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Civil Society Strategy: Localgiving's Response

  • In our Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2017/18 we stated that new Civil Society Strategy and the consultations leading up to it represented a “real opportunity to identify the key needs of the local voluntary sector and to begin to develop the informed, substantive support programmes necessary to help local charities sustain themselves and flourish”.

    We are encouraged by the government’s recognition of the vital role that local charities and community groups play, and will continue to play, in tackling our society’s most pressing issues. We are pleased to see this strategy addressing many of the concerns and recommendations we have highlighted in our reports.

    It is positive to see the government directly recognising the importance of ‘place’. Societal issues manifest themselves differently in different communities. It is therefore essential that ‘local players’ are involved in the decisions that will affect them in a meaningful way. We are particularly interested in seeing how the government will go about stimulating cross-sector collaboration at the local level.

    The need for digital upskilling is rightfully at the heart of the strategy. While there have undoubtedly been strides forward in recent years, local charities and community groups continue to lag behind in this area. This strategy recognises the role that technology can play in reducing the considerable funding disparity between large and small organisations.  We are aware of the important role we can play in this upskilling process and in helping to build a better resourced, more efficient and more effective local voluntary sector.

    It is also pleasing to see the government seeking to alleviate the fears that many of our members have voiced about campaigning and publicly advocating for the needs of their beneficiaries.This having been said, the strategy could have gone further by revising the Lobbying Act and ending the use of anti-advocacy clauses. Local groups are uniquely positioned to understand the impact of economic changes and political decisions on the ground - it is vital that this knowledge is used to inform policy.

    This strategy certainly gives us grounds for optimism. However, its true value will only be seen when words become actions. Of course, the success of this strategy will ultimately rely on the government providing the sector with adequate, timely, and appropriately channeled resources. We look forward to working alongside the government to implement this strategy and where necessary holding them to account.