A NEW link between the voluntary and non-profit sectors and Thurrock Council was agreed on Wednesday (14 November) evening.
Introduced by Council Leader, Cllr John Kent, the Thurrock Joint Compact was agreed unanimously.
He said: “The Compact sets out the principles that guide the council’s relationship with the voluntary sector, one that’s getting ever closer as we make sure local people can get involved and have full access to support and services.
“Our role is to ensure the voluntary sector is as strong as it can be and the compact provides a level playing field for all organisations.”
Cllr Kent said local organisations should be able to take better advantage of council funding opportunities. He said: “One way of strengthening the sector is to ensure more procurement opportunities are open to local organisations to local services.
“We have around £6million worth of agreements with voluntary and non-profit organisations – about half of it with local groups, a figure we want to see rise in both pounds and percentage terms.
“To do this we are looking to make our processes as clear as possible, especially as public funds become ever-more squeezed.
“Among plans for the future are training sessions early in the New Year on commissioning and procurement opportunities and we’re preparing responses to opportunities made available through the Localism Act – including the Community Right to Challenge.”
He added: “All public services need to show respect for the principles in the Compact so we can nurture more involvement by local communities and the council is working to increase the potential of the voluntary sector in Thurrock – investing funds through CVS to build extra capacity and strengthen engagement so key issues can be properly addressed.
“Then there’s our website, which over time will develop into an all-encompassing site for pretty much everything Thurrock. Click on the site and you’ll find easy directions to what you’re looking for in the borough – whether you’re an individual, a voluntary group or a business.
“We are committed to finding new ways to create opportunities to deliver services in new ways, and working in new ways which not only empower residents but also connect people within their communities.
“A full partnership action plan will be developed with the voluntary sector make sure the partners – including the council – follow through following the adoption of the Compact this evening.”