In the news last week...

Weekly roundup of sector news from the DSC research team.

Civil society strategy

Last week, the government published its Civil Society Strategy promising that it will “build stronger communities by bringing together businesses, charities and the public sector”. Some key commitments included in the strategy were as follows:

  • The government said it wants to “broaden the range of funding options for community initiatives” which includes a “revival of grant-making”.
  • Plans to unlock £20 million from dormant charitable accounts and distribute it to community trusts.
  • Commitments to support corporate social responsibility.
  • Digital technology is “essential for the social sector to be part of the digital revolution” and that they will try and bring the two together.
  • The government has said it wants to make it easier for charities, particularly smaller ones to find funding and will “explore opportunities, working with sector partners, to make access to funding and finance easier”.
  • The government has made a renewed commitment to encourage charities to speak up – The document reiterates the government’s commitment to working with the Electoral Commission on fresh guidance for charities.

Response from the sector: – The government’s strategy has been mainly welcomed by the sector, but there are calls for the government to ‘go further in some areas’. The Directory of Social Change said, “It’s a start but not enough. There are some good elements: encouraging civil society to speak up more, a revival of grant-making and making it work for small charities, support for people to give and place-based giving schemes, and giving citizens more voice in collaborative commissioning.” Directory of Social Change calls on the government to reform the Lobbying Act.

Directory of Social Change calls for ‘Big Lottery Refund’

The Directory of Social Change has said it is “ironic” that charities are renting space in London’s Olympic Park while the government has yet to refund money diverted from the voluntary sector to pay for the construction of the site. DSC’s Big Lottery Refund campaign, which 4,000 charities support, calls for an immediate return of the lottery cash ‘now, not in another decade’ – sign up here to support the campaign.

Are we talking about the right approach to fix the Charity Commission’s budget?

DSC opposes the debate about charging charities to fund the Charity Commission. Our trustee, Andrew Purkis, has written an open letter to the new Charity Commission chair Baroness Stowell to explain why ‘’removing the burden from the Exchequer and putting it more onto charities (and by proxy, on charitable donors) is not only wrong in principle, but also not the best course of action’’ – read the full article here.