The Lobbying Act a ‘threat to democracy’
Last week, eleven voluntary sector organisations called on the government to make changes to charity campaigning rules because they represent a “fundamental threat to democracy”. The letter written to Matt Hancock, the culture secretary, states that “silencing organisations that represent the most vulnerable in society is a fundamental threat to democracy.” The letter also highlights the Lobbying Act’s impact on charities’ ability to engage in political debate and promote local democracy. The government has already said ‘the third party campaigning rules are necessary. They ensure transparency and fairness of non-party campaigning at elections and that no individual or organisation exerts undue influence’.
The Directory of Social Change supported the Sheila McKechnie Foundation in gathering evidence about the impact of the Lobbying Act on campaigning by civil society organisations. Here are six key findings from the research that underpin how the Lobbying Act affects charities:
- People’s voices go missing from the political debate
- It makes it harder for charities to pursue their mission
- It reduces working in coalition activity
- It alters the tone of campaigning
- The Act has a cost well beyond its intended application
- It stops some activity completely
Labour MP puts forward bill to bring in stricter vetting of international aid workers
International aid workers should be vetted in a similar way to teachers and social workers, according to proposed legislation from Stephen Twigg, chair of the House of Commons International Development Committee. Twigg also told MPs that a system of funding for safeguarding functions in international development charities should be considered by the government.
Minister moves to stop online fundraising platforms claiming fees from Gift Aid
The government minister responsible for charity tax has said he is taking steps to prevent online fundraising platforms from claiming their fees from the Gift Aid on donations. Daniel Fluskey, head of policy and research at the Institute of Fundraising, warned that any changes needed to be considered carefully to prevent a negative impact on donations – read the full article here.