NCVO chair criticises MPs for ‘Tesco charity’ phrase
Martyn Lewis, chair of NCVO, has criticised the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) for using the phrase ‘Tesco charity’ in its new report on the Big Society, saying it is a misplaced way to describe the larger end of the sector.
Lewis was speaking yesterday at NCVO’s parliamentary reception, where Bernard Jenkin MP, chair of the PASC, spoke about its new report.
The report, which is a review of the Big Society, says government has not done enough to ensure that smaller charities have fair access to public sector contracts, alongside "Tesco charities" and big businesses.
Jenkin repeated the phrase yesterday at NCVO’s reception in his speech on the report, prompting Lewis to voice concern, to loud applause from the audience.
“NCVO is proud to represent charities of all sizes,” he said. “Large charities provide high-quality services at scale, often through local branches. The Tesco analogy is misplaced. Most larger charities are smaller than Halfords.”
Tesco was first associated with large charities in 2005, when then-Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith, gave a speech warning that large charities were becoming arms of the state.
Smith coined the term ‘tescoisation’ to describe what he saw as a small minority of large charities becoming ever-more dominant.
Later in the event, Lewis criticised another aspect of the PASC report, namely its recommendation that government appoint a Big Society Minister.
Introducing minister for civil society Nick Hurd to the event, Lewis said:
“Nick Hurd is in the DNA of the sector,” said Lewis. “More so than any other predecessor I’ve known of. I reject the thought that he should surrender his empire for a Big Society minister.”
Alun Michael, chair of the all party parliamentary group on civil society and volunteering, said that the name ‘Emperor Hurd’ would be good to use.
Hurd was less enthusiastic, replying: “Please don’t.”
This article was taken from www.civilsociety.co.uk – http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/governance/news/content/11170