The change of council in Angus has led to hopes of a new era of collaboration between the local authority and voluntary sector.
Weeks after the council election ushered in a new political balance and personnel, a leading local figure said the changes could help dispel the notion that “third sector means third class”.
Ron Scrimgeour is chairman of charity Deaf Links and vice-chair of the Angus Third Sector Collaborative which includes most of the county’s voluntary sector.
The former Angus councillor believes the sector has an increasingly vital role to play in service delivery across the county.
He said: “I would hope that the new alliance will engage more with the third sector in Angus in its vision to make a positive difference in our communities.
“The third sector has more employees than Angus Council and greater first-hand knowledge in delivering specific services to an enormous range of people.
“The third sector also mobilises a multitude of volunteers and brings an enormous human potential to directly improve the quality of life of Angus residents. (It) also delivers valuable services at far less cost than councils across Scotland can achieve.”
Mr Scrimgeour said the authority had already shown its confidence through the creation of the Angus Alive trust, a registered charity with responsibility for leisure and cultural services across the county.
“I would hope that (Council leader) Councillor Bob Myles and his experienced alliance members will give some original thought to improving the effectiveness of the Community Planning Partnership.
“This valuable strategic group has, sadly, over the past several years not harnessed the full community potential.
“It is also not considered to be a genuine partnership, with limited involvement of community groups.
“Unfortunately, there is still a perception that the ‘third sector’ is the same as ‘third class’.
“The welcome addition of Angus Alive will be helpful in changing the thinking of council leaders and council officers to the importance of this hugely successful form of service delivery.
“In times of economic austerity, every possible community asset needs to be mobilised to provide the best possible value for money and maintain the quality of service to our residents. The third sector is a valuable ally in helping to achieve strategic aims.”