The Road Ahead

Our analysis of the major opportunities and challenges facing the voluntary sector in 2024. Learn more

The inside track: April 2023

Our latest update on what’s happening in Westminster and how it might impact charities. This month sees a potential tightening of the rules around APPGs, a new data protection bill, and a campaign to help charities engage with the House of Lords.

Parliament news

Stricter rules for All-Party Parliamentary Groups

A new report from the Commons standards committee has recommended stricter rules for All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs).

The report and its recommendations follow an inquiry which found evidence that APPGs could be used by foreign governments to covertly influence Parliament.

The recommendations aim to improve financial transparency and make parliamentarians more accountable for APPGs. Most of the new rules would only apply to APPGs that receive external financial benefits totalling over £1,500 in a calendar year.

If accepted by the government and voted into law, the rules are likely to affect charities providing secretariats for APPGs which meet the threshold.

Campaign to help charities engage with the House of Lords

A new House of Lords campaign wants to make it easier for small charities to engage with the House and bring about change.

Data protection and digital information bill

After the original legislation was paused last year, a new data protection and digital information bill has been published. It received its second reading this week.

The government is keen to keep our data adequacy agreement with the EU. This allows data to flow between the UK and EU and relies on the UK providing strong enough data protection standards to satisfy the EU. Because of this, the bill doesn’t suggest there will be as many changes as originally predicted.

However, Open Rights Group has co-ordinated a letter raising concerns about the impact on privacy rights. They urge the government to scrap the bill.

We'll continue to track the bill and its impact on the way charities process data.

Stephenson Harwood has a helpful breakdown of what’s included in the latest bill.

Citizenship and civic engagement debate

In 2018 the select committee on citizenship and civic engagement published The Ties that Bind: Citizenship and Civic Engagement in the 21st Century. This report looked at how government, schools, and civil society help people to participate and feel at home in the UK.

On 17 April 2023 the House of Lords debated the findings of the liaison committee’s follow-up report.

We briefed peers ahead of the debate. We set out the role of volunteering and the importance of local community infrastructure in developing civic engagement across the country.

Select committee on Energy Security and Net Zero

The House of Commons has agreed to create a new Commons select committee to examine the work of the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.

The department was created after Rishi Sunak announced machinery of government changes. These split the old Department for Business, Enterprise, and Industrial Strategy across three different departments.

The chair of the committee will be a Member of the Scottish National Party, to reflect the current balance of MPs in the House of Commons.

Nominations are now open and a new chair is expected to be announced before the end of the month.

People news

A new first minister in Scotland

Humza Yousaf was elected as first minister of Scotland on 28 March after being elected as Scottish National Party leader the day before.

Yousaf has been in government since 2012 and served as health secretary under his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon.

Volunteers' Week

With just two months to go until Volunteers’ Week 2023, now is a good time to write to your local MP and encourage them to take part. Volunteers’ Week is an opportunity for them to recognise and celebrate the impact of volunteering in your community.

Volunteers’ Week is now entering its 39th year. The annual campaign brings together charities, voluntary groups, social organisations, and volunteers to recognise the incredible impact that volunteering has in UK communities.

Back to top