An informal group calling itself The Civil Society Group launches today to improve collaboration within the sector and streamline engagement with governments.
Throughout the pandemic a group of infrastructure bodies, think tanks and funders have been working more closely together. Those involved say this has been important to securing support for charities and social enterprises during the pandemic.
However, some people, such as Richard Hawkes, have voiced concerns about whether the existing methods have been effective enough when it comes to influencing politicians.
Today’s announcement is intended to build on the work so far, and the organisers are inviting others to join the group.
There is a strategic oversight group involving 16 organisations and three sub-groups focused on the main objectives of the collaboration: influencing, policy development and sharing information.
Joyce Fraser, interim chair of the Small Charities Coalition, said: “We are making working together the norm, not just something that happens in times of crisis. This will benefit the communities receiving support from the charities and social change organisations in our diverse networks and help ensure our collective voice is heard by decision makers in government.
“Collaboration is at the heart of what The Civil Society Group wants to achieve for wider society. We believe that the issues we face today can only be solved when we include everybody. The organisations we represent, from faith groups, charity shops, to local community operations and foodbanks, offer so much to our communities.”
In a statement organisers said that the group does not “aim to to be the sole representative voice for the sector or to supplant the work of existing representative organisations or membership bodies”. But hopes its work will “accelerate” influence on policy makers and “help civil society to deliver support for communities more efficiently and effectively”.
Should a member of the group disagree with a position they will still be able to publicly express their views. The group will use an alignment scale to help find consensus and understand where organisations stand.
The Group has begun working with Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on four joint priorities for government and civil society, which are:
- Cross-Whitehall relationships.
- Better data.
- Demonstrating impact and value.
- Commissioning and procurement.
The group is looking at how to develop new relationships around the levelling up agenda and working with the Charity Commission. It is also supporting the development of a framework for coordinated action on improving race equity across civil society.
To join the group membership organisations should email [email protected]
Administrative resources for the collaboration are being provided by DSC and NCVO, although this is being kept under review.
Strategic oversight group
This will be chaired by members on a rotating basis and is intended to operate on the basis of “subsidiarity”, meaning that it is not superior to the wider membership, but carrying out only necessary functions.
Most are core members, which were appointed based on their role in the sector, but three members were nominated by the wider membership to ensure wider representation and diversity on the group.
- ACEVO (Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations)
- ACF (Association of Charitable Foundations)
- AOC (Association of Chairs)
- Charity Finance Group (CFG)
- Charity Retail Association
- Chartered Institute of Fundraising (CIOF)
- DSC (Directory of Social Change)
- Equally Ours
- NAVCA (National Association for Voluntary and Community Action)
- NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations)
- Small Charities Coalition (SCC)
- Social Enterprise UK (SEUK)
- Sign Health
- WCVA / CGGC (Wales Council for Voluntary Action / Cyngor Gweithredu Gwirfoddol Cymru)
- ACO (Association of Charitable Organisations)
- ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England)
- AMRC (Association of Medical Research Charities)
- Children England
- Cranfield Trust
- Disability Rights UK
- Eden Project Communities
- Equality Trust
- GMCVO (Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation)
- Irish in Britain
- Jewish Leadership Council
- Jewish Volunteering Network
- LGBT Consortium
- Lloyds Bank Foundation
- London Funders
- Masorti Judaism
- Muslim Charities Forum
- National Voices
- National Children’s Bureau (NCB)
- Neurological Alliance
- NIVCA (Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action)
- Richmond Group
- Royal Voluntary Service
- UK Coop
- UK Youth
- Voice 4 Change England
- Volunteering Matters
- Women’s Resource Centre (WRC)