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Charity body launches UK’s first not-for-profit public affairs consultancy service

Charity representative body the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has today launched the UK’s first not-for-profit public affairs consultancy service. Aimed at charities, the service will help organisations get a foothold in Westminster and Whitehall and help decision-makers better understand the needs of the people they support.

Focussing on strategic advice and training, the service will ensure that public policy is better informed by the experiences of people on the ground. Charities have a wealth of knowledge about how services are affecting people’s lives and have the expertise to see how changes in public policy could result in better outcomes.

The service will provide advice on how best to influence public policy, build alliances and shape legislation. It will also provide a range of training packages covering every aspect of engaging with Westminster and Whitehall, whether that be preparing for a select committee appearance or understanding the inner workings of government.

The service complements NCVO’s existing portfolio of charity consultancy services – which provide specialist advice on areas including governance, finance and fundraising, and organisational strategy. NCVO consultants also work to help public and private sector clients better understand the not-for-profit landscape.

Former civil servant Danny Herbert has joined NCVO from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to head up the new service. His recent responsibilities include running the appointment process for the Chairman of the BBC Trust and working on the planning of the London 2012 Torch Relay. Danny is also an experienced charity trustee, and recently led a campaign against cuts in services for children with autism in Waltham Forest.

Chloe Stables, NCVO’s Parliamentary and Media Manager said:

"Many charities feel they need to engage with the political system in order to best help the people they work on behalf of, but may lack the confidence, knowledge or resources to do so. Big public affairs agencies can seem hard to approach and hard to afford for smaller charities. As a charity ourselves, a core part of whose work is providing advice to other charities, we are in a unique position to provide a service that can help these organisations.

"With nearly two decades’ experience in central government, Danny has a real insight into both the politics and practicalities of Whitehall."

Danny Herbert said:

"I’m excited about the potential of this new service. Charities are routinely and rightly at the heart of many political debates. They are often the absolute experts on many of the toughest problems politicians try to deal with and can provide advice that’s rooted in reality and valued by politicians. We are committed helping them to get their views and those of the people they support across to decision-makers."

NCVO’s own recent public affairs work includes successful lobbying to enhance the Small Charitable Donations Bill for charities, and the Give It Back George campaign which resulted in the Chancellor reversing his 2012 Budget decision to cut tax relief for charity donations. NCVO also provides the secretariat for the APPG on Civil Society and Volunteering.

For more information contact Alison Evans in NCVO’s press office on 020 7520 2473 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For calls outside office hours, please ring 07714 243942.

Notes to editors:

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The new public affairs consultancy service at NCVO aims to help charities be heard and drive public policy change in the interests of the people they help. It will provide tailored advice designed to help organisations:
•    Build their reputation with political stakeholders.
•    Set objectives for public affairs activity.
•    Develop strategies aimed at public policy change.
•    Identify and manage collaborative options for lobbying and campaigning.
•    Prepare their case effectively for opportunities such as select committee hearings and ministerial meetings.
•    Bespoke consultancy and training on specific campaigns.

In addition the service will provided training designed to help charities:

•    Understand the structure of government, the civil service, the UK Parliament, legislative processes and how to influence the people within them.
•    Respond to shifting priorities from government, learn how to develop policy and how to make effective policy submissions.
•    Prepare for the 2015 election.

Chloe Stables and Danny Herbert will lead the public affairs consultancy work, drawing on a wide pool of experts with politics and charity experience. For biographies, click here.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is the umbrella body for the voluntary sector in England. NCVO has over 9,000 members, from large national charities to community groups, volunteer centres, and development agencies working at a local level.

There are thousands of voluntary sector organisations in the UK. Everyday, across the country, millions give them their time, energy and money. And for over 90 years, NCVO has brought the voluntary sector’s people together: to solve problems, address root causes, and inspire each other.
Many now well-established voluntary organisations started out as projects within NCVO, including Age Concern and Citizens Advice.

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