support provided to frontline civil society organisations to help them develop the skills and infrastructure to win more capital investment and public service contracts. At the same time the Department for Communities and Local Government published the Best Value Guidance recently. The guidance makes it clear that councils should consider overall value—including social value—when considering service provision. This guidance sets out our desire that public agencies and civil society collaborate more in the running of public services.