Cabinet Office counters charities' concerns over Big Society plans

The Cabinet Office has rebuffed complaints from the charities that it is not engaging with them over the Government’s ‘Big Society’ plan.

Minister for civil society: Nick Hurd
Minister for civil society: Nick Hurd

A spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office insisted it is ‘working hard to engage’ with charities.

‘We are in constant dialogue with the main charity umbrella groups and fund "strategic partners" to help representation,’ added the spokeswoman. ‘Ministers often visit frontline charities and we consult widely on a range of issues. We welcome contributions to the debate and our door is always open.’

However, the body that represents charity PROs, has seconded calls made in last week’s PRWeek by voluntary sector comms directors for more guidance from the coalition Government.

CharityComms director Vicky Browning told PRWeek that she had written to minister for civil society Nick Hurd to invite him to meet her to discuss the charity world’s concerns.

She said: ‘My take on it is to say you want to get the message out here you need communicators to understand what is going on to get the most out of everyone else. No one knows what’s going on.

‘Having made something of it as they have, they really should want to inform us now what it entails for charities.’

Macmillan Cancer Support media and PR manager Anna Brosnan added her voice to the debate: ‘A coalition of charities advising the Government on how to make best use of their knowledge could be a very useful thing.’

Last week, PRWeek revealed that high-profile charities held secret discussions with Lewis PR’s Clarence Mitchell about forming a coalition to voice their concerns over the Government's lack of guidance on its Big Society idea.

On Tuesday, the Conservative Party Conference was a focal point, as it was expected to feature a session on Sunday entitled ‘People Power and the Big Society’, with a speech from communities secretary Eric Pickles.

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