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Third Sector Interfaces

Each local authority area in Scotland has a Third Sector Interface to support, promote, develop and represent the third sector:

  • Community groups
  • Voluntary organisations
  • Social enterprises
  • Volunteering.

The Interface is also the vital connection between the Community Planning Partnership (CPP) and the third sector.

CPPs are made up of public, private and third sector bodies including the local authority, health board, fire, police, enterprise agency and others. They are tasked with ensuring "public services provided in the area of the local authority are provided and the planning of that provision takes place" (Local Government in Scotland Act 2003). Local authorities have a duty to initiate, maintain and facilitate this process and Scottish Ministers have a duty to promote and encourage the use of Community Planning.

In 2007, a Concordat between the Scottish Government and Local Government sets out the terms of a new relationship - a key element of this is the development of Single Outcome Agreements. The Single Outcome Agreement (SOA) is the means by which CPPs agree their strategic priorities for their local area and express those priorities as outcomes to be delivered by the partners, either individually or jointly, while showing how those outcomes should contribute to the Scottish Government's relevant National Outcomes. Through CPPs, local leaders work with communities, the third and private sectors to develop the long term vision for the area and work towards that vision.

The interface arrangements bring together four key, local infrastructure functions:

  • support to voluntary organisations operating in the area, both local and those national organisations that deliver services at the local level;
  • support to and promotion of volunteering;
  • support and development of social enterprise;
  • connection between the Community Planning Partnership and the third sector.