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Third Sector

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 17th October 2011.

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Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office), Party Chair, Co-operative Party

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what steps he plans to take to make it easier for civil society organisations to work with the Government; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Nick Hurd Nick Hurd The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

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.

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