Lobbying report is 'woefully ignorant' of charities' right to campaign

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has today responded to Christopher Snowdon’s report Sock Puppets: How the government lobbies itself and why. The report, which has been published today, suggests that charities in receipt of government funding should not be allowed to lobby and often do not have widespread public support.

Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of NCVO, said:

“This report is woefully short-sighted and ignores the fact that campaigning is a legitimate activity central to the work of many charities and voluntary organisations, regardless of whether they receive money from the state. This activity is also well understood and supported; a recent poll showed that the vast majority of the public think campaigning and lobbying is the most cost effective activity that charities engage in.

“Far from 'debasing the concept of charity,' campaigning helps charities to advocate for disenfranchised people, or support and encourage them to speak up for themselves. The independence of the sector is paramount in helping voices to be heard and bringing major social issues to public attention. Who would question the efficacy and need for recent campaigns such as the London Living Wage Campaign and End Child Poverty?

“Rather than being dragged through the mire, this work should be protected, promoted and celebrated.”

For more information contact Mandy Murphy in NCVO’s press office on 07714 243 942 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Notes to Editors

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is the umbrella body for the voluntary sector in England, with sister councils in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. NCVO has over 8,300 members, ranging from large national bodies to community groups, volunteer centres, and development agencies working at a local level. With over 280,000 staff and over 13 million volunteers working for our members, we represent and support almost half the voluntary sector workforce.

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