I spent an interesting day yesterday with some colleagues looking at the challenges facing organisations in the Third Sector. The sector is so diverse that there are clearly no simple “one size fits all” lists of challenges, or solutions. However, one of the recurring themes in our discussions was the increasing determination of government to “off-load” activities currently carried out in the public sector to the voluntary sector. In parallel with that, the government’s approach to legislation doesn’t necessarily make it easy for voluntary sector organisations to grasp these new business opportunities.
My colleague Julian Lomas recently wrote a useful summary (pdf download) of his thoughts on Lord Hodgson’s review of the Charities Act 2006. Julian highlights two areas where he thinks the Government’s response gives a good pointer towards the key areas that are most exercising Ministers’ minds and which could eventually result in substantial systemic change. These are: regulation of fundraising and social investment.
On regulation, Julian says “There is a clear threat in the Government’s responses that the sector needs to make the current, low-key self-regulatory regime work or statutory regulation will follow (Leveson for charities?).”
Talking about Social Investment, Julian’s view is “The Government’s response to Hodgson continues … with undeniable signals that more social investment is wanted and that the regulatory environment will be adapted to facilitate this.”
You may also be interested to read about some of the work I’ve been doing to help charities with their fundraising processes…