NCVO statement on government announcement of anti-advocacy clauses

Responding to the announcement by Matthew Hancock, Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO said:

'Charities provide vital insights and expertise which improve policy-making and often help save or better target tax payers' money. Charities are already subject to charity law and guidance on campaigning that does not permit party-political campaigning.

'The new rules attached to grant income would appear to prevent charities from suggesting improvements or efficiencies to civil servants or ministers, or even from raising concerns with MPs, for example about the treatment of vulnerable people. Indeed, several government departments have developed "strategic partner" grant programmes specifically to enable them to access the expertise of charities to inform their policy development and delivery for these reasons.

'This is tantamount to making charities take a vow of silence and goes against the spirit of open policy making that this government has hitherto championed. We call on Ministers to reconsider this draconian move that could have significant consequences for the charity sector's relationship with government. I trust government will consult further on this.'

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