A to-do list for Nick Hurd, Part 1

By 17 May 2010

Over the next week, we will be posting a series of blogs aimed at the new British charities minister, Nick Hurd. Having been shadow minister for the past 18 months while in opposition, Nick Hurd was confirmed in his post by the new government at the end of last week.

The past government was generous to charities, and indications are that the new government is equally well-disposed, though the dreadful fiscal environment might undermine this a little. The previous government also took an important step in helping the charity sector by creating the Office of the Third Sector (OTS), which sat within the Cabinet Office at the heart of Whitehall. But NPC would have liked the OTS to challenge the sector a bit more—to help charities improve what they do, rather than simply helping them to do more of what they already do. Whether the OTS is retained, re-positioned, or abolished, we would like the new government to spend time challenging, and also helping the sector do more in terms of building evidence for its work.

Collectively, these blog posts will form a short memo on some things the minister might do to help the sector deliver and demonstrate greater social impact. It builds and draws on our Social Impact Manifesto published earlier this year.

Posts will cover the following topics:

1. Measurement frameworks to help charities and funders compare results.
2. An Impact Fund to stimulate the collection of more evidence of charities’ impact.
3. A Charities Data Act to encourage the publication and sharing of valuable information.
4. Scaling up successful charitable solutions to entrenched social problems.

Each will include concrete steps for the government to help the charitable sector. Most will also make demands on charities and of government. None will cost any significant sum of money and some could save the taxpayer considerable amounts.

We hope this series of posts will provide stimulating food for thought for Nick Hurd and for anyone interested in helping charities achieve more.

A future post will also look at steps to boost philanthropy.