HC Deb 26 April 2004 vol 420 cc758-9W
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how he defines the term, capacity building. [165883]

Fiona Mactaggart

When dealing with the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS), Capacity Building is about ensuring that Voluntary and Community Organisations (VCOs) have the skills, knowledge, structures and resources to realise their full potential. Capacity building supports and develops VCS infrastructure through the provision of developmental assistance and advice, enabling VCOs to achieve their objectives. It is as much about releasing existing capacity as about developing new capacity.

The Government's recent review of community capacity building examined the support needed, particularly at neighbourhood or community level, to increase active citizenship and build strong communities, as key contributors to our broader goal of civil renewal. The resulting consultation paper defined community capacity building as "the activities, resources and support that strengthen the skills and abilities of people and community groups to take effective action and leading roles in the development of their communities". The review findings also recognised the importance of organisational development and culture change within public bodies, to ensure public servants are equipped to engage effectively with communities and the voluntary and community sector.