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From: *.*@westminsterforumprojects.co.uk]
Sent: 12 June 2009 09:50
To: enquiries@no2id.net
Subject: The future role of the third sector in the UK: Don’t Miss the Westminster Legal Policy Forum Keynote Seminar: The Future of the UK Third Sector – proving ‘public benefit’, Morning, 18th June 2009

Westminster Legal Policy Forum Keynote Seminar:
The Future of the UK Third Sector – proving ‘public benefit’


Helen Stephenson
Deputy Director, Third Sector Support Team
Office of the Third Sector, Cabinet Office


Claire Cooper
Deputy Director, Communities Group
Department for Communities and Local Government


Peter Wanless
Chief Executive, Big Lottery Fund


Simon Blake
Chair, Compact Voice

Morning, Thursday, 18th June 2009
Princess Alexandra Hall, Over-Seas House, Park Place, St James’s Street, London SW1A 1LR

For the attention of the Director

I hope you won’t mind this final reminder about the above seminar, taking place in Westminster next Thursday, but you don’t currently appear to be represented, and I do believe the issues being discussed will be of interest.

This email is being sent to a general email address because I wanted to pass along information that I thought may be of interest but was unable to secure specific contact details. Please forward this to the appropriate person, and we would be grateful to receive precise contact details if this is possible.

Whereas I thought readers of this blog would be interested, given we have previously discussed the creeping nationalisation of charities and other voluntary organisations by Britain’s Borg-state. For foreign readers I hope it throws light on an icy subtle totalitarianism.

What makes this doubly creepy is that it is a legal policy seminar. That hints at further powers perhaps to coerce the ‘third sector’, as well as to co-opt and to corrupt it. Though the new Companies Act 2006 constrains the independence of action of commercial firms and non-profits in unclear ways, it is yet a shadow in the corner. So if you are a voluntary organisation but not a charity, don’t spend money on party politics, and don’t accept government or local authority or quango or bound-charity money, then you are currently still beyond state control and not obliged to provide a ‘public benefit’.

Please note there is a charge for most delegates, but no one is excluded on the basis of ability to pay (see below).


The third sector – charities, social enterprises, credit unions – have an increasingly prominent role in the delivery of services and economic development in the UK.

But now the ‘rules of the game’ are changing as the Charity Commission imposes new duties on charities to justify ‘public benefit’ and the recession threatens to squeeze much-needed donations.

This seminar takes an in depth look at the effects on charities themselves and those who support or benefit from them, at what the third sector will look like in the future, how significant a role it is set to play after the recession and at implications for UK society as a whole.

With contributions from the Office of the Third Sector outlining the Government’s strategy, and from the Department for Communities and Local Government, the meeting will bring together key policy makers in Government and Parliament with charities, their advisors and supporters, citizen groups and others with an interest in the issues. It is organised on the basis of strict impartiality by the Westminster Legal Policy Forum.

Planned sessions include:
* The current level, range of activity and scale of the third sector in the UK;
* Challenges for the Third Sector – a funder’s perspective;
* UK society’s expectations of the third sector in a recession;
* Third sector involvement in providing public services, now and into the future;
* Consequences for the sector of the Charity Commission’s guidance on ‘public benefit’ across the range of charities, from the largest to the smallest; and
* Latest views from the Office of the Third Sector.

A copy of the agenda is copied below my signature to give you a feel of the sessions planned. Updates to the agenda can all be viewed ‘live’ here.


Keynote speakers at this seminar are:
* Julian Blake, Partner, Bates Wells & Braithwaite;
* Simon Blake, Chair, Compact Voice;
* Claire Cooper, Deputy Director, Communities Group, Department for Communities and Local Government;
* Akhil Patel, Audit Manager, Third Sector Business Development Team, National Audit Office;
* Helen Stephenson, Deputy-Director, Third Sector Support Team, Office of the Third Sector; and
* Peter Wanless, Chief Executive, The Big Lottery Fund

Other speakers include:
* Ann Blackmore, Head of Policy, National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)
* Craig Dearden-Phillips, Chief Executive, SpeakingUp;
* Tris Lumley, Head of Strategy, New Philanthropy Capital;
* Professor Peter Luxton, Professor of Charity Law, Cardiff University;
* Mark Lyonette, Chief Executive, Association of British Credit Unions;
* Dr Richard Marsh, Independent Consultant, and former director, Impact Coalition;
* Professor Cathy Pharoah, Co-Director, Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy, Sir John Cass Business School;
* David Walker, Managing Director of Communications and Public Reporting, Audit Commission; and
* Simon Watson, National Officer, Local Government Service Group, UNISON.

Nick Hurd MP, Shadow Minister for Charities, Social Enterprise and Volunteering Sector and Jenny Willott MP, Liberal Democrat, Spokesperson for the Third Sector have kindly agreed to chair a session.


We expect further speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group numbering around 100, including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government officials, representatives of third sector organisations, local government and their support services, as well as representatives from law firms, campaign groups, academia, and the trade and national press.

We have already had places reserved by several senior officials from the Department of Health and the HM Treasury. The Charity Commission are also represented at this seminar.

