Charity purpose should get greater emphasis for trustees

Sector consultancy and think tank NPC has issued a ‘manifesto for the charity sector’ in the run-up to May’s general election. As they don’t have members to please, they say they have no axe to grind, and can simply “tell it like we find it”.

‘A vision for change: Steps to building a more vibrant and effective charity sector’ splits proposals into three areas, outlined below:

Building trust

The Charity Commission should:

  • Require charity trustees to report on mission and impact. “The language of the Charity Commission’s trustee obligations should be re-drafted to focus on acting less in the interests of the charity and its survival, and more in the interests of its charitable mission and the beneficiaries it exists to help.”
  • Sanction charities that repeatedly breach regulations.
  • Consult on whether funders ought to be required to publish their grant-giving data in a suitable form, with sanctions if they do not comply.

The government should:

  • Establish a Data Lab in every government department to open up easy-to-use administrative data.
  • Take bolder steps on sharing data.

Supporting innovation and scale

Includes proposals for Big Lottery Fund to establish a new Innovation Fund to support new ideas in the charity sector, and for Big Society Capital to promote greater transparency, publishing more on its framework for measuring and assessing impact.

Making commissioning fairer

Suggests that the government should target awarding a minimum of 10% new contracts to charities, also define ‘social value’ so that the Social Value Act has more bite, and strengthen evidence and measurement of social value.

Further policy proposals to be considered by the next government would see large businesses having an obligation to report on their social impact and the reinvigoration of the Office for Civil Society.

Civil Society News coverage. See background article at http://www.thinknpc.org/blog/beneficiaries-first-npcs-2015-manifesto/ or download the full manifesto via http://www.thinknpc.org/publications/npc-manifesto-2015/.