Charities’ independence ‘under serious and growing threat’

The commissioning and regulatory environment is continuing to discourage charities from campaigning, according to the latest review of the situation from Civil Exchange.

The think tank has called on the Prime Minister, Theresa May, to learn from past failures and take improve the situation by “signing up to an effective, externally and independently policed and properly funded Compact”.

Writing in the foreword to the think tank’s latest report, A shared society? The independence of the voluntary sector in 2017, Sir Roger Singleton said: “What particularly strikes me over the last 12 months is the chilling – indeed sometimes freezing – effect on the independent voice of the sector, not helped by what the report describes as ‘a profound muddiness’ about what is acceptable on campaigning.”

The report says that the situation has been made worse by the continued existence of Lobbying Act, gagging clauses in contracts, how the Charity Commission handled guidance on European Union referendum and introduction of new government grant standards.

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