Umbrella bodies ‘have failed to resist government agenda for the sector’

Umbrella bodies have lost independence and have not adequately opposed cuts to government spending or the privatisation of public services, according to a report published last week by the National Coalition for Independent Action.

The NCIA is an alliance of campaigners who lobby for independent community action. It is writing a number of reports examining the state of the voluntary sector, which it says has capitulated to a government agenda in which charities become government service delivery vehicles.

The latest report, written by two members, Lis Pritchard and Andy Benson (pictured), looks at the record of six umbrella bodies – NCVO, Acevo, Navca, Locality, Clinks and Homeless Link – and says they have become too close to the government to adequately look after the interests of the sector.

The report claims that the policies of the coalition government are intended “to degrade rights, entitlements and social protections, and to privatise public services that cannot be abolished”.

It says this means that charities must “remind themselves of their commitment to social justice and to position themselves so that they can once again be seen as champions of positive social, economic and environmental development”.

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