The local third sector and communities must be at the forefront of any action to mitigate against the worst impacts of welfare reform, that is the message from Voluntary Action Scotland.

A new report from VAS, titled “Finding Local Solutions to National Issues”, looks at the impacts of welfare reform and both the current and potential role of third sector interfaces in welfare reform mitigation. There are 32 third sector interfaces across Scotland which are tasked locally to support volunteering, support and develop voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations, and provide a link between the third sector and community planning.

The report teased out a crucial role third sector interfaces can play, that of bringing together local organisations and helping them create a cohesive joined up approach to welfare reform mitigation. This could be through forums, support in service delivery, providing up to date information or brokering cross-sector partnerships. However, with greater capacity the third sector interfaces could play an even bigger role in being at the forefront of supporting welfare reform mitigation locally.

Calum Irving, Chief Executive of Voluntary Action Scotland, said:

“We believe the only way we are going to be able to tackle the most damaging impacts of welfare reform are to have community based approaches, ones that build on the capacity of local community and third sector organisations. In order for this to be effective we need to have strong local support in place. Third sector interfaces are already demonstrating the role they can play across Scotland in helping to develop local approaches to mitigation, we believe that continued support and resourcing of third sector interfaces will lead to stronger, more resilient communities that are better placed to support themselves though the welfare reform process.”

A full copy of the report can be found here.


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