Joe Saxton: Ten post-election predictions

And they include less funding and more criticism from the Tories, writes our regular columnist

Joe Saxton
Joe Saxton

1 There will be no legislative room for anything that isn't about Brexit Any charity or cause that was hoping for new primary legislation will probably be disappointed. The Queen's Speech was mostly about Brexit legislation and a few other key bills. And, with a hung parliament, bills will be subject to more amendments and parliamentary "management". So no repeal of fox-hunting, but equally no bill for a bold new Gift Aid regime.

2 The devolved institutions will still be much more charity-friendly The Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish political structures rapidly developed a much more constructive and close working relationship with charities than Westminster, and across the political spectrum. This approach will continue and charities should exploit it to the full.

3 The new charities minister will be an anti-climax It's nothing personal, but I struggle to believe that the new minister will make much of an impact. Few of the past 15 did much other than shout at charities or mouth platitudes about how super charities were, or both.

4 Charities will go on proving their worth in emergencies The response of charities, community groups and the public to the recent terrorist tragedies and the Grenfell Tower fire shows them at their best. We need to harness those forces through the creation of a domestic equivalent of the Disasters Emergency Committee, but also through a clearer political role for charities in tackling poverty and disadvantage.

5 Charities will remain orphans politically Part of the structural problem charities face is that neither Labour nor the Tories embrace charities as part of their political philosophy. The party manifestos bore that out. So a longer-term battle must be to persuade the mainstream parties that charities have a core role in tackling Britain's problems.

6 The House of Lords will be more important than ever With the Commons politically gridlocked, fighting battles about Brexit, the Lords will be an even more important place for charities to wield influence. The Lords has always been a receptive home for charities, partly due to its eclectic and diverse political make-up. But expect to find it even more of a hot tub of political interest now.

7 Tories will go on 'having a go' at charities The Tories will go on giving charities grief for campaigning, high salaries and the like. NfpSynergy research shows that nearly a quarter of Tories don't think charities should be campaigning in parliament, and 61 per cent think they are too political. This makes it even more important that charities get their act together on poor governance and other perceived weak spots.

8 The Fundraising Regulator will hit its stride I have been impressed with much of what the new regulator has done: it has revised the original unworkable plan for the Fundraising Preference Service, raised the profile of its role and got some backbone. If it can now get a slightly less "shouty" chair who can woo and encourage charities and foster reasonable expectations of fundraising performance, it has much in its favour.

9 Government funding for charities will continue to decline Income from government, both local and central, will continue to fall. Some contracts might still be available, but expect grants to be in especially short supply and small front-line charities to suffer in particular. Charities in Northern Ireland can probably ignore this prediction.

10 The new chair at the Charity Commission will be a political appointment With William Shawcross about to complete six years, a replacement will be needed. So my final prediction is that the next chair will be politically close to the Conservatives, with minimal experience of charities. So that'll be a major change.

Joe Saxton is the founder and driver of ideas at the research consultancy nfpSynergy

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