Places have also been booked for representatives from: Accenture, Allen and Overy, Allergy, Berrymans Lace Mawer, Bird and Co, British Lymphology Society, British Waterways, BS Social Care, Cambridge House, Children England, Citizens Advice, Commission for the Compact, Crossroads Association, Diabetes UK, Eduserv, Ernst & Young, Geldards, GHK Consulting, Hampshire Adult Services, Hill and Knowlton, Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust, Linklaters, Loughborough University , Mental Health Matters, Menzies, Moorhead James, National Foundation for Educational Research , NCB, NSPCC, Penningtons, Play England, PSS, Scottish Disability Equality Forum, The Disabilities Trust, The Girls Day School Trust, and YWCA.

Press passes has [sic] been booked by Society Media and Third Sector.

Output and About Us

A key output of the seminar will be a transcript of the proceedings, sent out within a week of the event to Ministers and officials at the Office of the Third Sector, Department of Health, Home Office, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Cabinet Office, Central Office of Information, National Audit Office, and other departments affected by the issues, and Parliamentarians with a special interest in these areas. It will also be made available more widely. It will include transcripts of all speeches and questions and answers sessions from the day, along with access to PowerPoint presentations, speakers’ biographies, the attendee list, agenda and sponsor information. It is made available subject to strict restrictions on public use, similar to those for Select Committee Uncorrected Evidence, and is intended to provide timely information for interested parties who are unable to attend on the day.

All delegates will receive free PDF copies and are invited to contribute to the content.

The Westminster Legal Policy Forum is a recently established division of Westminster Forum Projects. Following the successful model of its sister Forums, it aims to provide an inclusive and impartial environment for constructive discussion of key issues in this increasingly important area for public policy. The Westminster Legal Policy Forum is grateful for strong initial support from within both Houses of Parliament. All our Forums benefit greatly from the support and active involvement of Parliamentary Patrons.

15 comments to Anaconda

  • pete

    The charity sector has been taken over by the home counties/ metropolitan set who expect very good wages for their work.

  • That hints at further powers perhaps to coerce the ‘third sector’, as well as to co-opt and to corrupt it.

    I think we need to dump this idea that the “Third Sector” is being co-opted and corrupted. The third sector want it, they’re gagging for it, the dirty wanton sluts. It is far closer to reality to say that the “Third Sector” has co-opted and corrupted government.

    I’m sort of putting together a post for Counting Cats about this, regarding particularly the behaviour of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation(s). It isn’t virginal charities being lured into government by dirty old ministers promising that the pictures will be tasteful. They’re desperate for a big meaty injection of hard government funds and patronage.

    The “Third Sector” is, and always has been, about gaining and wielding power, and to do that they need to be in power and that means taking over government like one of those parasites that takes over a snail until the snail is just a husk which is all parasite, kind of thing. This isn’t a recent innovation. It didn’t start with New Labour. It is a process which has been going on throughout the “Progressive Century”, via the subversion of political interests in the parties and bureaucracies, both national and international, and is simply now reaching a very great degree of fruition. It is not that government has created corruption; it is that government has been corrupted.

  • Laird

    Ian, I’m not sure it’s so much a parasite-host relationship as a symbiotic one. Each side needs/wants the other, because the ultimate goal of both is power and each helps the other attain it. Government hasn’t been corrupted because that’s not possible; it’s inherently corrupt. How can you “corrupt” a turd?

  • Fair enough Laird, that’s a good way of characterising it.

  • guy herbert

    No. The phrase ‘third sector’ is about total power, just like ‘mixed economy’ before it, suggesting there is a collective planning interest that tolerates alternatives to the state as long as they don’t fight it.

    Voluntary organisations, whether charities or clubs or trade unions, professional associations, religions or pressure groups, are about pursuing their own objects and interests. Self-organised; self directed. Some of them do want power, but historically they want it on their own terms for their own reasons, not according to formulae set down by outsiders. They aren’t inherently different from businesses or families in that respect.

    Many, particularly large ones, have steadily acquired the culture of the public sector with socialist educated staff over the last 50 years. Calling them all ‘third sector’ is a very successful piece of rhetoric, to suggest they form a whole with common ends, and that their attempts to influence others must be subordinated to a general plan rather than competing with one another (being possibly – horror! – in conflict).

    The model is surely the absorption of doctors and hospitals, nursing and pharmacy (as ‘health’), and teachers, schools and universities, examinations and syllabuses (as ‘education’) into the state, to the point that most British people have difficulty understanding how they could ever operate separately. Institutions and mechanisms catering separately to the demands of their various clientele, and cooperating when their interests are alligned, are reinterpreted as serving a general ‘social function’ of the organic corporate unity.

    The difference is that between the emergent properties of a market in social goods, plural, and an implicate command structure where the mores of the power elite determine what is the good of society, wjat other people should want. Ecosystem or egosystem.

  • Guy, I’m not quite sure what point you’re making. This-

    Many, particularly large ones, have steadily acquired the culture of the public sector with socialist educated staff over the last 50 years.

