Public policy round-up: May 2018

Civil society strategy

The engagement exercise that DCMS ran to inform its civil society strategy ended earlier this month, and you can read NCVO’s response in Karl’s blog.

I also attended the ‘Civil Society in the 21st century’ event, where the Minister Matt Hancock spoke about his ambitions for what the Strategy should do. It was a very positive and encouraging speech, recognising the important role that civil society organisations play in connecting communities, and the legitimate voice they have in public life.

You can read the full speech here.

Now that the consultation has ended, officials are working through all the submissions and the aim is for the strategy to be published in the Summer.

In the meantime, Civil Society Futures has published its one year progress report, sharing its emerging findings after the first 12 months of its inquiry into the future of civil society.

New Civil Society Almanac

At the start of the month our research colleagues launched the 2018 Civil Society Almanac, our most comprehensive analysis of the key financial and workforce data about charities.

As always it is a fascinating insight into how our sector is evolving, what the landscape looks like and what trends are. You can read an overview of the key findings here.

Developing a ‘code of ethics’ for charities

As previously mentioned in my blog following the Charity Commission’s summit on safeguarding, as a result NCVO is currently drafting a proposed ‘code of ethics’ for charities.

Our aim is to develop a set of high level principles that will help charities, no matter what their size or type of activity, ensure they are taking an ethical approach to their work and making their organisation a ‘safe place’ for anyone who comes into contact with them.

With Dame Mary Marsh as chair, we have hosted a roundtable to gather feedback on a first draft, with a broad range of organisations providing very positive and constructive comments. A revised version will be published for wider consultation, so we can ensure everyone who wants to have a say.

Guidance for charities connected to non-charities

The Charity Commission has consulted on its new draft guidance for charities that have a relationship with connected organisations that are not a charity.

The guidance is likely to be of particular relevance to:

  • Charities and their trading subsidiaries
  • Corporate foundations
  • Charities that operate within international federations
  • Dual structure campaigning charities
  • Social enterprise structures which include both a charity and non-charity

However, the Commission’s definition of ‘connected’ entities is expressed widely in the guidance, to include any ‘deliberate’ connection between the charity and the non-charity. Such a wide definition means that many other arrangements beyond those listed above may be caught, and this is a concern we raised in our response.

You can read NCVO’s full response here.


The Institute of Fundraising has published updated guidance on acceptance, refusal and return of donations. The review of this guidance was undertaken following the Presidents’ Club scandal, to help charities make decisions on when to accept or refuse a gift.

The Fundraising Regulator has published new guidance on handling complaints and announced changes to the Code of Fundraising Practice in relation to handling complaints.

Future of Giving report

This new report on ‘The Future of Giving’ by Barclays looks at the trends in people’s giving, and how we are increasingly becoming a cashless society.

73% of charities have reported a decline in street donations, so technology is going to become even more important as organisations explore new and creative ways of connecting with donors.


25 May was #GDPRday.

And just in time, the ICO has published its final guidance on consent. The guidance highlights the importance for organisations of only relying on consent when they can demonstrate that consent is valid. The ICO indicates that the biggest change brought in by the GDPR is the need for documenting consent mechanisms, so for example recording consent and ensuring individuals can easily withdraw consent.

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