As part of the Cabinet Office, the Office of the Third Sector (OTS) leads work across government to support the environment for a thriving third sector (voluntary and community groups, social enterprises, charities, cooperatives and mutuals), enabling the sector to campaign for change, deliver public services, promote social enterprise and strengthen communities. The OTS was created at the centre of government in May 2006 in recognition of the increasingly important role the third sector plays in both society and the economy.
The third sector is a diverse, active and passionate sector. Organisations in the sector share common characteristics:
The term encompasses voluntary and community organisations, charities, social enterprises, cooperatives and mutuals both large and small.