    -seems to suggest a subversion model in which these organisations have turned into what they are today due to the accrual of socialist staff and exposure to the public sector. If that’s what you mean, I would contend that you are simply wrong (and if I’ve misread you, I apologise).

    There never was a charity that wasn’t as it is today, all that we have today is that it has achieved its goals. The charities have always been pressure groups, that is political lobbyists seeking to exert political and social influence. The pressure groups are just charities that never even pretended to be interested in handing out soup to tramps. These are political organisations with a political purpose, and always have been, and inserting themselves officially into the governmental process is simply the apotheosis of their aim of being directly responsible for policy making and implementation, rather than in their earlier days of being more outsiders trying to exert influence.

    I know this goes against our national narratives, particularly our blind approval of “charity” as a presumed good, but I believe it is vital to us to understand that these people are not subverted, they are not being used by politicians, they are not being corrupted, this is what they always have been. They are primary drivers of the anglospheric “third socialism”. They are our enemy. I hope it will not sound too extreme for me to say; if we want our freedom, these groups have to be destroyed, utterly. They cannot be turned back into a benign force, because they never were that.

  • el windy

    I was recently involved with a new small charity in Tottenham as a voluntary trustee and what I found was that as a condition of applying even for miniscule amounts of funding we were expected to attend a variety of council-organised courses and adopt and implement a whole host of politically correct policies – doing the Council employees work for them for free whilst at the same time justifying their ludicrous salaries for sod-all work. In short we were sat upon and conditioned right from the very start and any charity which wants to make any kind of progress has to accept these draconian conditions right from the outset. And to cap it all, as a pre condition of being able to carry out the few projects we managed to implement we had to follow the very precise directions of local Labour councillors so as to ensure that the whole situation was under their control and would not lead to any developments (like local youngsters improving their lot and so possibly thinking for themselves) which could threaten the Labour vote.
    I wasn’t after power for myself or anyone else – I was interested in the objectives of the charity and wanted to help. It was painfully obvious that any charity which wants to make any kind of progress has to sell its soul at the very start of its inception.

  • Ray

    El Windy’s experiences will be familiar to anyone who has ever tried to raise funds for a small charitable enterprise or a local voluntary organisation. The dead malevolent hand of National Lottery-style funding, egregiously driven by bullying leftist piety, has destroyed the very idea of any community-driven charitable impulse or activity.

  • Paul Marks

    Once the “independent sector” started to accept government subsidies the days of its indepenence were numbered. It is the same (or will be the same) in the United States.

    He who accepts government cash must (eventually) get government orders. The “golden age” of the 1950’s (and a bit late) where, schools, universities and even N.H.S. hospitals (or rather hospitals the NHS stole in the 1940s) were taxpaying funded but went along much as before could not last forever.

    The basic principle of the left is totalitarianism – this is not overstating the case, as they leave nothing outside of politics (nothing being outside politics is the definition of totalitarianism). To the left even the family is a matter for government and politics – hence the demand for government regulations demanding “pay for housework” and so on (and so on, and …….).

    I repeat – the left, including the “liberal left”, is totalitarian.

  • El windy, a couple of points.

    A charity applying for state funding isn’t a charity. Charity is supposed to be about individuals giving. I appreciate that many people want to do what they perceive as a social good, such as helping young disabled people for instance, and then they naturally turn to the government because it has pots of (other people’s) money to spend. But it’s not surprising that strings will be attached to that money. Charity is supposed to be about raising voluntarily gifted funds from the public. If you’re taking money from the government, you’re doing something else- state contracting, effectively.

    I also, having been very critical of charities, ought to say I see a distinction between Big and Small charities. There are lots of well meaning people involved in charity working, doing small work in their local communities. Those I’m attacking as the Enemy are, effectively, Big Charity- large organisations with generalised goals (children, animals, poverty, etc). They were set up from Victorian times onwards with specific political goals, as part of the social reform network. These are the people I point the finger at to say, they have not been corrupted, they have always been intent on inveiglement with government, etc. The whole charities system from the nineteenth century was crafted with the intent of achieving social(ist) reform.

  • John K

    “The Office of the Third Sector.” God how I hate them.

  • Rob

    John K:

    Beat me to it. Agree completely. Even their language is Orwellian.

  • Paul Marks

    I agree with above commentors – language such as “Office of the Third Sector” (and, more, the reality that language shows) leads me to hate the regime also.

    SOCA (the “police” group that is carefully setup so its members do not sware alliegance to the Queen – only to the regime) even has a Fascist looking badge.

    And to think I was once proud of living in a country that did not have a “Ministry of Justice”.

  • Mittwoch

    Sounds like a wank-fest. With tea and biscuits.

  • thank you for this glimpse into your charity situation. I’ve worked with local charities and the Salvation Army (despite my aethiesm, they do good work and the money we raise stays local) here in a remote area of the U.S. Some of the money/help comes from the public sector, some from private. But I’ve not seen anything like what you describe here. I shudder to think such political correctness could be in our future.

    This makes sense to me: (Link)Circles of Support: A Libertarian View of Charity