Acevo manifesto: 'Forget about big society' | Regulator to assess campaigning guidance | Similar charities should be forced to merge, says book

Plus: NCVO sceptical about lottery deregulation | Poor workplace practices widespread in sector, says report | Big Lottery Fund seeks views on new community fund

Acevo's Free Society manifesto
Acevo's Free Society manifesto

The charity leaders group Acevo has used its general election manifesto to call for government to forget about the idea of big society and focus instead on creating a free society and safeguarding the right of charities to campaign. Launched at the umbrella body’s annual conference, the document also calls for the creation of a citizens charter on community rights, and giving the money raised from fining "fraudulent bankers" back to society.

The Charity Commission will assess its CC9 guidance on charity campaigning after next May’s general election, its chief executive Paula Sussex has told the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Civil Society and Volunteering. However, the commission has clarified that this will not go as far as a full, formal review.

Charities that are similar should be forced to merge by the regulator, according to a new book. The Great Charity Scandal by David Craig also suggests that the Charity Commission should set up a system to classify charities that sets out how much they should be allowed to spend on areas such as lobbying and back-office functions.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has reservations about the deregulation of society lotteries, according to Karl Wilding, its director of public policy. The umbrella body would instead encourage lotteries to publish figures showing how their income is spent, Wilding told MPs the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

Poor practices such as paying senior managers handsomely at the expense of front-line workers, zero-hours contracts and "heavy-handed managerialism" have become so widespread in the voluntary sector that they are considered normal, according to a new working paper. More for Less, published by the National Coalition for Independent Action, argues that the cumulative impact of cuts and outsourcing has placed huge pressures on charities in a "race to the bottom" that has subjected workers  to lower pay and worse conditions.

The Big Lottery Fund is asking for feedback from the charity sector on a proposed new fund that would match £260m of lottery funding with £300m of European Social Fund money to help communities in need. The Building Better Opportunities programme, which is aimed at promoting social inclusion and combating poverty in England, would be delivered in local enterprise partnership areas according to local priorities, set by the LEPs.

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