Give charities a clear voice in policy-making, CAF urges the government

In a paper published today, the Charities Aid Foundation says the sector is key to delivering social cohesion

Government 'should listen to sector'
Government 'should listen to sector'

The government should commission charities to improve community cohesion and give them a clear voice in policy-making, according to the Charities Aid Foundation.

In a paper published before the Queen’s Speech this morning, called Strong and Stable For the Many Not the Few, CAF makes a raft of suggestions including a bigger role for charities in their local communities.

"What has become clear is that action needs to be taken to unite people, to strengthen communities and to make sure that everyone feels they have a stake in society," the paper says.

"Charities are core to delivering this, using their unique expertise and influence to heal divisions and strengthen society.

"National trends remain important, but much of this essential work has to be done on the ground at grass-roots level – the kind of level where charities are already operating."

It also calls on the government to repeal or exempt charities from the lobbying act, or at least implement in full the recommendations made by the Conservative peer Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts in his review of the act.

Hodgson said the scope of the act should be reduced to include only activity intended to influence how people vote.

The CAF paper says the government should "enshrine the principle of charity advocacy in statutory law".

Other suggestions include amending the Companies Act 2006 to improve transparency around corporate giving and requiring each government department to promote payroll giving to its employees.

It also calls for more government support for volunteering and says charities should be given a bigger role in shaping devolution deals.

Sir John Low, chief executive of CAF, called for charities to be given a big role in decisions made during this parliament.

"Government and politicians come and go, but charities are the constant glue that binds communities together," he said.

"During this time of seismic change, charities are needed now more than ever to bring the country back together and help secure Britain’s place in the world.

"This Brexit parliament must use the unique expertise of charities to help rebuild communities, tackle social injustice and give a voice to those who may otherwise lack one."

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