July 2016: The inside track

What you need to know about life after the EU referendum, our new prime minister, what’s left of the Queen’s speech, what unprecedented political turmoil may mean for charities’ strategies for influencing politicians, and more in this quarter’s update.

Government

UK votes to leave the European Union

Overshadowing much of the current political agenda for charities is the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, and what that means for the voluntary sector. Our chief executive, Sir Stuart Etherington provided aninitial reaction to the result, we have put together a first briefing on what the vote might mean for charities, and last week we hosted a webcast looking at some of the potential political, policy and legal implications, which is available to watch again.

Fundraising Regulator is launched

The Fundraising Regulator has officially taken responsibility for the regulation of fundraising , launching last week. The new regulator was set up in response to the cross-party review of fundraising regulation.

National Citizen Service to be put on a statutory footing

In the Queen’s speech, it was announced that there will be a bill to enshrine the National Citizen Service in law . The bill will also place statutory duties on local authorities and schools to promote the scheme to young people and their families.

Bill to simplify Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme announced

The Queen’s speech also indicated that a bill would be introduced to implement reforms to the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, arising from the recent government consultation. NCVO has submitted a joint response with the Charity Finance Group, Institute of Fundraising and Small Charities Coalition.

£80m Life Chances Fund announced

The Government has announced an £80m fund to support Social Impact Bonds to deliver payment by result contracts designed locally to address six themes, starting with drug and alcohol dependency and children’s services.

Parliament

Lords committee on charities launched

The Lords committee on charities has been appointed and started taking evidence ahead of issuing its formal call for evidence.

People news

Theresa May is the new prime minister

Following David Cameron’s decision to stand down as prime minister after losing the referendum, Theresa May will be the new Conservative leader, after her rival Andrea Leadsom withdrew from the contest.

Theresa May has been an MP since 1997, quickly joining the Conservative frontbench in opposition, and has served as Home Secretary since 2010. Her comments on the sector itself have been limited , but she has worked with a number of charities in her role, and like many of the leadership candidates has talked of the need for social reform.

As the new government is formed, NCVO will be providing additional analysis on what cabinet appointments may mean for the voluntary sector.

Labour leadership

Jeremy Corbyn’s position as Labour leader has been challenged after the referendum result, with large numbers of frontbenchers resigning and the leader losing a vote of no confidence among Labour MPs by 172 to 40. An official challenge has now been launched with former shadow business secretary Angela Eagle securing the required nominations to stand, and Jeremy Corbyn automatically on the ballot as leader. Former shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith has also stated his intention to stand, with further candidates having until 21 July to gather the required nominations.

Labour frontbench

One immediate impact of the current Labour leadership challenger is that a number of frontbench positions are vacant. New shadow cabinet members include Angela Rayner (education and women and equalities), Barry Gardiner (energy and climate change), Andy McDonald (transport) and Debbie Abrahams (work and pensions). Due to the lack of junior cover, it’s likely that while this shadow cabinet remains in place, they will be more reliant on external briefings, which could present opportunities for charities.

Brexit unit

One early appointment to the government is David Davis as the new secretary of state for exiting the European Union. Oliver Letwin had been tasked with heading up the new unit which will set the groundwork for the UK’s exit from the European Union. The unit had begun to draw civil servants from the Cabinet Office, the Treasury, and the Foreign and Commonwealth, though it is now unclear how the new department will operate. The lead official will be Oliver Robbins, who is currently heading up immigration policy in the Home Office.

NCVO had spoken to Oliver Letwin and been informed that the unit will focus on the regulatory and legal implications of Brexit.

Select committees

  • Labour MP Ian Mearns was re-elected as Chair of the Backbench Business Committee. Bob Blackman, Kevin Foster, Wendy Morton, Gavin Newlands, David Nuttall, Jess Phillips and William Wragg have also been appointed to the committee.
  • New MPs Gill Furniss and Chris Elmore have been elected to the Women and Equalities Committee and the Justice Committee respectively. Ms Furniss replaces Siobhan McDonagh, and Mr Elmore replaces Andy McDonald.

Other appointments

  • Julian King is the UK’s new EU commissioner following Jonathan Hill’s decision to stand down after the referendum vote. It is not clear what, portfolio he will be given.
  • The Charity Commission has reappointed board members. Eryl Besse, Orlando Fraser QC, Tony Leifer and Gwythian Prins. Three additional positions are being recruited.
  • Lord Fowler was elected as the new House of Lords Speaker, replacing Baroness D’Souza.

Dates for your diary

21 July

Parliament rises for summer recess

5 Sept

Parliament returns after summer recess

6 Sept

NCVO Campaigning Conference

17–20 Sept

Liberal Democrat Conference

25–28 Sept

Labour Conference

2–5 Oct

Conservative Conference

A time of political upheaval

By the time of our next quarterly round-up, our new prime minister will be joined by a new UKIP leader, a new Green Party leader, and possibly a new Labour leader. And all of this will of course take place in the shadow of the most significant constitutional change in a generation.

This upheaval will undoubtedly present a challenge for charities in getting their voice heard, and with economic stability the key goal for any incoming leader it may be difficult to get your issues up the agenda. However, new leadership always brings new opportunities to influence the policy agenda and the result of the referendum may open up discussion around legislation that applies to your work. We’re keen to hear about any potential implications for the sector, so if there is an issue you’d like us to be aware of please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

NCVO can help you to navigate Westminster and Whitehall

Get your voice is heard by those making the decisions. We can provide a range of advice, support and training, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details.

Our upcoming courses include training on:

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