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Written Statement - Strengthening the relationship between Welsh Government and  the Third Sector in Wales

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Carl Sargeant, Minister for Local Government and Communities

Today I am announcing the start of a process to look afresh at the relationship between the Welsh Government and the Third Sector.

My aim is to make this crucial relationship as strong and effective as possible. In particular, we must ensure that the support provided by Welsh Government to Third Sector infrastructure organisations including Wales Council for Voluntary Action, County Voluntary Councils and Volunteer Bureaux is appropriate for present circumstances and delivers the best possible value for money.

Some of the key documents which underpin this relationship have not been updated for several years. This includes the Voluntary Sector Scheme and its Action Plan as well as the Code of Practice for Funding the Third Sector.  We need to ensure that our working and funding arrangements to support the Sector take account of the Programme for Government. I am keen that the support we give to the sector supports activity that helps to tackle poverty and focuses on outcomes.

I believe that there is scope to improve the ways that the Welsh Government and the Sector work together. This includes being clear on what we can achieve, the role that the Sector plays in Welsh Society; how we engage with each other, and the structure that supports the sector.  

I’d want this to be a collaborative and open process. I expect to be drawing on the knowledge and experience of a wide variety of Third Sector organisations and individuals, as well as others with relevant knowledge and interest in this process.

There will be a formal consultation process later this year where there will be an opportunity for everyone to contribute their responses. In the early part of this year a reference group of people from the Third Sector, key stakeholders and officials will be formed to inform that consultation process. Alongside that a number of informal workshops will be hosted across Wales to seek views from different parts of the sector. The outcomes from the consultation will help shape the future of the working and funding relationship between Welsh Government and the Third Sector in Wales.

Finally, I am aware that I will need to make decisions on future funding arrangements in the current economic climate.  I want such decisions to be based on up to date information and a shared understanding of what the priorities should be.

I have approved an interim Partnership Agreement and funding to cover the transitional period from January 2013 to March 2014, until the outcome of the consultation process is known.