Civil society strategy

Of interest to – the boards and advisors of charities, social enterprises, local government, mission-led business and entities seeking to improve society

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport began its much-touted consultation on a civil society strategy in February.

This exercise follows several charity sector scandals, reports from the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee into Kids Company, and the House of Lords’ select committee work on ‘Stronger charities for a stronger society’. Since then, there have been new media stories on the safeguarding practices of some well-known international aid charities, notably Oxfam.

‘The civil society strategy: have your say’ consultation is a chance for anyone with an interest to shape the government’s work on civil society for the next decade. The consultation takes a broad approach to civil society, from individual acts of kindness to more organised activities, and seeks input from charities, community groups, social enterprises and mission-led organisations, which will cut across private, public and voluntary sectors.

Four themes are highlighted for priority within the strategy:

  • Supporting people, including the young, to play an active role in building a stronger society
  • Unlocking the full potential of private and public sectors to support social good
  • Helping improve communities to make them better places to live and work in
  • Building stronger public services.

Questions are broken down into a further four sections:

  • Our civil society – what is it, how well is it working, what needs to change, how it can be strengthened and how can its voice be heard within government policy and practice?
  • People – how can individuals be encouraged or empowered to play a more active role in civil society? 
  • Partnership – working across all sectors and causes, but particularly youth provision, funding and financing, new investment models and responsible business 
  • Place – working to improve the places where people live and work, and making stronger, more resilient communities, with specific questions on improving public services, devolution, localism and public service mutuals.

The consultation ranges widely, and could be seen as lacking sufficient focus and being too broad to reveal strategic insight, but that is unsurprising given the broad role of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Still, it is incumbent upon those in the relevant sectors to make their voices heard and take advantage of the chance to shape government policy.

The consultation can be found at here, with the deadline on 22 May 2018.

ICSA will be submitting a response. Should you wish to contribute please send comments to before 14 May 2018. Formal CPD is available for contributors.

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