Following the publication of the Government's new Civil Society Strategy 'Building a Future that Works for Everyone', today Paul Streets OBE, Chief Executive, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales said:

“There is much in this Strategy for Civil Society to be welcomed – not least in the new tone it sets for positive and open dialogue between the Government and charities who it recognises do ‘an extraordinary job’. The Government has responded to our suggestion for ‘a living, breathing strategy’ that ‘sets out how the government can support and enable civil society to achieve its potential’ rather than trying to prescribe what civil society is for and should do.

"We are pleased the Government has recognised the importance and value of small and local charities and the pressures they are under. It has listened to the concerns we raised about the need for charities to be free to speak up and campaign, to reform the broken system of commissioning, to make greater use of grants instead of contracts, to reform and extend Social Value and provide new sources of finance.

"But we now need to see Government driving action on the ground – providing the leadership, effort and commitment to deliver real change for charities. They must also make available the resources hard-pressed small and local charities on the frontline need, and ensure their voices are welcomed around the policymaking table no matter how controversial their campaigning angle, or how localised their service provision.

"And we would challenge the Government to go further in replacing contracts with grants and releasing more of the billions in dormant assets and committing this to the issues in society that are toughest to fund and hardest to fix, but where charities are best equipped to provide solutions like abuse and exploitation, criminal justice or addiction, and in the most deprived areas.

"This Strategy is a good starting point for the future of a stronger Civil Society, but with so many charities and communities under extreme pressure there is not a moment to lose. We and the small and local charities we support and partner with look forward to working with Government to turn these aspirations into concrete reality.”

For more information contact Jon Narcross, Press and Communications Officer (0207 378 4619)