ACO has joined The Civil Society Group – an informal collaboration of organisations representing members and groups from across the charity sector and wider civil society.
The Civil Society Group will increase collaboration between the infrastructure, representative and member organisations working across civil society. It aims to harness the collective strengths of their diverse networks, improve efficiency and effectiveness, and allow civil society to clearly articulate shared priorities and views to government. The group will build on the successes and vital role played by charities and social enterprises in communities during the pandemic. It will be open to any civil society representative, infrastructure, and member organisations.
The Civil Society Group evolved from the collaboration between civil society representative and member organisations during the pandemic. There was a need for sector infrastructure organisations to come together to support the delivery of vital charity services across communities, and to ensure the sector received support from decision makers.
The collaboration allowed leaders across civil society to share views, information, and mutual support. It also helped organisations involved to coordinate and respond to the increased need in their networks. There were clear benefits from this collaboration, including securing a £750m package for charities in England from government in April 2020 and developing the cross-sector #NeverMoreNeeded campaign to highlight additional support needed for the sector and its vital role.
Charities, social enterprise, and volunteers play an important role in the continued response to Covid. The Civil Society Group aims to bring the efficiencies and effectiveness of the sectors’ emergency response to its work in the recovery from the pandemic.
The Civil Society Group is a place for sector leaders to exchange opinions and share ideas. It enables policies of mutual interest to be developed and promoted, and intelligence shared. The group is non-exclusive and aims to be comprehensive in its nature. It operates through a strategic oversight group working alongside three sub-groups focused on the main objectives of the collaboration: influencing, policy development and sharing information. A wide variety of organisations are already taking part (see notes to editors), and member and representative organisations from across the sector are being encouraged to get involved.
While the group allows for a more coordinated approach to conversations between civil society and decision-makers, it will not seek to be the sole representative voice for the sector or to supplant the work of existing representative organisations or membership bodies. It seeks to accelerate their influence and draw on their diverse networks to help civil society to deliver support for communities more efficiently and effectively.
The Civil Society Group has already begun its work across civil society and with government. The group are working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on four joint priorities for government and civil society (see notes to editors). They are developing new relationships with governments and politicians and exploring how civil society can support the ‘levelling up’ of communities. The group are also sharing information and updates with the Charity Commission and supporting the development of a framework for coordinated action on improving race equity across civil society.
Find out more, read NCVO’s press release.