One day course
Charities – and other organisations working within the not-for-profit landscape – exist to bring about positive social, economic and/or environmental change. And this, of course, often necessitates running campaigns and lobbying politicians and policy makers at all levels.
So, when the ‘Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014’ (aka the ‘Gagging Bill’) came into effect in September of that year it caused widespread alarm amongst 3rd sector practitioners and their stakeholders. Would we still be able to advocate, lobby, and hold politicians to account? Would Trustees be failing in their legal and governance responsibilities if the organisations they represent continue to campaign? Were NGOs facing possible fines or other sanctions? Was the sector at risk of being muzzled like a rabid dog that needed to be controlled, even put down?
Arguably the Act is one of a number of threats to the independence of the sector at a time of ‘austerity’ and significant political uncertainty due to ‘Brexit’. Other concerns include:
- New grant standards that seek to prevent the government paying for what it calls ‘political lobbying’ and ‘undue influence’
- Campaigning restrictions in the latest round of the ‘Tampon Tax Fund’
- Charity Commission guidance during the EU referendum that discouraged voluntary sector involvement
- New regulations inhibiting future legal challenges (e.g. Judicial Reviews) to government environment and health decisions.
This course will help demystify the Act, its implications and effects. It will show you how it potentially impacts upon your organization’s activities, clarify its exact remit and provide examples of how organizations have managed to continue to lobby effectively and legally since the Bill was passed.
Who should sign up?
Campaigners; policy and public affairs specialists; Trustees; activists; managers
What will you get out of it?
- Clarity regarding the implications of the Act in terms of campaigning and advocacy work
- Learn whether how or if affects your organization’s lobbying activity, including money spent on campaigning and advocacy
- Help Trustees, staff and volunteers to understand their legal obligations and any constraints they may be working under
- Reassure you that even in this ever-changing political landscape, it is possible to keep ‘Keep Calm and Carry on Campaigning.’
What will it cover?
- The history and intention behind the Act
- Lobbying Act terminology
- The four tests included in the Act
- The amendments suggested in the ‘Hodgson Review’ of the Act
- The guidance provided by the Electoral Commission and Charity Commission
- Spending thresholds
- A ‘dos and don’ts’ of campaigning around election time
- Real-life examples of how other organisations have gone about their campaigning and lobbying activity despite the Act.
Please note: this course does not constitute or replace professional legal advice.
Trainer: Matthew Davis
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