Culture department confirms it now has responsibility for civil society policy

Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, moved to the Department for Culture, Media & Sport earlier this week

The Department for Culture, Media & Sport has confirmed that it has taken responsibility for civil society policy after Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, moved there earlier this week.

A statement from the DCMS today said Wilson, whose move to the DCMS along with the charities brief was announced on Sunday, would continue to oversee voluntary sector policy and be given additional responsibility for libraries policy.

The statement said the DCMS would take responsibility for the National Citizen Service and youth policy, social action, mutuals, social enterprise and social investment.

It said sponsorship of the Big Lottery Fund would also move to the DCMS, meaning all England and UK-wide National Lottery distributors would be brought under one department.

Voluntary sector leaders expressed concern earlier this week that the move to the DCMS represented a backward step for the sector. Peter Holbrook, chief executive of the umbrella body Social Enterprise UK, called for responsibility for social enterprises, social investment and mutuals to be transferred to a unit within the newly created Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

But a written ministerial statement put before parliament by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said the move to the DCMS would "integrate OCS’s work to grow a stronger civil society with DCMS’s existing work to enrich lives" and would simplify sponsorship responsibilities for lottery providers.

"OCS will continue its cross-government work in support of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector and their important contribution to public services and the social economy; and its work to promote social and community action, social investment, mission-led business and mutuals," May’s statement said.

It said the OCS’s functions relating to policy innovation would remain in the Cabinet Office.

Wilson said in a statement: "I am delighted to be able to continue my role as Minister for Civil Society, helping to build a bigger and stronger civil society with compassion at its heart.

"There is a huge amount of work still to do to deliver the improvements in society that I wish to see. There are things that I want to see through in the months ahead, which is why I asked to return. The next period will be extremely exciting for the sector, particularly with the great synergies between the Office for Civil Society and DCMS."

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