Former Cabinet Secretary to lead research project into civil society

Former Cabinet Secretary Lord Gus O’Donnell is to lead a commission on civil society, which has been set up by think tank Pro Bono Economics.

The Law Family Commission on Civil Society will “steer an ambitious programme of ground-breaking research into how best to unleash the full potential of the uk’s civil society”, according to the think tank.

Lord O’Donnell will chair the commission, which includes 17 commissioners from across the private, public, voluntary, education and education sectors.

Commissioners include: The Roots Programme director Ruth Ibegbuna; chief executive of Barnardo’s Dr Javed Kha;, Clore Social Leadership chief executive Shaks Ghosh; NCVO chief executive Karl Wilding; and Theresa Shearer, the chief executive of ENABLE Scotland.

The commission is supported by the Law Family Charitable Foundation and will look at issues around volunteering, philanthropy, communities and the relationship between charities and government.

“Civil society has long been undervalued and overlooked,” said Lord O’Donnell.
“Yet charities employ almost as many people as financial services and generate around £200 billion of social value, equivalent to 10% of GDP. The coronavirus crisis has highlighted the critical role of civil society in all our lives.

“After years of policy neglect, now is the time to examine properly the changes that are needed to allow civil society to do still more to improve our country.

“Leading businesses are putting purpose and profit on a par. Government wants to level up the country. Charities themselves know they’re going to have to do more with less as the recession bites. None of the three sectors can fulfil their aims without the others.

“It is essential all parts of society are involved in the conversation and working as one if the UK is to build back better from the Covid crisis. If we leave even one sector out, attempts to create inclusive growth will fail. That is why the Law Family Commission on Civil Society has brought all sectors – public, private and social – together to unlock civil society’s potential.”

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