National Voices calls on government to reconsider ‘anti-advocacy clause’

Tue, 9 February 2016

Responding to government plans for an ‘anti-advocacy clause’ in all grant funding agreements, National Voices has written to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, urging him to not implement the clause.

Responding to government plans for an ‘anti-advocacy clause’ in all grant funding agreements, National Voices has written to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, urging him to not implement the clause.

The current plans, outlined in a Cabinet Office Statement, would prohibit organisations that receive government grant funding from advising ministers, and potentially from helping to shape any future government policy.

In the letter, National Voices chief executive, Jeremy Taylor, writes:

We completely agree that in relationships between Government and our sector there must be transparency and accountability to taxpayers, but this clause is the wrong mechanism.

We believe it would 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.

We urge you not to implement this clause and instead to work with your cabinet colleagues and representatives of our sector to agree a formulation that better reconciles open policy making with accountability to the taxpayer.

The letter highlights an agreement signed by the Prime Minister in 2010 in which the government committed to ‘uphold the independence of civil society organisations to deliver their mission, including their right to campaign, regardless of any relationship, financial or otherwise, which may exist.’

Notes

For further information, contact Andrew McCracken, Head of Communications on andrew.mccracken@nationalvoices.org.uk or 020 3176 0737.