Jeff Cuthbert, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty
Today I am publishing the Welsh Government’s revised Third Sector Scheme by formally laying a copy in the National Assembly for Wales.
The Third Sector Scheme is our key policy framework which underpins Welsh Government’s relationship with the Third Sector in Wales and sets out Welsh Ministers’ intentions in taking forward this relationship. Section 74 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 provides the legislative framework for this policy.
In January 2013, the then Minister for Local Government and Communities announced in a Written Statement the intention to renew this key relationship. We published the consultation document – Continuity and Change: Refreshing the relationship with the Third Sector in Wales – in May. Following a 12 week consultation which generated a very large response, I made a Statement in the Assembly on 12 November regarding the outcomes. The consultation confirmed the need to revise the existing Voluntary Sector Scheme (2004) and the Code of Practice for Funding the Third Sector (2009), to bring them both fully up to date.
Previously, these two documents were published separately. They have now been formally linked, with the Code of Practice becoming an Annex to the Scheme. Our aim in this is to strengthen and make clearer the links between the Scheme (which describes the overarching principles by which Welsh Government works with the Third Sector), and the Code of Practice for Funding (which details the principles by which Welsh Government will financially assist the Third Sector).
The Scheme including the Code of Practice published today has been developed in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders, principally through the Third Sector Partnership Council (TSPC) and the networks represented by its members, taking full account of the consultation responses we received last year. I therefore expect that this strategic framework will stand the test of time and provide a sound foundation for our collaboration with the Third Sector for many years to come.
The Scheme sets out the shared vision and values which underpin this relationship. It outlines the main ways in which Welsh Government engages with the Third Sector, including the TSPC and highlights our shared commitment to supporting communities and encouraging volunteering.
The revised Scheme also describes our approach to supporting the Third Sector through an integrated infrastructure covering the whole of Wales. Welsh Government and the Third Sector both recognise the challenges that public services face and that quality of life cannot be delivered by the state alone. I hope that other public bodies in Wales and beyond will identify with the intentions set out in the Third Sector Scheme and use them to inform regional and local relationships.
The revised Code of Practice for Funding the Third Sector is an integral part of the Scheme. It is based around 17 Principles which are set out in greater detail than previously. The Code also provides information about Welsh Government’s approach to funding, with sections on Commissioning, Grants and Procurement. The Scheme will be relevant well beyond the relationship between Welsh Government and Third Sector organisations in receipt of direct funding.
Publishing the Third Sector Scheme and Code of Practice today is by no means the end of this process. We will continue to work closely with the Third Sector to raise awareness of these documents and highlight their relevance for a very wide range of organisations and individuals across all sectors. Work has already commenced to drive forward some of the central messages from the Scheme. A key priority over the forthcoming year ahead will be a more formal move towards regional working within the Infrastructure and this dialogue already is underway. Additionally, we are working through the TSPC to ensure that engagement mechanisms, such as the TSPC itself and Ministerial meetings with the sector are more outcome focused.
In particular I hope that local authorities, health boards and other public services will take note of the Scheme and Code of Practice to inform the development and strengthening of Local Compacts with the Third Sector. We are ready to work with them to support this process and to jointly develop guidance and improve monitoring of Compacts in the future.