18 May 2018

Today, umbrella bodies from across civil society sent a letter to Tracy Crouch, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Civil Society, calling for “a civil society strategy that empowers, enables and supports”.

Claire Godfrey, Head of Policy and Campaigns of Bond, the UK’s network of International Development NGOs, said:

“Civil society must be included in decision making processes because that is the only way to ensure that the people and communities we work with are genuinely at the heart of government policies.

The civil society strategy must create a supportive regulatory and political environment for civil society, which protects and promotes their independence and voice, recognises and respects their insights and expertise, and supports their participation in the decision-making process.

Unjust and ill-thought through laws and regulations, such as the Lobbying Act and anti-advocacy clauses, mean civil society is increasingly closed out of public debate and policy making. We have already seen how policies and legislation can have a detrimental impact when they are created without participation from civil society.

The government has said that it recognises the right of charities to campaign and values the benefits it has for our society and communities. But words are not enough unless they are followed by action. Now is the time for action; it is time to reform the Lobbying Act and it is time to stop inserting anti-advocacy clauses into government grant agreements.”

Notes to Editor

1. Letter to Tracy Crouch, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Civil Society: A Civil Society Strategy that empowers, enables and supports

2. The government's consultation on its civil society strategy closes at 9am on 22 May 2018.

3. Bond is the UK network for organisations working in international development. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 450 civil society organisations and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice.

4. For further information please contact Maryam Mohsin, [email protected] or 07555 336029