What’s the difference between the Advisory Board and Ministerial Taskforce?

I had the pleasure of attending the workshop for BTCV Champions in Doncaster last Friday (13/2/09). BTCV were a key partner in the Defra-funded ‘Every Action Counts‘ programme which is now coming to an end. This workshop reflected on the experience of the programme and looked at how it might move forward. Ed Miliband (Secretary of State, DECC) and Rosie Winterton (Constituency MP, Secretary of State, DWP) were both there and participated in the group discussions.

A key question asked of me, as Head of Defra’s Third Sector Team, during the break-out sessions was (and I paraphase here): “We’re confused. What’s the difference between the proposed Ministerial Taskforce and the Advisory Board that are being set up? Are they the same thing? If they are different what will they be doing?”.

Let me try and explain!

Defra’s Third Sector Advisory Board
We advertised for members of the Advisory Board at the end of 2008 and the deadline for applications was 14/1/09. The Advisory Board will oversee the implementation of Defra’s Third Sector Strategy. It will be in place for two years initially and we hope that it will ready to start work in April 2009. The board make-up will be announced in the Spring.

The Ministerial Taskforce
While establishing the Advisory Board, we are also working on another commitment we made in the Third Sector Strategy and that is the Ministerial Taskforce aimed at promoting leadership in the Third Sector of sustainable living and climate change. Three Ministers have committed to the Taskforce (Huw Irranca-Davies – Defra, Kevin Brennan – OTS and Joan Ruddock – DECC). The Taskforce will be made up of these Ministers, representatives from the Third Sector and Defra officials. It is a short-term ‘body’ which will carry out an intensive piece of work. This will start with a launch by Ministers and Ministers will receive the recommendations at the end. These recommendations will not just be actions on Government but actions on us all.

As the plans for the Taskforce develop they will be posted here on Defra’s Third Sector Strategy Blog. In the meantime, if you have any comments or questions please post them below.

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