A committee of sector leaders will meet next month to establish a set of sector standards on charity campaigning and lobbying, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations announced today.
The committee is made up of sector chief executives and policy and communications managers, and will be chaired by Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO.
The NCVO said the committee was created to set out "high-level principles for good practice in campaigning and lobbying" after the NCVO realised that the government’s proposed register of lobbyists would not cover most public affairs staff in charities or other sectors.
"I believe that the voluntary sector should be setting a gold standard in transparency and accountability," said Etherington. "It’s crucial to long-term public trust that we do so and are seen to do so.
"Several organisations have told us it would be helpful to have quality guidance in this area. When we saw the paucity of the lobbying register proposals we decided it was time for us to act on this. I hope our standards will be stretching but achievable for the whole sector."
The guidance is expected to cover issues including conflicts of interest, transparency, accountability and political neutrality. It is due to be published in March.
The committee members are:
- Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive, NCVO (chair)
- Hilary Allison, policy director, the Woodland Trust
- Jonathan Breckon, manager, Alliance for Useful Evidence, Nesta
- Helen Cameron, head of public affairs, Salvation Army
- Angela Kitching, head of public affairs, Age UK
- Sara Llewellin, chief executive, the Barrow Cadbury Trust
- Vicki Nash, head of policy and campaigns, Mind
- Chris Simpkins, director general, Royal British Legion
- Neil Sinden, director of policy and campaigns, Campaign to Protect Rural England
- Chris West, head of media and public affairs, Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research
- James White, campaigns manager, Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.