Council and Voluntary Sector Come Together to Improve Lives in Reading
A NEW agreement between Reading’s vibrant voluntary and community sector and the Council promises to build on progress so far and further improve quality of life for residents and communities across Reading.
Called the Voluntary and Community Sector Compact 2023-2025, the agreement was co-created over a six-month period and is owned by the town’s voluntary sector and Reading Borough Council. The aim is to embed a way of working where the efforts of the sector and the Council are joined up and targeted to deliver the maximum value to people and communities.
The Council and the groups and organisations in the voluntary and community sector have a long and proud history of working together in partnership for the benefit of residents. The sector plays a key role in helping the Council deliver its wider vision that everybody in Reading should benefit from the town’s success.
The new Compact now sets out a basis for future partnership working, with dialogue and collaboration at its core. It will be backed by a live action plan which will be developed in the coming weeks and progress on the policy’s outcomes will be jointly reviewed annually by the Council and the Voluntary and Community Sector.
Councillor Jason Brock, Reading Council Leader, said: “Reading’s incredible voluntary sector continues to be the envy of other towns and cities, and the sheer range of groups in our town and what they deliver never fails to amaze me. This new agreement aims to build on what is already a flourishing relationship between the Council and the voluntary sector, and I'm very grateful to all the organisations that played a part in shaping it. Our emphasis, as always, will be on supporting those people in our communities who do not necessarily enjoy the same benefits as others."
Councillor Liz Terry, Lead Councillor for Corporate Services and Resources, said: “The effective working relationship between the Council and Reading’s voluntary sector has been well established over very many years. We all saw that during the incredible response in the early days of the COVID pandemic, and more recently through the amazing work they do in our communities every single day, with the support of funding from the Council. This Compact now cements that relationship by outlining how we will work together in the future. I am also delighted it recognises the enormous value offered by not only the larger, more established voluntary groups, but the many smaller community organisations across our town.
“As always, the proof will be in how this agreement translates to action in our communities and I look forward to working with the sector on devising and then strengthening the action plan in the weeks and months to come.”
Chief Executive Rachel Spencer Reading Voluntary Action said “The voluntary sector welcomes the new Compact and commitment to closer partnership work with Reading Borough Council. There are 100s of charities and community groups working hard to make Reading a great place to live. We look forward to sharing views and developing an action plan that will make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable people now and for the future community of Reading.”
The Compact was approved at a meeting of the Council’s Policy Committee in September https://democracy.reading.gov.uk/documents/s28419/VCS%20Compact%202023%20to%202025.pdf.
Key objectives of the Compact include:
- Effective collaboration between the Council and the voluntary sector.
- Promoting understanding, engagement, and cooperation.
- Fostering a culture of partnership, fairness, and honesty.
- Key principles will guide collaboration, recognise complementary expertise and respect independence.
- Encouraging innovation and transparency.
It covers the period 2023-25, to align with the existing Closing the Gap funding agreements between the Council and voluntary and community sector as well as the Council’s medium term financial strategy.
Notes to editors
Councillor Liz Terry, Lead Councillor for Corporate Services and Resources
Rachel Spencer, Reading Voluntary Action (RVA) Chief Executive
Jackie Yates, Reading Borough Council Chief Executive