The Office of the Third Sector should be scrapped and replaced with an Office of Social Innovation, according to a new ‘manifesto' on philanthropy launched last night.
The document, called the Philanthrocapitalist Manifesto, was written by Matthew Bishop, the US business editor of The Economist, and former civil servant Michael Green.
It claims the OTS has "been captured by the vested interests of the sector and has failed to challenge conventional wisdoms or engage with philanthropy in a meaningful way".
The document calls for a number of radical changes, including:
- A proportion of government spending should be reserved for match funding partnerships with philanthropists, and all government departments should have to identify policy areas in which they could involve philanthropists
- The Confederation of British Industry should make it the norm for British businesses to give 1 per cent of their profits to charity and encourage businesses to aim to treble payroll giving over the next three years
- The Charity Commission should be responsible for reporting on the efficiency and effectiveness of the sector every year and for improving the performance of the sector
Green told Third Sector that the ideas in the manifesto resulted from research among philanthropists, social entrepreneurs and people working in the voluntary sector.
He said the manifesto was designed to be controversial and to start a debate among the political parties about a new model of relations between government and the third sector.
An Office of the Third Sector spokesman said: "Our work in driving forward social investment, volunteering and, of course, philanthropy, while pushing organisations to modernise and work together, is the opposite to an organisation ‘captured by vested interests'.
"The fact that the US Office of Social Innovation is so interested in our model – despite the significantly different models of civic society in the UK and the US – makes the authors' comments confusing."