The Office of the Third Sector (OTS) was created in May 2006 when the
Active Communities Directorate in the Home Office, and the Social
Enterprise Unit, in the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI),
amalgamated. The decision to place the OTS at the centre of government in
the Cabinet Office was taken in recognition of the increasingly important
role the third sector plays in both society and the economy.
What is the third sector?
The third sector is a diverse, active and passionate sector. Organisations
in the sector share the common characteristics of being non–governmental
organisations which are value–driven and which principally reinvest their
surpluses to further social, environmental or cultural objectives. It
encompasses voluntary and community organisations, charities, social
enterprises, cooperatives and mutuals both large and small.