The government has not talked enough about how much it values the work of the charity sector, the Minister for Civil Society has said.
Speaking at the Charity Finance Group's annual conference in London yesterday, Tracey Crouch said that charities were highly valued by the government, but she accepted that it had not communicated this view effectively.
"The government hugely values the work of charities and the dedication of community groups and volunteers," she said. "And it also cares deeply about the challenges they face.
"But I have to acknowledge that we have not always stated this as strongly or as fully as we could have."
Crouch told delegates that the government needed to change how it worked with and contracted work to charities.
"We live in a more values-driven age, and I believe that people are more aware of their social impact in a way that charities have always been," Crouch said.
"I want to harness that spirit and use it to transform our public services by making greater use of the social value act."
Crouch said that government needed to "do our bit to create meaningful change for the future" and provide greater clarity about how it wanted to work with the sector.
Crouch’s speech came a day after the consultation period on a new civil society strategy closed, with the CFG calling for radical changes to the charity tax system as part of its submission.
Last week, 14 umbrella bodies signed a letter calling on the government to use the new civil society strategy to transform how it works with charities, as well as "engage, listen to and work with the sector".
Crouch told delegates that it was "not for government to map out civil society’s future for it", but said she wanted charities to be able to "speak truth to power". She said the voluntary sector could play an important role in the government’s work on issues such as tackling the loneliness epidemic.
The civil society strategy will therefore focus on the "independence, resilience and sustainability" of charities, as well as new models, partnerships and ways of working in the sector, Crouch told the conference.