A greater role in a more open democracy

Charities bring people together and can create a pathway for individuals to become engaged and contribute to public life. People also want more spaces and ways to come together, to be heard and to hear each other.

We call on the next government to:

  • provide new spaces and opportunities for local activism and participation in the community. Thousands of community spaces are lost every year, from youth clubs to libraries, from pubs to playgrounds. Investment is needed to create the buildings and spaces that bring people together and build connections and community.
  • involve charities more in policymaking. The government’s Civil Society Strategy promises a cross-government group to work with civil society to establish the principles of effective involvement in the policy-making process. The next government should set this group up as soon as possible in the new parliament.
  • reform the Lobbying Act by implementing the recommendations made by Lord Hodgson’s review. The Electoral Commission’s new guidance for non-party campaigners is very welcome, but the law still imposes unnecessary legal barriers. The next government should also consider how the retrospective regulated period works in snap general elections.
  • provide clarity and consistency on the use of ‘anti-advocacy clauses’ in grant agreements and contracts. There is still inconsistency across government departments in this area. More should be done to reassure charities that they have the right to speak out on government policy, regardless of any funding arrangement.