Civil Society Strategy - First thoughts from ACF
“There is much to welcome in this strategy, which rightly, and with significant cross-governmental backing, identifies the vital importance of a thriving, diverse voluntary sector, and explicitly recognises the invaluable contribution of charities & social enterprises to our communities and public life.
ACF was particularly pleased to see the explicit acknowledgement of the role that civil society has in helping shape expertise-led policy and in speaking up on behalf of beneficiaries, the aspiration that the UK ‘become the global centre for philanthropy practice’ and the recognition that grants are a powerful and flexible tool in the funding toolbox.
However, alongside the very many positives, it is important not to lose sight of the broader context in which the strategy sits, and on that front, some questions remain. For example, at a time of unprecedented cuts to local authority budgets, how are we to read the strategy’s positivity around ‘new providers taking responsibility’ for a wide range of formerly statutory services? And what might that mean for the role of philanthropic funders already dealing with an ever increasing call on their resources?
That said, such questions should not obscure the very real and welcome change in mood music that the strategy represents. There is much to build on, and some extremely positive indications about how future conversations and joint working may develop. Over the coming months, ACF looks forward to further engagement on the issues contained in the strategy, both with government itself and with the many foundations whose expertise is quoted throughout.”
Carol Mack, Chief Executive, ACF