HC Deb 24 June 2004 vol 422 cc85-6WS
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Fiona Mactaggart)

I am today announcing the launch of Change Up—a programme of investment specifically for capacity building and infrastructure in the voluntary sector.

Change Up aims to ensure that by 2014 the needs of frontline voluntary and community organisations will be met by support which is available nationwide, structured for maximum efficiency, offering excellent provision which is accessible to all, truly reflecting and promoting diversity and sustainably funded. It sets out an architecture for how that infrastructure should develop and highlights key strategic actions that will bring it into being.

Change Up has been created in response to the 2002 Cross-Cutting Review on the Role of the Voluntary and Community Sector in Service Delivery which recommended that the voluntary and community sector and Government together draw up a strategy to underpin the capacity of the sector. The Home Office has led on the development of the framework, which has included a three-month consultation period on the document Voluntary and Community Sector Infrastructure—A Consultation Document, published in September 2003.

Change Up sets out the principal capacity needs of frontline organisations—especially small and medium sized organisations. The main elements are performance improvement, workforce development and leadership, ICT, governance, supporting volunteers and financing voluntary and community sector activity. Each has a clear high level objective and achievable actions which will make a difference.

It also describes how voluntary and community sector infrastructure should be modernised and reconfigured. The emphasis is on placing the voluntary and community sector in the driving seat, helping it to work with public sector partners and funders to agree the best way to provide high quality and sustainable support to frontline organisations

Nationally, expertise and leadership in particular areas should be provided by "hubs" which will build on best practice and reduce confusion in the sector by bringing people together to provide strategic leadership, signpost organisations to sources of support, and act as beacons of good practice, reaching directly to frontline organisations to develop advanced thinking and good practice.

The Change Up framework will be used as a planning tool for Government, funders and voluntary and community sector partners at all levels and in different sectors to develop further action and will provide a point of reference for future thinking.

Implementation will be underpinned by Home Office investment of £72m of ChangeUp funds that will support strategic planning and catalyse modernisation of infrastructure provision to improve its quality and reach.

Copies of the document are available in the House Library and on the Home Office website at www.homeoffice.gov.uk. A regulatory impact assessment is also available with the document.