V4CE statement on anti-advocacy clause

Many of you will be aware of the government’s plans to insert an anti-advocacy clause into all new and renewed grant agreements from May this year. This means that charities who receive Government grants will be banned from using those funds to lobby for changes in Government policy. Many charities have voiced concerns about this. The heads of 130 charities wrote a letter to the Prime Minister earlier this month urging him to reconsider the policy. “Charities have been at the forefront of campaigning for reform for decades,” they wrote. “It would be a tragedy if such critical advocacy work were inhibited.” A number of MPs have also condemned this policy, denouncing it as “an outrageous attempt to further curb the independence of charities”.

The Government have responded that tax payer’s money must only be spent on improving people’s lives and spreading opportunities, not on lobbying. They also point out that charities will still be able to use private money to lobby Government if they wish.

Kunle Olulode – Director of Voice4Change England - made the following statement about the changes:

 

“Campaigning is part of the DNA of what makes charities tick. Any attempts to hinder such activities can only be viewed as a crude attempt to undermine the ability of our sector to hold central government to account for policies that impact on the communities we represent, our partner organisations and ourselves.

“Voice4Change as an organisation are active in shaping policy. We have spent many hours giving feedback and expert advice to government on a range of issues and ideas without any financial support from the government. But that doesn’t mean this can always be the case. It also raises major questions about the value of The ‘Compact’ between the charities sector and local and central government. Therefore, V4CE will joining with colleagues such as NCVO and the Coalition of Race Equality organisations CORE to oppose the insertion of this clause into contracts.”

 

Given the fact that most charities receive a mixture of public and private funding, and the loose definition of what constitutes lobbying, there are still unanswered questions which charities have about these changes.

This blog for NCVO illustrates some of those questions:

We will post clarifications about this change in policy as and when they emerge.