Five minutes in parliament – November 2014

Draft Protection of Charities Bill

The Joint Committee on the Draft Protection of Charities Bill has begun its evidence sessions, including taking evidence from NCVO’s chief executive, Sir Stuart Etherington.

Stuart told the committee that we are in principle supportive of many of the proposals, but that it was right that some of the additional powers set out in the original consultation had been left out of the draft legislation. A transcript will be available on the committee’s website shortly.

The committee is aiming to complete its evidence sessions by January and to report in February. This will allow for a government response before the dissolution of parliament on 30 March 2015.

You can read more about NCVO’s recommendations in our response to the consultation on the new powers.

Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill

The report stage for the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill is scheduled for 9 December, after which it will have its third reading, completing its passage through the Lords.

You can read NCVO’s take on the Bill, which has been dismissed by some as simply restating the existing law. I’d also highly recommend Philip Kirkpatrick’s take on the legislation, included here in his speech to the NCVO Trustee Conference.

Civil Society APPG – Charity Commission

Paula Sussex, chief executive of the Charity Commission spoke about the direction she is taking the Commission in and the additional powers included in the Draft Protection of Charities Bill. A statement she made that seemed to suggest an intention to review CC9 campaigning guidance was later clarified by the Commission. If you missed it, take a look at this summary of discussion.

The next Civil Society APPG session takes place on 20 January at 4pm and will focus on small charities. If you would like to attend, please email

NCVO public affairs network

We were joined by Rob Hutton, political editor for Bloomberg, at our regular public affairs network drinks, kindly hosted by DeHavilland. Rob has two books on journalese and the amusing ways politicians use spin – the perfect Secret Santa gifts.

Not strictly speaking in parliament, but the NCVO public affairs network exists to support and connect parliamentary and public affairs professionals working in the voluntary sector. You can sign up here.

Trustees’ Week

This month also saw Trustees’ Week, the annual celebration of the hundreds of thousands of people who give up their time to serve as trustees for voluntary organisations.

As well as holding the Trustee Conference attended by Civil Society Minister Rob Wilson, NCVO contacted MPs and candidates with data on the number of charities and trustees in their constituency. It was great to see so many MPs and candidates from all parties saying praising the valuable role trustees play through press releases and social media.

Further reading

  1. We’re gearing up for the Autumn Statement next week. You can read more in Andrew O’Brien’s blog on what charities should be looking out for.
  2. The YouGov profiler has so much to teach us. Here are a few insights taken at random: Iain Dale is the most popular Twitter personality among Countryside Alliance supporters; the quintessential Macmillan supporter also plays the National Lottery; and Greenpeace is the favourite website of people who like tortoises.

And finally…

This month’s best meme has to be #ThingsThatAreNotMosques. Enjoy.

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Charlotte was our senior external relations officer and public affairs consultant. She has left NCVO

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