ACEVO chief executive Vicky Browning said: “The election result has shown that the country has not yet recovered from the rifts revealed by the EU referendum. These divide towns, offices and even families, and must be addressed. Now is the time for the government to recognise that it serves a society which is determined at all levels and across all age groups to have a stake in the future and its voice heard.
“When she first took office nearly a year ago, Theresa May talked of the need to eradicate burning injustice and to establish a truly shared society. Today she has spoken of fairness and opportunity being at the heart of her endeavour and affirmed that no one and no community will be left behind. She has historically acknowledged the central role of civil society in delivering this ambition.
“This role, however, should not just be about providing services, no matter how vital. Our sector contains a depth of experience and wealth of expertise which cannot be allowed to go to waste.
“The government should be bold in embracing these assets and take confidence from its new mandate to be alert and responsive to the voice of critical friends. The sector should not be afraid of using its voice, and the government should not be shy of engaging with it.
“A country which works for everyone is a great concept. But it is an idea that needs to come off the blueprint and into construction. And civil society is the ground on which it should be built.
“Never will this be more true than as we leave the European Union. We ask Theresa May to engage fully with this sector – and all others – to ensure a successful Brexit and an enduring legacy of inclusion.
“ACEVO is committed to working with the newly elected government to deliver our member-driven policy objectives of:
- Creating a commissioning framework that places the citizen at the heart of the decision and does not unfairly disadvantage third sector organisations
- Allowing and encouraging charities to campaign freely in order to further their charitable objectives
- Achieving regulation for our sector which is enabling, inclusive and transparent
- Advocating for DCMS and DExEU to engage in a more comprehensive and open dialogue with our members to ensure that the voice of civil society is heard during the process of exiting the EU – and beyond
- Ensuring civil society leaders are representative of the communities they operate in and the people they support.
“We urge the Government to adopt these aspirations.”