New report warns of decline in relationship between UK civil society working in development and government

A new report by Bond, UK network of international civil society organisations working in development, has warned that UK civil society organisations have witnessed a distinct decline in engagement by the UK government, leaving them excluded from decision-making processes and exposing government policies and programmes to avoidable errors.

Claire Godfrey, Bond’s Head of Policy and Campaigns said:

“Any political oxygen around global and domestic challenges is being consumed by Brexit, which is making the rapid decline in civil society engagement around government policy even more detrimental. Now is not the time to be shutting civil society out. Now is the time for meaningful, inclusive and deliberative engagement. Civil society ensures a healthy democracy, better policy-making, and bolsters public debate, helping to ensure that all voices are heard.”

The report calls for effective engagement between government and civil society which is meaningful, inclusive and deliberative by ensuring organisations have enough time to take part, as well as consistency, transparency, resourcing and accountability on the UK governments part.

The report uses examples to evidence the existing lack of engagement, such as limited civil society engagement around the UK’s Voluntary National Reviews which are set to measure the UK’s progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the government’s engagement with civil society around Brexit.

The report also draws on positive examples of engagement which includes working with civil society to adopt an inclusive approach to disability through the Department for International Development’s new Disability Strategy, and the work the Department led in 2015, working with civil society to shape the post-Millennium Development Goal (MDG) framework.

Notes to Editors

  1. Ensuring civil society is heard: Principles and practices to improve government engagement with civil society was written by Zoe Abrahamson, Claire Godfrey, Rowan Popplewell and Mike Wright:
  2. Bond is the UK network for organisations working in international development, including Save the Children, Oxfam and Christian Aid. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 400 civil society organisations and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice.
  3. For further information or interviews with the report authors, please contact Maryam Mohsin on 07555 336029 or [email protected]