25 February 2008 | Paul Snell
The public sector needs to show "more respect" to charities that help deliver public services, according to a minister.
Ed Miliband, minister for the Cabinet Office, told the National Council of Voluntary Organisations' annual conference the government "needs to do a far better job of putting mutual respect in place" in the relationship between the public and third sectors.
He said he understood change in culture would be "really hard and is not going to happen overnight", but there was a long-term process in place, particularly to improve commissioning.
"It is all very well issuing guidance from Whitehall about the contribution the third sector can make to public services, but what really makes the difference is actually getting to the people on the ground commissioning the service," said Miliband. "They must know the third sector is not some sideshow, but can play a definite role in making a difference to our country and communities."
He added the two parties needed to proceed "on the basis of partnership not rivalry".
Last week Andrew Davies, minister for finance and public service delivery in Wales, told another conference the third sector could provide flexible thinking and new methods for delivering services.