Charity representative bodies have urged the sector to increase preparations for no-deal Brexit after the decision to prorogue parliament was made this week.
NCVO said in a blog post that the likelihood of no deal, and of a general election, has increased after the prime minister, Boris Johnson, took the decision to prorogue parliament two days ago.
But, according to upcoming research from the Charity Finance Group, 75 per cent of charities have made no or little preparation for no-deal Brexit.
Caron Bradshaw, chief executive officer at CFG said in her own blog post: “It’s understandable that this is the case because we all know how detrimental to planning such high levels of uncertainty and volatility are.
“But we must step up our preparation and government needs to provide support for the sector.”
She added: “The stakes are incredibly high. The chances of a no-deal departure have certainly increased, so prepare for it we must.”
Operational questions for charities
In his blog, Chris Walker, public affairs manager at NCVO, encouraged charities to consider operational questions, such as if a charity has EU national staff and possible impacts on overseas supply chains.
He said: “In the longer term you will need to consider what [the increased likelihood of no deal] means for the issues that you cover, particularly where the regulatory framework is derived from EU legislation.”
He added that charities should also think about their campaigns for a general election, which he said was also more likely after the government's prorogation decision.
While an election was likely to have a Brexit focus, Walker advised that political parties would also set out key policies in other areas. “It may be possible to be part of that conversation, and to influence what happens in the next parliament.”
Proroguing ‘shrinks the democratic and civic space even further’
Civil society leaders have released a joint statement on the decision to prorogue through the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO).
The statement says: “The prime minister’s decision to suspend parliament for more than four weeks in the lead up to one of the most important national decisions in recent history shrinks the democratic and civic space even further.”
It also advises that proroguing parliament risked ending the passage of bills that aimed to deliver important changes for people and causes within the third sector.
The signatories to the statement are:
- Vicky Browning, chief executive, ACEVO
- Caron Bradshaw, chief executive, Charity Finance Group
- Kathy Evans, chief executive, Children England
- Kate Lee, chief executive, CLIC Sargent
- Ryan Campbell, chief executive, Demelza
- Craig Bennett, chief executive, Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
- James Fitzpatrick, director, Joseph Levy Foundation
- Tony Armstrong, chief executive, Locality
- Jane Ide, chief executive, NAVCA
- Anna Feuchtwang, chief executive, NCB
- Kevin Kibble, chief executive, nurtureUK
- Keith Tyrell, director, PAN UK
- Jo Hickman, director, Public Law Project
- Juliet Prager, deputy recording clerk, Quakers in Britain
- Jo Todd, chief executive, Respect
- Sue Tibballs, chief executive, Sheila McKechnie Foundation
- Rita Chadha, chief executive, Small Charities Coalition
The statement follows a letter to Boris Johnson signed by more than 80 civil society organisations earlier this week, which expressed “grave concerns” about the possible consequences of no-deal Brexit.