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\”Charities should provide more public services, says Scottish think-tank\” – Public Finance

By David Scott

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Public services in Scotland could be improved by transferring power from government to voluntary organisations, a leading think-tank has suggested.
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\r\nIn a consultation paper published today, Reform Scotland says there is a need for a ‘radical rethink’ on the part the voluntary sector can play to help improve choice, accountability and value for money in many areas of community life.
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\r\n‘We need a shift in power from government to the institutions of civil society and, in particular, an increase in the role of the third sector in Scotland,’ the think-tank states.
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\r\nIts paper, Voluntary power, calls on politicians to acknowledge and support the huge but largely untapped resource that the voluntary sector offers.
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\r\nScotland has more than 45,000 voluntary organisations, which have an annual turnover of £4.1bn and assets of more than £8bn.
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\r\nThe Reform Scotland paper says the key to higher standards in areas such as education and health lies in giving people much greater control over the services they receive and choice from a wider range of providers.
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\r\nIt adds: ‘By ending public sector monopolies in the provision of such services and creating a level playing field, third sector organisations would have a much greater opportunity to deliver services.’
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\r\nReform Scotland research director Alison Payne says that, over time, too much power has been taken away from people and local communities and transferred to central government. She adds: ‘The public are increasingly unhappy with the results of this because it has not led to the quality of public services seen in many other countries and has opened up an increasing divide between the governing and the governed.’
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