Voluntary Sector Sets Out Priorities For Brown’s First 100 Days

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has revealed its priorities for Gordon Brown’s first 100 days in office. There has been a great deal of speculation about what the Chancellor is planning, if he replaces Tony Blair as Prime Minister in the coming months.

As over six hundred charity leaders gather for NCVO’s Annual Conference today, a call for strong leadership in this changing political environment will be issued and each delegate will receive a pledge card outlining five priorities for a Brown Government.

The priorities are:

  • Guarantee Lottery funds are protected for the future of good causes
  • Secure Government accountability to the sector through Parliament
  • Ensure charity regulation will deliver public benefit
  • Invest in the benefits of a Third Sector Skills Council
  • Empower citizens, giving them a real voice in their communities and services

Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), said: “As the Chancellor and his advisers weigh up the key policies for the opening days of his Premiership, the voluntary and community sector should be staking its claim to be at the heart of his new agenda.”

“These five priorities encompass key concerns for voluntary and community organisations: securing sustainable funding; putting the sector at the heart of democratic debate; upholding trust and confidence in our work; investing in our staff and volunteers; and ensuring that the voices of citizens and communities can be heard and acted upon. By acting upon these issues, a Brown Government could demonstrate that it will make voluntary and community organisations’ needs a high priority.”

In his keynote speech to the conference, Stuart Etherington also issued a stark warning that the current political and economic situation should not be taken granted. He called for strong leadership to keep the voluntary and community sector on track, to be clear about its agenda and ensure that the fine words of commitment from politicians to voluntary and community organisations are not lost in what may become a more testing environment.

Stuart Etherington said: “There are many examples of current political rhetoric not being translated into reality. For all the talk of the importance of the sector, it is Lottery funds for voluntary and community groups that have been under threat due to the increased cost of the Olympic Games.”

“Now more than ever we have to take a stand collectively on these issues and demonstrate leadership on behalf of the organisations, individuals and communities that we serve. If the environment that we are working within is going to get tougher our stance needs to be even stronger.”