Dormant insurance policies and pension funds worth £400m should be given to third sector organisations to help them fight poverty and social breakdown, according to the think tank the Centre for Social Justice.
The CSJ’s report, Enabling Grass-roots Charities to Tackle Poverty, published yesterday, recommends using the dormant funds to establish a new fund to develop new third sector ideas, support charities and fight poverty.
The report says that existing support for third sector organisations tends to be limited to the delivery of services, rather than helping organisations to develop and refine their practices.
It says that the fund, which would be called the UK Social Innovation Fund, would be focused on taking the most innovative ideas and developing them into commissionable public services.
The fund would take its cue from US President Barack Obama’s Social Innovation Fund, which makes grants to philanthropic intermediaries, and the Irish government’s use of the Unclaimed Life Assurance Act 2003.
Christian Guy, director of the CSJ, says in the foreword to the report: "By channelling assets that are currently sitting in dormant accounts, we can establish a war chest for social action that can help to develop and scale the most effective ideas that are being developed in communities."
The report also highlights "cold spots" where vulnerable people struggle to access help. For example, the Cotswolds has 6.9 registered charities per 1,000 people, in contrast to Blackpool, which is the sixth most deprived area in the UK, and has only 0.8 charities per 1,000 people.
"Still we find areas of the country, often with the greatest needs, where there are fewer charities and philanthropic resources," writes Guy. "This imbalance must end."
The report, part of the CSJ’s Breakthrough Britain 2015 series, puts forward a plan to bolster the social sector in the country’s poorest areas, including developing better data, long-term coordination for community building and commissioning a review of the Social Value Act.
The series is a follow-up to the CSJ’s landmark 2007 report, which was produced to influence Conservative policy.
The Centre for Social Justice was founded in 2004 by Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative MP and now Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.