NCVO links up with conservative think tank to lobby centre right politicians

The NCVO is working with a conservative think tank to forge “new relationships” with centre right politicians.

The link up with think tank Bright Blue is alongside Lloyds Bank Foundation and has been made as the charity sector body looks to bolster its lobbying around the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.

The partnership has been announced by NCVO interim chief executive Sarah Vibert, who admits that “not everyone likes the language” of the government’s ‘levelling up’ policy.

“We are partnering with Bright Blue to build new relationships with influential figures across the centre right of UK politics,” she said.

“We will focus on how the voluntary sector can support the government to deliver its ‘levelling up’ agenda. Not everyone likes the language, but I believe this is another way of talking about reducing inequalities—an agenda where voluntary organisations have a lot to offer.”

Bright Blue describes itself as an “independent think tank for liberal conservatism” to influence government policy.

In addition, the NCVO is to further strengthen its lobbying with a “formal partnership” with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport “to collaborate on shared priorities”.

Vibert says that it is important that lobbying “is no longer something done behind closed doors”.

“A modern approach to influencing involves sharing power and access and ensuring we are amplifying the voices of people and local communities. NCVO is actively working on how we better involve members in influencing work and developing new connections with devolved parliaments, metro mayors, and city authorities.”

She has made her comments in a blog post for New Philanthropy Capital, in which she admits the NCVO’s relationship with government has “ebbed and flowed” over the last century.

She added that the NCVO “won’t hesitate to speak out when the rhetoric and actions of the government or politicians are undermining the freedoms and rights of charities, civil society and the communities they work with”.

The NCVO’s announcement comes as a group of Tory MPs call for greater investment in the Charity Commission, to bolster transparency and governance among charities involved in ‘levelling up’.

Their report, presented at the Conservative Party conference this week, calls for “real time regulation and oversight” of charities.

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