Call to drop anti-advocacy clause following exemption for academics

Wed, 20 April 2016

Jo Johnson MP, Universities Minister, has issued a statement exempting academics and researchers from the Government's planned grant-funding anti-advocacy clause.

Jo Johnson MP, Universities Minister, has issued a statement exempting academics and researchers from the anti-advocacy claus that the Government plans to insert into grant-funding agreements.

Commenting on the statement, Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive of National Voices, the leading coalition of health and care charities, said:

By exempting all academics from this damaging clause Government has acknowledged the flaws in this approach. This decision sets an important precedent. If researchers are to be exempt, why not charities? It also raises the question; why not drop the clause altogether?

Grant recipients, including many health and care charities, often work with some of the most vulnerable people in society and are well placed to raise concerns and provide intelligence on improvements that can be made to services, policy and regulation. These are precisely the functions that are threatened by the anti-advocacy clause.

We think this clause will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression; unwittingly undermine the quality of the Government’s own policy making, and be of no benefit to taxpayers.’

For further information and/or comment, please contact Andrew McCracken, Head of Communications at National Voices, on 020 3176 0737 or andrew.mccracken@nationalvoices.org.uk.

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