The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have launched the first Civil Society Strategy in 15 years, which will build stronger communities by bringing businesses, charities and the public sector together, and put communities and charities at the heart of decision-making.
The strategy includes plans to:
- Unlock £20 million from inactive charitable trusts (those which spend less than 30% of their annual income) to support community organisations over the next two years. The work will be carried out alongside the Charity Commission and UK Community Foundations.
- Launch an ‘Innovation in Democracy’ pilot scheme in six regions across the country. This will trial creative ways for people to take a more direct role in decisions that affect their local area. This could include Citizens Juries or mass participation in decision-making on community issues via an online poll or app.
- Fund a new independent organisation that will distribute £90 million from dormant bank accounts to get disadvantaged young people into employment. This new organisation will harness the experience of grassroots youth workers, businesses, and other local services, to help young people achieve their full potential.
- Fund a new independent organisation to use £55 million from dormant accounts to tackle financial exclusion and the problem of access to affordable credit.
- Support charities to make their voices heard on issues that matter to them. We will also ensure that charitable trustees reflect the diversity of the society they serve.
- Strengthen Britain’s values of corporate responsibility, through the launch of a major new Leadership Group. This will be formed of senior figures from the business, investment and social sectors, to put social and environmental responsibility at the heart of company decisions.
Charities have been reacting to the Strategy and Civil Society has a good round up of views, characterised as 'good start, could do more'.
Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO has written here about his reaction to the announcement and Acevo, the charity leaders network, has produced their own briefing on the Strategy (PDF:326 KB).
Third Sector have run a piece collating the reactions on social media.
Paul Streets, chief executive of the Lloyds Bank Foundation, has written for Third Sector about how the devil of the Strategy is in the delivery.