There is currently no charities minister after Baroness Barran was moved to the Department for Education in last week’s reshuffle.
Barran, who had been minister for civil society and loneliness since July 2020, is now minister for the school system under the new education secretary Nadhim Zahawi.
Civil Society News has sought confirmation from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), about whether the department will continue to host the Office for Civil Society and when the minister responsible will be named.
On Twitter, Barran said: “Great honour to be appointed to @educationgovuk ministerial team. Excited to get to work but first….HUGE THANKS to @DCMS Civil Society and Youth team for all your support. Also to all the charities, social enterprises for all the work you do – especially during the past 18 months.
“It has been the most difficult time and you have stepped up and delivered for our communities. Supported of course by brilliant volunteers whose generosity has been extraordinary. Thanks too to all the funders and philanthropists who have partnered with us in the past year.”
Great honour to be appointed to @educationgovuk ministerial team. Excited to get to work but first….HUGE THANKS to @DCMS Civil Society and Youth team for all your support. Also to all the charities, social enterprises for all the work you do - esp during the past 18 months 1/3— Diana Barran (@dianabarran) September 17, 2021
Barran was generally well respected in the charity sector and several senior leaders tweeted their gratitude and best wishes.
Who is at DCMS?
Nadine Dorries was appointed as culture secretary on Wednesday. Only one DCMS minister, Nigel Huddleston, who is responsible for sport and tourism, has kept their job at DCMS.
Julia Lopez and Chris Philp have been appointed to the department as minister of state and parliamentary under secretary respectively. Lopez joins from the Cabinet Office and Philp from the Home Office.
There is not yet a DCMS representative in the House of Lords.
Typically, the prime minister appoints individuals to departments and it is then for the department head, in this case Dorries, to hand out ministerial portfolios, which is why there is often confusion about who the charities minister is during reshuffles.
A number of key appointments relevant to the voluntary sector have already been confirmed in the Treasury, Foreign Office and newly rebranded Department for Levelling Up.
Helen Whately became the exchequer secretary to the Treasury, which will give her responsibility for charity tax issues.
She has been an MP since 2015 and was minister for social care until last week. She has previously held roles in DCMS and as deputy chair of the Conservative Party. Before entering parliament Whately worked as a media policy adviser to an MP at DCMS having initially trained as a management accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
On her website it says: “Helen has worked with several charities as a volunteer and adviser, and has also been a school governor.”
Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
Last week, Michael Gove was tasked with heading up the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which has now been rebranded as the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
Neil O’Brien has also joined the department. He was previously the prime minister’s levelling up adviser. He is the co-founder of the think tank, Onward, which set out a series of reforms for volunteering and Gift Aid last year.
Elsewhere, Andy Haldane has been appointed to head up a levelling up taskforce.
Kemi Badenoch, who had been exchequer secretary at the Treasury, has also joined this department and will continue as minister for equalities.
Liz Truss was appointed as foreign secretary last week, and the role now includes oversight of international aid programmes.
Stephanie Draper, CEO of Bond, a UK network for organisations working in international development, said: “This year has hit home the need for global cooperation to deal with climate change, the rise in extreme poverty, and ongoing humanitarian crises. But this work, undoubtedly, has been made harder by the cuts to UK aid.
“It is critical that the new foreign secretary uses the upcoming international development strategy to ensure UK aid remains poverty-focused, and that the whole portfolio of the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office, delivers long-term, sustainable development for the most marginalised communities, whilst protecting human rights and civil society space globally.”