Kruger report calls for new law to ensure charities can design and deliver public services

Charities should be given powers to design and deliver public services through legislation, according to a report commissioned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson asked Conservative MP Danny Kruger in June to review ways charities can continue supporting communities amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kruger’s review has set out a number of proposals for the government to consider including bringing in a Community Power Act, to give charities the power to design and deliver public services.

The report, called Levelling up our communities: proposals for a new social covenant, also states that “the Community Power Act should enshrine the right of communities, charities and social enterprises to a voice in the design of policy and where appropriate a role in the delivery of public goods”.

The report said that the ethos of the act builds on local authority experiments in Barking and Dagenham, Frome and Wigan “where mould breaking councils decided to hand over power and responsibility to civil society”.

A volunteer passport system, to match supply and demand of voluntary help, is also called for.

The report also recommends extra funding for the charity sector. This includes a £500m Community Recovery Fund to help charities during the health crisis.

There should also be a new £2bn endowment, the Levelling Up Communities Fund, for long-term investment. This should be financed through dormant insurance accounts.

“We are on the cusp of a new era of economic and social policy,” states Kruger in a letter to Boris Johnson.

“The era just ending was governed by economic and social doctrines which have caused us to become the most regionally unequal country in the developed world, with a range of chronic social challenges. The era now opening must address these challenges by putting communities at the heart of policy making.

“The experience of the recent crisis - the willingness of local people to step forward and collaborate, the flexibility shown by public services and the social commitment of businesses - shows what is possible. Add the extraordinary new dynamics of data and digital innovation, and a wholly new paradigm is possible in which community power replaces the dominance of remote public and private sector bureaucracies.”

Johnson has said that he has asked charities minister Diana Barran to consult with the public, charities and other organisations involved in voluntary work on the plans.

Kruger is MP for Devizes and former political sectary to Johnson. He is also the founder of two charities, Only Connect and West London Zone for Children and Young People. He found himself the subject of a social media storm this month when he was photographed not wearing a mask on a train journey from Hungerford to Paddington.

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