The 2015 Project

Katie Howe was part of NCVO’s Parliamentary and Media Team and has now left NCVO. Her posts have been archived here for reference.

At NCVO we are evaluating our policy priorities, with a view to 2015. We’re starting to think about, come 2015, who will be the key players, and what will be the big issues – and where the voluntary sector will sit in the wider debate.

Political Parties

During the June Spending Review George Osborne revealed government spending for the year 2015-16 (in other words the first year of the next government) and much of the commentary turned to speculation about who might be in government in 2015, and how the political environment may change in the next parliament.  Arguably both the Spending Review and the Budget were jam packed with political strategy and showmanship – a clear sign that the election is beginning to dominate.

With another two years until polling stations open, this looks set to be a long campaign with the parties on the hunt for cost-effective, innovative policy ideas, and charities and businesses alike looking to get their issues on the agenda.

Increasingly the political parties are looking to differentiate themselves from their counterparts, to claim policy successes for their own and drop hints at how UK PLC headed by them might differ from todays.

Influencing manifestos

There is a sweet spot for influencing political parties in the run up to manifesto development, and few political parties, at this stage, will have any concrete policy proposals for life after the current government.

This should be seen as an opportunity for the voluntary sector, as it creates a real need to have a strong narrative when approaching the political parties.  We know that austerity is here for the long haul and that welfare reforms have hit the most vulnerable hardest, as well as many of the voluntary organisations they rely on.  Arguably however, these testing times may have also illustrated just how integral and valuable the voluntary sector is in supporting the most vulnerable groups in society.

NCVO Member Consultation

At NCVO, we have identified a range of themes we think will be hot topics come 2015, and will be asking members for your ideas. We have chosen four themes, and will be asking for your views on each subject on a monthly basis, starting in July and running through to December 2013.

Economic and social justice -August

The economy and jobs will continue to dominate public debate, with reducing the deficit continuing to be the top priority for government and austerity being the order of the day.  With economic growth remaining at low levels and unemployment remaining high, these issues will continue to be in the forefront of the public’s minds, and it is therefore important to be thinking about the voluntary sector’s increasing involvement in supporting the most vulnerable.  The rise in food banks is a clear example of charities being used more and more for emergency aid.  What role can charities play in helping to address unemployment against a backdrop of low economic growth? What do charities need to provide these services most effectively?

Volunteering and social actionSeptember

The future for volunteering post-Olympics is a hot debate, with the word ‘legacy’ being used widely by the public, politicians and the media alike. If the public’s vision of volunteering is one of large scale, high profile events, how does this chime with the increasing numbers of volunteers in local, small scale roles in sectors such as health and social care?  We will also be looking at the role of charities campaigning on behalf of their beneficiaries, and the increasing appetite for businesses to connect with voluntary organisations.

Public services and the voluntary sector – November

Public services are being increasingly delivered by private companies and voluntary organisations through the Government’s Open Public Services agenda.  What is the change that needs to happen to make service delivery as effective as it could be, regardless of who is the provider? Charities are often the best placed and have the expertise to reach some of the most vulnerable, with specific needs. How can the sector make sure these vital services are retained during an increase in public services being commissioned outside the state?

Support for charities – December

We will also look at the support the sector needs to become increasingly self-sustainable, by looking at the future for funding, regulation and giving – the bread and butter issues for NCVO. 

In order for charities to have a shot at offering realistic policy solutions for an incoming government come 2015, the sector will need to be engaged in debates beyond the voluntary sector, and these are the issues we want your views on. We’re very conscious that the sector is part of the solution to many of the issues outlined above and would like to hear examples of where your work has contributed to solving complex public policy issues and what support you need to continue or expand this work.

For more information on NCVO’s election work see The 2015 Project pages.

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