The big social justice issues – jobs, welfare and demographic change

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 Her posts have been archived here for reference.

The 2015 Project was launched by NCVO to pose some big questions to our members, and to ask about the future for charities. This has been a fairly new venture for us, as we’re asking questions about topics that aren’t particularly our core issues – big subjects like welfare and the economy, for example.

Our first topic – economic and social justice – is by far the broadest theme up for discussion in the project, and perhaps the most challenging. But we know that our members are working in areas like welfare, are supporting vulnerable people, and are adapting to changes in demographics (particularly in an area like health and social care). So we also know that our members will have views on how their work could be supported further to become more effective, and how policies could be implemented to improve systems.

Some of the questions we’ve been asking this past month have been:

And for each topic, we have asked if there’s one manifesto commitment you would like to see – a tricky but useful and thought-provoking question.

Blogs from sector leaders

As well as sharing some of our ideas on these issues, we also asked a variety of other organisations to take part to share their visions for future possibilities and solutions, with the voluntary sector in mind. We heard from Age UK’s Jane Vass on the potential for voluntary action to transform social care in an ageing society, and reflections on the Work Programme for any future work schemes from Tony Wilson of the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion. The blog by Oxfam UK’s Chris Johnes discusses the rhetoric around welfare, and suggests a future of sustainable living for people on low incomes, and greater understanding of the pathways to poverty.

Why you should get involved…

This is your chance to shape our policy lines around the next general election.

We are always looking to hear from our members on our policy priorities, to make sure that we’re representing the voluntary sector in the best way possible. With an election in the near future, it is even more essential that we are clear on what we, and our members, believe to be important for the sector. This is your opportunity to influence these discussions.

Why are we doing this?

The reason we decided to delve into these themes is because we think it is going to be increasingly important for charities to engage with the debates the public and political parties will be concerned about, rather than solely discussing charity issues, in order to make an impact come 2015. The voluntary sector can be found in most areas of political debate (crime, health, welfare – to name a few), and so the ways that charities contribute to solving some of society’s problems should be recognised, discussed and challenged.

Case studies are also always useful for us, so if you work in any of these areas of social justice please send us details of the challenges you face, or the ways you are adapting to changing environments. And any queries, we’d love to hear from you – our contact address is

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