'Centre is needed to explore giving'

Georgina Lock

A 'centre of excellence for charitable giving' is being mooted by the Home Office to promote research and innovation in the sector.

The department wants the voluntary sector, the academic community and the Government to come together to streamline research on giving and fundraising, and to support charities that raise money. No decision has been made on where it would be based.

Organisations involved in preliminary planning include the NCVO, the Association of Charitable Foundations, the Institute of Fundraising, the Institute for Philanthropy and the Charities Aid Foundation. But a Home Office spokesman insisted their involvement "did not mean the centre would be housed in an umbrella body".

He said: "The Government is keen to push this forward, but it has to work in partnership with the sector."

He added that there was a consensus that the current approach, where many different bodies and individuals carried out research, needed to be better co-ordinated. A consultation is to be launched, with a view to the centre opening in 2006/07.

Asked if the centre would become another hub, he said: "Probably not, but we haven't made any plans."

The centre is proposed in A Generous Society, published by the Home Office earlier this month and designed to boost giving. Another idea is the establishment of an 'Invest to Give' innovation fund, which would give small and medium-sized charities support to explore more innovative, tax-efficient fundraising methods.

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