Sector leaders welcome pause in implementation of anti-influencing clause

Sector bodies have welcomed news the Government is “pausing the implementation” of a new clause in grant agreements that would restrict public grant funded charities from influencing policymakers.

The Cabinet Office this morning issued a statement saying it would “continue considering the comments of all interested parties ahead of the introduction into grant agreements of the clause”.

“We are pausing the implementation pending a review of the representations made and we will take a decision on the form of the clause following this review,” the Cabinet Office announced.

In a joint statement, Acevo, NCVO, and Social Enterprise UK said they are pleased with the delay, but continued to “call for the full and immediate withdrawal of this policy”.

“The clause, as it stands, goes much further than it says on the tin and will deter many charities and social enterprises from making representations to government and parliament,” the statement said. “We look forward to hearing more from government on how they will proceed – in particular we have asked them to consider a formal consultation with the charity sector and other affected bodies.”

The bodies also call for “urgent clarification” of how the pause in implementation will apply to organisations that already have grant agreements in place containing the clause.

Plans for the clause were announced in February. The clause, to be inserted into all new and renewed grant agreements, would seek to prevent groups receiving public funds using them to lobby for new regulation or more government funding.

The draft wording of the clause read: “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”.

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