Do charities campaign?

kvvlogo_2What happens when charities and voluntary groups are asked by Government to punish unemployed people and take away legal entitlements?  In April 2014, the “Help to Work” programme was launched by Government. It consists of no help and no work. Instead, it continued previous policies that withhold unemployment benefits, unless those entitled to such benefits … Continue reading

Insiders and outsiders – fighting for change together and apart

tenants rightsConditions for private renters – now a bigger group than those renting ‘socially’ from the council or a housing association – have become so bad that a new wave of housing activist groups has begun to form. Since the deregulation of private renting in 1989, when rent control and long-term tenancies were done away with, … Continue reading

What’s happening in the workplace – next 2 Inquiry reports

do-nothing-go-forward-pic-monkey2Today we publish the next two reports from our Inquiry into the Future of Voluntary Services.

The impact of contracting and commissioning on volunteers and volunteering in Voluntary Services Groups by Colin Rochester charts the rise of the ‘workplace model’ and the formalisation of volunteer management that “threatens the untamed and often maverick expression of free will … Continue reading

Localism ‘rights’ – the right to very little at all

We the PeopleThe right to very little at all: NCIA submits evidence to House of Commons Communities and Local Government Select Committee

The Localism Act 2011 offers communities a set of new ‘rights’. They may now challenge councils to run public services, bid for ‘assets of community value’, build local facilities and make statutory neighbourhood plans.  As … Continue reading

What the Labour Party has in store for us

under contractWe thought that Lisa Nandy MP, Labour Shadow Minister for Civil Society, might bring a fresh and enquiring eye to the tired politics we are used to. We were wrong. The message we take from the Labour Party “consultation with the third sector” is that Labour will do just the same as the Tories but hope to do it … Continue reading

Northern Ireland and Scotland – the same or different?

do-nothing-go-forward-pic-monkey2Two more Inquiry reports are released today. ‘Lenin’s Useful Idiots? Voluntary Action and Public Service Reform in Northern Ireland, from Nick Acheson of the University of Ulster, reviews recent developments in relations between voluntary agencies and the devolved administration. It summarises the main similarities and differences between Northern Ireland and the other jurisdictions in … Continue reading

The Failure of Leadership

do-nothing-go-forward-pic-monkey2‘Leadership’ groups, at both national and local levels, have failed to protect voluntary services groups and their users and communities from the damaging changes of the last decade. This is the broad conclusion of two Inquiry reports released today.

The position and role of national infrastructure bodies concerning the cuts to and privatisation of public Continue reading

Big Society unravels

Image by Dmitry Bogdanov / wikimedia commonsEver wondered where our money goes? The National  Audit Office has. So has Adur Voluntary Action, who are “mega pissed off” by the grim story painted by Radio 4′s analysis last night of the chaos that is the Big Society Network. “The receipt, and use, of funds by the Big Society Network’s associated projects…is a grim story for … Continue reading

Two more Inquiry reports – with a focus on minorities

do-nothing-go-forward-pic-monkey2Most of our Inquiry reports focus on the voluntary services ‘industry’ in general. But the history both of government policy and of voluntary sector services has shown that minorities, and especially ethnic minorities, repeatedly fare worse than other sections of the population. So today we are releasing two reports that focus on aspects of this … Continue reading