Government reshuffle sees move for ‘Civil Society’

After some delay, it has been confirmed that the government reshuffle saw both the Office for Civil Society and the Minister for Civil Society (Rob Wilson) moved from the Cabinet Office to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The reaction of sector leaders was not generally positive: Charity leaders question decision to move charities brief to DCMS. NCVO’s news release was a little more circumspect, saying that it was a good thing to “continue to have an experienced minister, familiar with both the challenges in the sector and the potential that voluntary organisations have to help create a stronger society”. However it continued

There are reasonable questions about how to ensure cross-cutting issues, such as charities’ role in public services, can be dealt with in the same manner as they were in the Cabinet Office. This is not an insurmountable challenge but will require some focus. The pivotal role of charities and volunteering in every aspect of public life must be a central part of this new government’s agenda.

A later NCVO article, written after the move of the Office for Civil Society was confirmed, gives some reflections. These include pointing out that this is hardly the first move of responsibility for the sector, and various implications. Worth a read.

A comment from charity expert Gareth Morgan, on a Civil Society News item which includes a list setting out the current responsibilities of the Office for Civil Society, points out that the important matters of charity law and regulation don’t get a mention.

The director of the OCS has also written ‘A vision for the Office for Civil Society’s future in DCMS‘ for NCVO’s blog.

An article from Community Links asks whether the move “matter(s) to Community Links and organisations like ours?” The quick answer: “Not much now, no. And therein lies the sadness.”

‘Youth’ moves too

Rob Wilson also keeps youth policy and the National Citizen Service in his brief. As reported by CYP Now, this comes just three years after youth policy was shifted from the Department for Education to the Cabinet Office.

Reshuffle details

The official page giving “full details of all ministerial and government appointments following Theresa May becoming Prime Minister on 13 July 2016”.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announcement of its new ministerial team.

Responsibility for charity tax matters in the Treasury has moved from the exchequer secretary (not appointed in the reshuffle) to the financial secretary, Jane Ellison. Civil Society News has a list of her wider responsibilities.

Further notes

The VoluntaryNews Politician Profiles page has been updated, although Labour Party shadows are still missing.

At 27th July, the Community and Society page, which includes Charity Commission news items, still lists the Cabinet Office as a connected organisation with no reference to DCMS.