Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport minister Nigel Huddlestone has pledged to build partnerships between government and charities, amid concerns his policy remit is too wide.
Earlier this month Huddlestone was named civil society and youth minister in addition to his existing remit overseeing heritage, tourism and sport. He replaced Baroness Barran, who has moved to the Department for Education following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s reshuffle in September.
This gives Huddlestone, who is also an assistant government whip, one of the most extensive policy briefs in government.
Concerns have been raised by among others the NCVO and British Youth Council around the breadth of his role in government across a variety of sectors.
But Huddlestone has said that “civil society is a critical part of so much of what DCMS and the whole of government is working to achieve”.
Speaking at a this week’s New Philanthropy Capital Ignites 2021 Conference he added: “I believe there is huge potential in embedding civil society as part of my broader portfolio, for example aligning our efforts to unlock philanthropy and grow the role of volunteers.”
During his speech he added that “civil society has a huge and central role to play” in supporting communities to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said: “We know that the involvement of volunteers, charities and social enterprises make a huge difference to the experience of living in a place, providing opportunities for everyone, young and old, to become active citizens.
“Participation in civil society builds social cohesiveness and allows people to come together to tackle issues and challenges collectively.
“We also know that where charities and social enterprises are active they can deliver positive outcomes for people in need through the services they provide.”
He added that he is “committed to building and maintaining an open and constructive” partnership between government and charities”.
“DCMS is here to represent the interests of civil society across government, to unlock opportunities, and create the conditions for our sectors to thrive,” he said.
NPC head of policy and external affairs Leah Davis said that Huddleston’s commitment to “improving relationships between government and charities” is welcome.
Great to hear from @HuddlestonNigel to kick off @NPCthinks #NPCIgnites. Very welcome words on improving relationships between government and charities. We're looking forward to working with him to do that.— Leah Davis (@Leah_Davis) October 12, 2021