Government bans charities from publicising their work, leaked letter reveals

A letter leaked to CYP Now has revealed the Department for Education (DfE) is ordering charities delivering government-funded programmes to stop publicising their work with immediate effect in an apparent bid to save on spending.

In the correspondence, DfE officials warn all organisations receiving funding from the Children, Young People and Families Grant to think carefully about how they spend government money.

“All activities which relate to policies that are no longer the priority of the current government should be referred immediately to your link worker,” the letter states.

It goes on to order a freeze on all advertising and marketing of programmes funded through the grant, banning any spending on merchandise, and calling for conferences and events to be carefully considered and publications and briefings to be kept to a minimum. In addition, use of the old Department for Children, Schools and Families logo has been banned, while use of the new DfE logo will also be restricted. Website development should also be “carefully assessed”, according to the letter.

Overall, more than 250 organisations have benefited from around £134m in funding from the grant since 2006. It pays for programmes such as Direct Short Breaks for disabled children, run by charity Kids, and information and support for lone parents run by Gingerbread. It also funds strategic grants to sustain and support the childcare sector through organisations including the National Childminding Association and the Daycare Trust.

The letter also said the future of the grant is “still under consideration”. “As soon as we are in a position to provide clarity to you, we will, of course, make a formal announcement,” it added.

A spokesman for an organisation that receives funding through the grant, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed outrage at the wording of the letter.

“The part about the ‘formal announcement’ does not offer much hope for any consultation over future funding,” he said. “We’re being told to bury our heads in the sand and not to publicise the work we are doing. It’s hideous.”