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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Media and government pressure is stopping charities from campaigning

This news post is over 5 years old

Nine out of 10 voluntary sector workers tell researchers campaigning is under threat

Hostile media coverage and government pressure are directly affecting the ability of charities to campaign on important issues.

Research carried out by the Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK) found that 90% of charity professionals feel that the campaigning by the voluntary sector is under threat.

The top reason given by those who were surveyed was that negative media coverage is having an impact - with 65% of respondents saying so.

Charity leaders need to calmly and confidently challenge this view

Set up to support new and inexperienced campaigners, and to champion the right to campaign, SMK, carried out the survey following a number of negative stories regarding the sector appearing in the media, particularly in England.

However researchers also found that issues such as the UK government proposing limits to how charities and others can use government funding, has had an effect on charities attitudes to campaigning.

It found that 53% of charity workers felt senior managers and trustees had become more cautious about campaigning while a similar amount said that campaigning had become seen as too risky.

Around nine out of 10 of those surveyed said they believe that the sector should be free to campaign, and needs to do more, not less.

SMK chief executive Sue Tibballs said moves by the government and guidance given out by the Charity Commission in England and Wales, which questioned the rationale for charities to campaign on EU referendum was “wrong headed”.

She added: “Charity leaders need to calmly and confidently challenge this view, and champion campaigning both publicly and within their own organisations.

“Campaigning on behalf of vulnerable and marginal groups and individuals is central to what charities are for.”



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Robert McCall
over 5 years ago
It is not the view but Government to and the media that should be challenged.Holyrood is infiltrating charities by placing their 'own people' in key positions thereby taking control of charities. The intention here is to start to use the charities as a conduit for Government propaganda. Holywood has now 'gelded' the Regulator by giving David Robb the task of forcing charities down the Digital Route while remaining in the most significant role at the Charity Regulator. Not exactly good practice.The media are not beyond furthering the Holywood agenda either.