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.
What is the third sector?
The third sector is a diverse, active and passionate sector. Organisations in the sector share common characteristics:
- principally reinvest any financial surpluses to further social, environmental or cultural objectives.
The term encompasses voluntary and community organisations, charities, social enterprises, cooperatives and mutuals both large and small.
To support the environment for a thriving third sector, enabling people to change society.
Our overarching aim is to:
- Develop and support an environment which enables the third sector to thrive, growing in its contribution to Britain's society, economy and environment.
We work in partnership with central and local government and the third sector to:
- Enable campaigning and empowerment, particularly for those at risk of social exclusion.
- Strengthen communities, drawing together people from different sections of society.
- Transform public services, through delivery, design, innovation and campaigning.
- Enable social enterprise growth and development, combining business and social goals.
We deliver on our aims by:
- Driving cross-government action to improve partnership working and ensuring better terms of engagement between government and the third sector.
- Investment in programmes to support the sector's development and promotion.
- Ensuring a good policy and regulatory environment for the sector.
- Developing a strong evidence base and analysis to better inform the work of the Government and third sector.