The June 2017 general election

While we await the final result of the general election, what is already quite clear is that there is no outright winner. The factors behind this result will doubtless be the subject of study and reflection for weeks and months to come. At this point, the implications for the sector are unclear. However it is fair to say that the uncertainty we were already facing looks set to deepen.

My hope is that politicians from all parties will find there is benefit in working together, across party lines, constructively building policy together by consensus. Through such an approach we can not only create better outcomes, but also help to bridge what appear to be deep divisions and feelings of frustration in the country. In particular, I hope the approach to Brexit is guided by such principles.

For our part, we will be continuing to remind politicians of all parties of all the benefits that involving and supporting charities can bring, as we set out in our manifesto. We will continue to make the case for the importance of charities, the importance of government support for the sector, and the importance of involving them in both policy and delivery. With many difficult issues to deal with, it will be more important than ever that the next government draw on the expertise of the voluntary sector. Charities should be seen as partners and critical friends in policy development in order to develop effective approaches to the country’s most challenging problems.

Rob Wilson

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rob Wilson for his service as minister for civil society, a position he held for nearly three years.

He was instrumental in helping to achieve a sensible solution to the problems in fundraising that came to the fore in 2015. Through this, I believe his legacy will include helping to strengthen trust in charities. Rob has a particular passion for small charities. He had recently launched a review of charities’ involvement in public services which holds the potential to make a real difference to the quality of our public services. I am most grateful for his interest in this area and his real desire to make a difference. I hope we can continue his work with the next government, to make sure the expertise of charities, and smaller charities in particular, can be called on to strengthen our public services.

Thank you

I would also like to note the contribution of the many thousands of volunteers who make our democracy work, whether campaigning for a party, helping get people to the polls, or doing any of the myriad other things that help make sure our elections work. I know that some will be delighted, some will be disappointed, and everyone will be tired. Now is the time to say thank you to all of you.

And we should also highlight the work of the many charities who have used the election as an opportunity to raise the profile of their issues. We are among those who have concerns about the Lobbying Act and we will continue to push for the new government to implement the Lord Hodgson reform proposals. But as many strong campaigns from charities showed, it needn’t be a barrier to making your voice heard.

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Avatar photo Sir Stuart Etherington was chief executive of NCVO from 1994 to 2019.

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