Charity leaders call on PM to rethink anti-advocacy clause in grant agreements

Written by Matt Ritchie
11/02/2016

More than 130 senior charity leaders have written to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to ditch a Cabinet Office proposal to impose an anti-advocacy clause on charities in receipt of Government grants.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock announced at the weekend plans to insert a clause into all new and renewed grant agreements to ensure groups receiving public funds do not use them to lobby for new regulation or more government funding.

A campaign to overturn the move is being led by charity chief executives’ association Acevo and voluntary sector umbrella group NCVO.

The clause to be inserted reads: “The following costs are not Eligible Expenditure: Payments that support activity intended to influence or attempt to influence Parliament, government or political parties, or attempting to influence the awarding or renewal of contracts and grants, or attempting to influence legislative or regulatory action”.

Charity leaders have urged the Prime Minister to reconsider the move on the grounds that the clause would damage the central relationship between Government and charity, and could lead to incoherence and failure of function between individual charities and their sponsoring Government departments.

Signatories to the letter back the principle that taxpayers’ money must be well spent, and argue the proposed clause could cost the taxpayer more through limiting the range of insight available to policy makers.

The letter argues the clause would hamper important campaigns and initiatives like the rehabilitation revolution, promoting healthy diets, the prevent strategy, whistleblowing in the NHS, and the fight against female genital mutilation.

Signatories question the level of understanding of how much important activity would be made impossible by the clause.

Acevo chief executive Sir Stephen Bubb said the proposed clause “makes no sense in logic and is a direct assault on the cause of social justice”.

“Government is right to work with charities and it would be absurd if it stopped listening to the charities it has chosen to work with,” Bubb said. “The Government clearly doesn't know the impact of the measure - neither do its proposers. It would demonstrate an extraordinary degree of hard-headedness if the Government were not to rethink and reaffirm their commitment to social justice and to the duty of charities to speak out on behalf of the vulnerable.”

Read the letter here.

Signatories:

