Our work with House of Lords Select Committee on Charities

Friday 24 March 2017

On Sunday 26 March, the House of Lords Select Committee on Charities published a report, 'Stronger charities for a stronger society', following an inquiry into issues facing the charity sector in England and Wales.

The Select Committee on Charities was appointed last year by the House of Lords to assess some of the main pressures facing charities, how they are held accountable by their beneficiaries and Trustees, and what role Government regulation should play in the sector.

Over the last ten months, Peers from across the political spectrum have taken evidence from charity regulators, Government bodies and charities. The Brain Tumour Charity responded to the Committee's call for evidence.

Our response provided views on a wide spectrum of issues facing the charity sector. We talked about how mergers among brain tumour charities over the past two decades had helped to enhance the scope of research, support, information and fundraising for people personally affected by a brain tumour and finding breakthroughs to tackle the disease.

A merger between three charities to form The Brain Tumour Charity in 2013 has helped us to better support those affected by a brain tumour, and our strategic initiative “United in our battle" aims to drive further consolidation in the sector.

We highlighted the importance of volunteers to our work in the Charity's office, representing us at major events and decisions about research funding in the Scientific Advisory Board.

Writing in September 2016, we argued that the result of the EU referendum in June had created uncertainty on access to EU research funding streams and the future of research collaboration between the UK and EU member states.

To illustrate this, we used the case study of the Samantha Dickson Brain Cancer Unit at the UCL Cancer Institute, which had received further funding from the EU after initial investment from The Brain Tumour Charity.

Our evidence was mentioned in the final report in a number of areas, including concerns we expressed about the Lobbying Act and the impact of Brexit, as well as reflections on charity mergers and the role of volunteers in the charity sector.

The report's conclusions and recommendations reflected some of the points we made in our response to the inquiry.

It recommended that the Office for Civil Society should conduct an audit of the potential impact of Brexit on charities, including the loss of funding and in research collaboration.

With regards to the Lobbying Act, the report called on the Government to implement the recommendations in Lord Hodgson's review of the legislation, which argued for changes to the rules around third party election campaigning.

Finally, the report called on the Government and the Charity Commission to address barriers to mergers in the charity sector.

Looking ahead, the Government will make a formal response to the Select Committee on Charities' report and its recommendations.

We will call on the Government and other agencies to implement the recommendations that have a direct impact on our community.