Charities urged to give evidence to new Lords committee on citizenship

The Citizenship and Civic Engagement Committee is an ad-hoc committee that will run for one session of parliament only

House of Lords
House of Lords

Voluntary sector organisations have been invited to submit evidence to a new House of Lords select committee that will examine citizenship and civic engagement.

The Citizenship and Civic Engagement Committee was announced last month as an ad-hoc committee for the next parliament, and will consider how best to promote best practice and support civic engagement across the country.

Ad-hoc committees are set up to look at a specific subject outside the remit of the permanent House of Lords committees, and they generally run for one session of parliament.

The Conservative peer Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, who carried out the government-commissioned review of the Charities Act 2006, will chair the new committee.

Other members include the Labour former Home Secretary David Blunkett, Baroness Pitkeathley, the Labour peer who chaired the recent House of Lords Select Committee on Charities, and Baroness Barker, the Liberal Democrat House of Lords spokesperson on the voluntary sector.

The committee will release a report on its findings before the end of March 2018 and has issued a call for evidence, for which the deadline is 8 September.

Last year’s House of Lords Select Committee on Charities released a wide-ranging report in March featuring more than 100 points and recommendations to address issues with the charity sector.

The government is expected to respond to that report in the autumn.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has called on charities, especially smaller community organisations, to engage with the new civic engagement committee and provide evidence before the deadline passes.

Chris Walker, senior public affairs analyst at the NCVO, said: "This is a very important opportunity for charities to demonstrate how our sector is leading the way in civic engagement. Charities are often the vehicles with which people engage with society. We are keen for as many organisations as possible, no matter how small, to submit examples of the sort of work they do to foster this.

"Given the subject, the committee wants to encourage those who wouldn’t normally speak out. If you have a good case study that you can contribute, but haven’t provided written evidence to a committee before, it might be worth contacting the committee staff and talking to them about how you can provide what they need."

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