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Voluntary sector not truly independent, says top Tory lobbyist

Voluntary sector not truly independent, says top Tory lobbyist
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Voluntary sector not truly independent, says top Tory lobbyist 1

Fundraising | Celina Ribeiro | 18 Jan 2010

A leading Conservative website claims that the voluntary sector’s ‘dependency’ on statutory funding undermines its credibility as ‘voluntary’.

A key figure in conservative politics, founder of the ConservativeHome website Tim Montgomerie, has claimed in a blog that “much of the voluntary sector has become so dependent on government funding that it is hardly voluntary at all”.

Montgomerie, who has been involved in setting up influential conservative bodies since 1990 and is associated with Tory power broker Iain Duncan-Smith, added that in addition to funding dependency the high proportion of staff moving between government and voluntary sector organisations further undermines the sector’s independence.

Echoing a preference for “smaller community-based groups” expressed by Conservative MPs, Montgomerie calls for a revolution in government funding of charities, replacing grants with a matched funding initiative which would see government only fund those charities which raise money from private sources.

The Conservative Party policy on the voluntary sector too is flawed, according to Montgomier, who argues the “managerial” approach taken by the party is unlikely to diversify the sector and suggests the policy has not gained any popularity within the sector itself.

Richard Molineux
consultant
molineux fundraising
21 Jan 2010

In addition to the massive statutory funding received by various charities as a proportion of their income, there is also considerable income to NGOs from the EU.

In the interests of transparency, either all reg charities should carry a statement under their strapline saying (using a braodband figure, eg +/- 10%) taken from their most recent audited accounts, e.g. "75% statutory funded + 15% EU funded" if they get more than 50% of their income from EU and statutory sources combined OR all those with 50%
or more of their income together from those two sources should be called, and have to put this on all their publications, e.g. "charitable agency" or some such clearly differentiated title. Then private and institutional funders know what they are funding.

The figures are up for discussion: but the principle is an important one, especially when a charity espouses a Government and/or EU policy or initiative.

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