Voice4Change letter to the The Chancellor

Voice4Change have joined with nine other infrastructure organisations in urging the Chancellor to consider a number of policy proposals that will support the Voluntary Sector. The open letter to the Chancellor comes ahead of the Autumn Statement, when the Chancellor will lay out the Government’s financial priorities in the first Post-Brexit Budget.

The letter emphasizes that the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector has an important role to play in stimulating economic growth and addressing inequality. It says that the voluntary sector is geared towards the public good and supports the work of the public sector, but that the vast majority of these organisations are small charities with an income less than £100,000.

Voluntary organisations are experts at achieving with tight budgets, and these policy proposals do not just ask for more funding. They ask for a better use of resources, and a better dialogue between the Government and the umbrella bodies which represent the Voluntary and Community Sector.

The letter is posted below. Read the full policy proposals here


Seizing opportunities and meeting challenges

We are writing to you ahead of the Autumn Statement to present a number of policy proposals that will enable Britain to seize the opportunities and meet the challenges facing Britain in a post-Brexit world.

The voluntary, community and social enterprise sector is an essential partner for the government for achieving its goal of stimulating sustainable economic growth in all areas of the UK whilst addressing social inequality, supporting cohesive communities and galvanising democratic participation for all.

Voluntary organisations are significant economic actors in their own right. The Gross Value Added by civil society to the UK economy every year stands at £12.2 billion – equal to that of the agricultural sector. The sector employs 827,000 people and mobilises 14.2 million volunteers which is worth over £24 billion each year. The sector also drives innovation with social enterprises increasing the number of new products by 59%, compared to the 38% developed by SMEs.

All of this is geared towards delivering public benefit, in many cases underpinning the work of public services or delivering preventative interventions which save public money over the long term. The sector is largely made up of specialist and local organisations that have typically developed in response to a local need, ensuring everyone can access the services that enable them to fulfil their potential. 97% of the sector has an income of less than £1m and 83% less than £100,000.

As the beating heart of a vibrant democratic society, small and medium-sized charities enable Government to understand the aspirations and needs of communities across the country and work towards a society where barriers to opportunity are eliminated. Indeed, Government cannot achieve its mission of making Britain a country that works for everyone without them. Yet there is a critical need for Government to find a more effective, joined-up and strategic way of working with the sector to maximise its potential and achieve its mission faster.

We know that these organisations are expert at doing more with less. Supported by an army of volunteers, they already deliver high levels of value across some of society’s most intractable social issues. Yet despite their entrepreneurial approach demand for services continues to rise and access to funding is becoming increasingly difficult.

In short, many voluntary organisations are facing considerable challenges, particularly those with an income of under £1m. These are the organisations that are embedded in the communities they serve, trusted by those who need support and who provide person-centred, holistic services that address the root causes of the challenges people face.

The policy options presented in the attached document are the result of a collaborative process between the leading umbrella bodies in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector across the areas that we that the government can add the most value.

These are:

1)  Economic growth

2)  Supporting people to take ownership of their local areas

3)  And harnessing and driving innovation in technology

This isn’t just about spending more money, but making better use of existing resources by drawing on the full range of policy levers open to the government.

We are keen for this to be the start of a new dialogue between the sector and the government, so together we can better tackle the challenges we all face. We would like the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the opportunities and challenges highlighted in this document.

Yours sincerely,

Caron Bradshaw: Chief Executive, Charity Finance Group

Sir Stuart Etherington: Chief Executive, NCVO

Neil Cleeveley: Chief Executive, NAVCA

Tony Armstrong: CEO, Locality

David Emerson CBE: Chief Executive, Association of Charitable Foundations

Kunle Olulode: Director, Voice4Change England

Asheem Sing: Interim Chief Executive, ACEVO

John Barrett: Acting CEO, Small Charities Coalition

Peter Hollbrook: CEO, Social Enterprise UK

Peter Lewis: CEO, Institute of Fundraising