Sir Stephen Bubb, Chief Executive Acevo
Sir Stuart Etherington Chief Executive NCVO
Dr John Low CBE Chief Executive Charities Aid Foundation
Caron Bradshaw Chief Executive Charity Finance Group
Sally Light Chief Executive Motor Neurone Disease Association
Tracey Bleakley Chief Executive Hospice UK
Bridget Doogan Chief Executive St John of God Hospice
Julie Bentley Chief Executive Girl Guiding
Barbara Frost Chief Executive WaterAid
Richard Leaman Chief Executive Guide Dogs
Janet Morrison Chief Executive Independent Age
Tim Cooper Chief Executive United Response
Mark Goldring Chief Executive Oxfam
Paul Streets Chief Executive Lloyds Bank Foundation
Jeremy Hughes Chief Executive Alzheimer's Society
David McCullough Chief Executive Royal Voluntary Service
Matt Hyde Chief Executive Scouts Association
Susan Daniels Chief Executive NDCS
Heidi Travis Chief Executive Sue Ryder
Rob Owen OBE Chief Executive St Giles Trust
Mark Simms Chief Executive P3 Charity
Girish Menon Chief Executive ActionAid
Debbie Bannigan Chief Executive Swanswell
Michael Adamson Chief Executive British Red Cross
Jonathan Senker Chief Executive VoiceAbility
Mark Atkinson Chief Executive Scope
Nick Caplin Chief Executive Blind Veterans
Martin Houghton-Brown Chief Executive DePaul Charity
Campbell Robb Chief Executive Shelter
Jon Sparkes Chief Executive Crisis
Malcolm Shepherd Chief Executive Sustrans
David Hughes Chief Executive Learning and Work Institute
Beccy Speight Chief Executive Woodland Trust
Sara Llewellin Chief Executive Barrow Cadbury Trust
Neil Cleeveley Chief Executive NAVCA
Jacob Tas Chief Executive NACRO
Loretta Minghella Chief Executive Christian Aid
Ben Jackson Chief Executive BOND
David Cutler Chief Executive Baring Foundation
David Emerson CBE Chief Executive Assn of Charitable Foundations
David Warner Chief Executive London Funders
Jeremy Taylor Chief Executive National Voices
Julian Corner Chief Executive Lankelly Chase Foundation
Kathy Evans Chief Executive Children England
Moira Sinclair Chief Executive Paul Hamlyn Foundation
Peter Holbrook Chief Executive Social Enterprise UK
Susanne Rauprich Chief Executive National Council for Voluntary Youth
Services
Jon Barrick Chief Executive Stroke Association
Mark Lever Chief Executive National Autistic Society
Samantha Goodwin Mktg & Comms Mgr Real Life Options
David Miller Director Spinwatch
John Knights Head of Operations Sheila McKechnie Foundation
Janine Tregelles Chief Executive Mencap
Stephen Deuchar Chief Executive Art Fund
Mandy Gardner Chief Executive Fairtrade
Alexandra Runswick Chief Executive Unlock Democracy
Chris Sherwood Chief Executive Relate
Ratna Dutt Chief Executive Race Equality Foundation
David Bull Chief Executive UNICEF
Martin Wyn Griffith Chair UnLtd
Michelle Mitchell Chief Executive MS Society
Michael Ryan Chief Executive St Luke’s Community Centre
Steve McIntosh Dpty Head of Gov Rel Save the Children
Mark Castle Chief Executive Victim Support
Stephanie Hilborne Chief Executive Wildlife Trust
Polly Neat Chief Executive Women’s Aid
Simon Antrobus Chief Executive Addaction
Stephen Hale Chief Executive Refugee Action
Paula Braynion Chief Executive Future Directions CIC
Sophie Livingstone Chief Executive City Year UK
Shirley Moore Chief Executive The Befriending Scheme
Sue Walton Chief Executive Pestalozzi
Karen Walker Chief Executive Multiple System Atrophy Trust
Mark Winstanley Chief Executive Rethink Mental Illness
Stephen Hale Chief Executive Refugee Action
Oonagh Aitken Chief Executive Volunteering Matters
Jonathan Jenkins Chief Executive Social Investment Business
Alex Fox Chief Executive Shared Lives Plus
Adam O’Boyle Chief Executive Hub Ventures
Kate MacDonald Chief Executive YPSF
Allison Ogden-Newton Chief Executive Keep Britain Tidy
Andy Winter Chief Executive Brighton Housing Trust
Sara Mitchell Chief Executive Carers Network
Cathy James Chief Executive Public Concern at Work
Robert Longley-Cook Chief Executive HfT
Lynne Regent Chief Executive Anaphylaxis Campaign
David Warner Chief Executive London Funders
Andrew Waite Chief Executive Greenwich MENCAP
Beth Gardner Chief Executive Fair Train
Simone Enefer-Doy Chief Executive Lifelites
Tony Okotie Chief Executive Liverpool VCS
Menai Owen-Jones Chief Executive Pituitary Foundation
Simone Spray Chief Executive 42nd Street
Paul Martin Chief Executive LGBT Foundation
Gail Scott Spicer Chief Executive Carers Trust
Matt Dymond Chief Executive South Gloucester Youth Housing
Lisa Lenton Chief Executive ARC England
Dr Kay Miller Chief Executive Dr Hadwen Trust
Claire Periton Chief Executive Helen & Douglas House
Nick Hartshorne Evans Chief Executive Pumping Marvellous Foundation
Dr Mike Heyworth MBE Director Council for British Archaeology
Richard Barritt Chief Executive Solent Mind
Alison Garnham Chief Executive Child Poverty Action Group
Maureen Falloon Chief Executive Age UK Bromley & Greenwich
Jenny Saunders OBE Chief Executive National Energy Action
Cheryl Ward Chief Executive Family Fund
Ellie Munro Policy Officer Motor Neurone Disease Association
Jan Tregelles Chief Executive MENCAP
Pamela Ball Chief Executive Knowsley CVS
Judi Rhys Chief Executive Arthritis Care
Caroline Mason Chief Executive Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
Keith Starling Interim Chief Executive Big Society Capital
Bharat Mehta Chief Executive Trust for London
Gillian Caldwell Chief Executive Global Witness
Jo Wells Director The Blagrave Trust
Rick Henderson Chief Executive Homeless Link
Tony Armstrong Chief Executive Locality
Rosemary Macdonald Chief Executive Community Foundation for Wilshire &
Swindon
Sue Milman Chief Executive Ataxia UK
Sharon Coyle Chief Executive Children’s Heart Surgery Fund
Kirsty Smith Chief Executive CMBUK
Amanda Hedley Chief Executive Norwich & Central Norfolk Mind
Anna Feuchtwang Chief Executive National Children’s Bureau
Clare Wightman Chief Executive Grapevine
Mike Wild Chief Executive MACC
Paul Morrish Chief Executive LandAid
Dr Mike Clarke Chief Executive RSPB
Mark Flannagan Chief Executive Beating Bowel Cancer
Shane Ryan Chief Executive Working With Men
Andrew Langford Chief Executive British Liver Trust
Wendy Thomas Chief Executive The Migraine Trust
Peter Poole Chief of Staff Combat Stress
Shaun Griffin Exec Director Terrence Higgins Trust
Jules Hillier Interim Chief Executive Brook
Amanda Batten Chief Executive Contact a Family
Alison Taylor Chief Executive The Children’s Liver Disease Foundation
Robert Johnstone Chair Access Matters




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