MP proposes bill to set up support body for small, front-line charities

Simon Fell, the new Tory member for Barrow & Furness, came 19th out of the 20 MPs in a ballot who can put forward private member's bills

Simon Fell
Simon Fell

An MP is attempting to introduce legislation that would establish a new body to provide support to small, front-line charities. 

Simon Fell, the Conservative MP for Barrow & Furness, has put forward the Third Sector Organisations (Impact and Support) Bill, which would set up a new organisation to offer support to local charities in areas such as measuring their impact and providing access to best-practice case studies. 

His measure is a private member’s bill, which gives MPs an opportunity to introduce legislation on subjects of their own choosing. 

The vast majority of these bills do not become law, although some do gain government support. 

Fell was selected nineteenth in the ballot to determine which 20 MPs are given the opportunity to put forward private members’ bills in the current parliamentary session. Usually only the first seven or so are afforded sufficient time to be debated in the House of Commons, which makes it even less likely that his bill will become law.

In a statement about the bill, Fell said volunteer-led local organisations often lived “hand to mouth, struggling from one funding application to the next”. 

He added: “So the private member’s bill that I’ve decided to move forward is designed to help them get past that hurdle, providing an accredited team of officials from across government who will be able to drop in and measure the impact of the work that organisations like these do, so that future funding is easier to secure.”

The bill does not specify what funding the proposed new body would require. 

Fell said he hoped local organisations would be able to receive support that would enable them to be better placed to bid for funding from central government. 

He added that it would be an “interesting journey” trying to introduce the law and its success would probably be “more by luck than judgement”. 

Fell, who became an MP at the general election in December, was chair of Barrow and District Credit Union for two years and previously helped to run two charities, according to his website. He is passionate about tackling poverty and homelessness, his website says.

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