Government policy and funding round-up: October 2021

Every other month this round-up will help you to stay informed about our influencing work, and any government policy and funding announcements. For news specifically related to what is happening in parliament, please see our regular inside-track round up.  

Help NCVO redesign the way we influence 

NCVO has long influenced the government to make sure charities and volunteers have what they need to make a difference and to strengthen civil society for the future. When you helped us develop our strategy, you rightly told us you wanted to be more involved in our influencing work.   

Now we need your help to redesign how we work with you, our members, to better influence government. We will run a workshop with members at our AGM on 22 November. Please look out for NCVO communications about how to sign up and join. Before next summer we will also conduct interviews and further workshops to shape our approach. 

Health and social care funding announcement  

Boris Johnson has confirmed his government will introduce a package of tax increases from next April to tackle NHS Covid backlogs and fund social care. National insurance contributions will be increased by 1.25 percentage points, with implications for employees and employers.  

There has been a mixed response to this announcement, with many expressing frustrations at the method of taxation and lack of immediate funding for social care. The Care and Support Alliance alongside the Social Care Futures movement and others have written an open letter to the government asking for resources for people to live an equal life now, not in three years’ time.  

Upcoming comprehensive spending review and budget 

A spending review is scheduled for 27 October to set out plans for spending for the next three years. The Autumn Budget is scheduled for the same day.  

NCVO is working with Charity Finance Group and other charity infrastructure organisations to set out the spending priorities for charities. When the spending review and budget are announced, we will publish a blog setting out the key points and implications for charities.  

Vaccination consultation 

The government have launched a consultation on making vaccinations (for both flu and coronavirus) a condition of deployment in the health and wider social care sector.   

They are consulting on a number of different issues including whether staff or volunteers doing direct treatment or personal care as part of CQC regulated provision (whether public or privately funded) should be required to be vaccinated as a condition of deployment. This consultation closes on 22 October and you can participate in the consultation by visiting the government website. 

Independence of the Charity Commission  

In the Sunday Telegraph, Oliver Dowden claimed that charities were being ‘…hijacked by a vocal minority seeking to burnish their woke credentials’, ultimately suggesting they were being distracted from their core missions and wasting huge sums of money in the process.  

We wrote a blog in response defending the role of charities, and in our response in The Telegraph, we focused on the importance of the Charity Commission as a neutral arbiter.  

In our Twitter thread, we highlighted that the role of the Charity Commission is to regulate in line with the laws made in parliament. It is not for the government or Commission to tell trustees what is best for their charity or those they serve.  

Data protection consultation 

The government is consulting on reforms to the data protection regime. The proposals seek to build on the current UK General Data Protection Regulation, such as its: 

  • data processing principles 
  • its data rights for citizens 
  • mechanisms for supervision and enforcement. 

The consultation closes on 19 November and you can participate by visiting the government website 

National Volunteering Forum: Voluntary action during the pandemic in England 

NCVO been working with the University of Northumbria to review, analyse and evaluate voluntary action responses to the Covid-19 pandemic through the Mobilising UK Voluntary Action project. 

Join the National Volunteering Forum on October 27 where we will share our findings on the policy response to the pandemic, and discuss how policy-making can support voluntary action in the future. Find out more about the event and register. 

Community Ownership Fund 

The first of eight rounds of applications to the £150m Community Ownership Fund (COF), which is intended to support communities to purchase local assets and amenities at risk of closure, closed on 13 August with over 150 applications submitted.  

A group of applicants and funding bodies met with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) at the start of October to provide feedback on the application experience.

Awards in the first round are expected to be announced shortly. The second round of applications is scheduled to open in December 2021, and DLUHC plans to offer a series of webinars to support interested organisations to apply. 

Training and events

Data protection 

Find more information about NCVO’s training sessions on data protection essentials.

Funding strategy 

This session on funding strategy will help you to analyse your funding environment and plan for the future.  

National Volunteering Forum

At the National Volunteering Forum, you will be able to learn about the policy response to covid, share your experiences and discuss what government policy support is needed for volunteering.

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Rebecca Young is a senior policy officer at NCVO, working primarily on public services and volunteering policy. Before joining NCVO, Rebecca led on mental health, housing and disability policy at the National Union of Students.

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