A to-do list for Nick Hurd, Part 5, scaling up charities

By 1 June 2010

This is the fifth in a series of blog posts outlining a to-do list for the new British Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd. Previous posts covered the potential for shared measurement projects to improve impact measurement, the idea of an impact fund to encourage more measurement, and the need for more open data among and about charities.

All have a unifying theme—improving the quality of information about measurement of charities’ impact, and the flow of such information. This post continues in that spirit.

Last week NPC published a report, Scaling up for the Big Society. This outlined a framework for ministers and civil servants to use when considering whether to scale up the work of individual charities. Direct evidence of the effectiveness of an organisation or project is essential here. For the minister, the goal should be both to promote the collection of such evidence and to encourage his colleagues to think more carefully and systematically about which charities to support and grow.

As the report notes, if the framework is “applied properly, it could help to reduce the [government budget] deficit, tackle deeply entrenched social problems, and help the most disadvantaged people in our society. That is not a modest set of aims, but the work of charities that test, measure, evidence and prove their work will make them possible.”

With that in mind, the Minister should think how he can spread this approach among fellow ministers and their senior civil servants.

We will publish a post in the future about how the government might do more to promote charitable giving and philanthropy. For now, keep reading our blogs and sharing your comments.