Charities largely ignorant of localism agenda, says survey

Pauline Broomhead, chief executive of the Foundation for Social Improvement, which carried out the research, said it's not known how good localism will be

Pauline Broomhead
Pauline Broomhead

The majority of charities do not know if the government’s localism agenda will give them more influence over local decision making, according to new research.

The research was carried out by the Foundation for Social Improvement, a charity set up by Emma Harrison, who founded the welfare-to-work company A4e. It shows that many organisations have not heard of the Localism Act or do not know enough to express an opinion on it.

The findings are given in the foundation’s reportSmall Charities, Communities and Localism, which received responses from 442 charity staff between November and April. It was published at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Civil Society and Volunteering in Westminster this week, to tie in with the FSI’s Small Charities Week.

Of the 361 charities that responded to the question "Do you believe localism will give your charity more influence in policy and service design in your area?", 71 said yes, 124 said no and 166 said they did not know.

Forty-one of the 54 charities with annual incomes of up to £50,000 that responded to the question said they did not know if the agenda would give them more influence, with 13 saying they thought it would.

Pauline Broomhead, chief executive of the foundation, said she hoped the findings of the survey would give politicians and policymakers a better insight into the relationship between charities and the localism agenda.

"In reality, we still do not know how good localism will be," she said. "Our aim with this report is to see how we can do better."

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