Call for evidence

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The UK is rightly proud of its civil society. But though we have pride in it and trust it, it is undervalued and too often overlooked. Given the right support, resources and policy attention, there is more civil society could achieve.  

In December we launched the Law Family Commission on Civil Society – a two-year research and policy programme focused on how civil society can unleash its full potential in the 2020s. In our launch report Civil Action – Exploring civil society’s potential in the 2020s, we set out three broad ambitions for the Commission: 

First, we want to make the case very clearly about the scale of civil society’s contribution, not just to society, but to the economy too. That means we need hard numbers about the value of civil society. 

Second, we want the three sectors – public, private and social – to work more effectively together, recognising the unique role and value each contributes to achieving the best possible outcomes for the UK. That means building the conversation across all three sectors about what that optimal balance looks like and what role civil society should play in the future of our country. 

Third, we want to develop the practical ideas and policy proposals that will help social sector organisations unleash their full potential. That means understanding what currently prevents organisations achieving as much as they possibly could – from funding to capacity building to how volunteers are used – and working with practitioners to develop solutions. 

In this call for evidence, we are seeking insights, evidence and examples that will help us understand the current landscape and start developing ideas to achieve these ambitions.

Please use the form below to provide us with your contact information and submit your evidence. For questions 1-9, please submit a written response in the space provided. You do not need to respond to every question. For question 10, please upload up to three files containing evidence pertaining to our call, as well as a brief description of what the evidence contains.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Max Williams at
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It’s clear the public greatly values civil society, but that value is not reflected in the numbers that drive decisions in our country.   

We need a better understanding of the true value of civil society, including both economic and social value.

There are many touchpoints between civil society and the state. These include finance, regulation, service delivery, influencing policy development and contributing to decision making.  

We want to understand exactly how civil society and government interact currently, where this relationship is working well and where there are opportunities to do better. 

In particular, the government has set itself a clear ambition to ‘level up’ the country. There is a growing consensus that the inequities faced by left behind communities are as much social as they are economic. Civil society is well-positioned to help the government overcome this challenge and guide the project of levelling up along social lines. 

We want to further build the case that the government must aim to level up not just economic performance, but wellbeing, and that civil society has a vital role to play in achieving that.

The line between business and the social sector is blurring, with businesses increasingly recognising the need to demonstrate their social value alongside their profitability. While support from business is important for charities, it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses to reach out to civil society organisations, which hold expertise in social value.  

We want to understand more about how civil society and the private sector interact currently, where this relationship is working well and where there are opportunities to do better. 

Never has the value of civil society been more apparent than over the past year, during which it provided much of the vital support that has kept our country going through the pandemic. But Covid has created significant challenges, with many organisations trying to meet increased demand for support with fewer resources.  

We want to look for practical solutions that will help civil society organisations make the best possible use of existing resources, as well as looking for opportunities to increase the amount of resource flowing into the sector.

And finally…  

This Commission is looking to stand on the shoulders of giants, building on relevant research that’s gone before and making use of existing evidence/data that will help us understand and make our case. 

10) Do you have any other evidence you would like to share with us?