The document is the third Code of Good Practice to be published as part of the 'compact' on relations between government and the voluntary and community sector in England.
The latest code aims to strengthen ties between the Government and the black and minority ethnic voluntary and community sector. It will enable individuals to contribute to public life and support the development of active, thriving communities.
The code has been developed following consultation with 300 black and minority ethnic voluntary organisations, which highlighted a need to join with government to tackle issues such as racism and building inclusive local partnerships.
Mr Boateng, home office minister, said: 'As independent, non-profit organisations; voluntary and community projects can help alleviate poverty, improve quality of life and actively involve some of the most socially excluded people and communities in England.
'I am delighted to be able to launch this, the third Code of Good Practice, and look forward to further strengthening the relationship between Government and BME voluntary and community groups.'
Mark Blake, chair of the BME sub-group, said: 'This code is designed to enable the BME sector to thrive and realise its full potential. It's now crucial everyone puts it on their agenda so that it becomes widely known and used nationally, regionally and locally.'
The partnership with government will ensure the BME voluntary and community sector, including faith groups and refugee and asylum seeker organisations, is able to develop its full potential as an important contributor to society and a strategic agent of those it seeks to represent.
1. Copies of the compact and codes of good practice are available on www.homeoffice.gov. uk.
2. Government and the BME voluntary and community sector are committed to the following joint undertakings, which are detailed in the code:
- To develop a partnership approach to carry forward the government's strategy for achieving race equality, including promoting and sharing best practice and celebrating success;
- To work together in partnership with other agencies to promote joint working for BME communities at a national, regional and local level (particularly those programs aimed at community regeneration and a more inclusive and cohesive society);
- To encourage, develop and support volunteering by and within BME communities in line with the Compact Code of Good Practice on Volunteering and Code of Good Practice for Community Groups.
The compact was launched jointly in November 1998 by the government and the voluntary and community sector's working group on government relations. It follows the recommendations of the Report of the Commission on the Future of the Voluntary Sector (published 1996 ISBN 0 7199 1499 X), which concluded that a compact to develop the relationship between Government and the sector would be highly desirable.
4. The voluntary and community sector's working group on government relations comprises representatives from leading voluntary and community organisations and is chaired by Sir Kenneth Stowe, council member of the Cancer Research Campaign. The secretariat for the Working Group is provided by the National Council for Voluntary
Organisations. For further information contact Campbell Robb on 020 7520 2470.
5. The first two codes - The Code of Good Practice, on Funding and the Code of Good Practice on Consultation and Policy Appraisal were launched at the first annual review of the compact on relations between government and the voluntary and community sector in England in May 2000.
6. Two more Codes of Good Practice are due to be published later in the year; Volunteering (Spring 2001) and Community Organisations (Autumn 2001).