Rob Wilson – 2016 Speech on Young People


Below is the text of the speech made by Rob Wilson, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Civil Society, in Milton Keynes on 8 November 2016.

I’m delighted to be here today, and to see so many familiar faces in the room. I’ve been lucky enough to meet a good number of you before, and to see for myself how your work supports and inspires young people to make the most of opportunities and go as far as their talents can take them.

The best thing about my job in government is the chance it gives me to meet young people and witness first hand their talent and creativity. It also allows me to see the fantastic work many of you do with those young people.

This government is committed to creating a Britain that works for everyone and that, most of all for me, means young people. I want all young people, regardless of their background or circumstances, to lead independent, fulfilling lives and to reach their true potential.

We all know how a lack of confidence, of not feeling good enough, of just not getting a chance, can hold people back and stop them reaching their true potential.

I don’t want that to happen to young people today and neither do you. Together we can make sure young people have their say on matters that concern them, act on their interest or passion and develop the skills they need to succeed.

All of us in this room share a huge responsibility. Everyone here is tasked with making a positive difference to the lives of our young people. To equip them for challenges, some of which may be familiar to us and others much more novel. A world so connected provides young people with huge opportunity but also many challenges and some danger.

I want us to build a society where young people feel appreciated and want to give back to their communities, because they understand just how much their communities value them. Where they have high aspirations for their own life and feel their views and opinions matter.

We know that’s not true for everyone and I’m passionately committed to changing that.

It’s why I’ve recently announced £80million of new investment in youth projects. This joint funding between Government and the Big Lottery Fund will drive our twin ambitions for young people going forward.

First to support young people, especially those in the most challenging circumstances to grow in confidence and ambition.

Secondly, to encourage all young people to find ways of contributing to society and make their views heard in their communities as well as across Government.

So let me talk first about how government and civil society can support those young people who need our help the most and the ones we need to reach out to first.

The Youth Investment Fund targets disadvantaged communities and will support place based youth activity in local areas. Funding is available up to 2020 to deliver open access services and help organisations invest and plan for the future. We have had to make choices about where to prioritise this initial investment but I believe we’ve made the right ones.

I hope and intend this to be only the first wave of the fund, and it will attract even more investment from local organisations, businesses and philanthropists.

A further £40million will go towards the second part of our vision, to support young people’s personal growth through positive engagement in our communities. The #iwill Fund, which is part of our on-going support of Step Up To Serve’s ‘#iwill’ campaign, will encourage volunteering in young people and instil it as a habit for life.

By helping others, by tackling other people’s problems, our young people feel empowered to take charge of their own lives and can see that their actions have an impact.

In giving, they receive so much back.

The Uniformed Youth Social Action Fund is a good recent example. With a little help from government investment, Youth United have successfully created over 27,000 new uniformed places, including in the Fire Cadets and St John Ambulance.

90% of the units created two years ago are still running, with no additional grant funding required. They are also engaging more people from diverse backgrounds, including those with disabilities, young offenders and those who have English as their second language.

Let me say again, it’s the people who need our help the most that we must reach out to first. And we should provide the opportunity for all young people to give back and speak out.

But there is one programme we want to be a single, unifying rite of passage for young people across the whole country – because it so embodies what we’ve set out to do – and that is National Citizen Service.

Over 275,000 young people have taken part since the NCS programme began, and independent evaluation shows that it has given them a great head start in life. It teaches them resilience and leadership skills and better prepares them for the future.

In my view, the best thing about NCS is that it draws in young people from every background and brings them together, to live and work as a united team. It’s what government wants for this country – social cohesion, social mobility and social engagement.

Let me tell you about Carlton Bolling School in Bradford. A school that has over half the pupils eligible for free school meals. A school where the majority of the pupil’s parents don’t speak English at home.

This summer, 85 Year 11 & 12 students enrolled onto NCS; the highest figure in Yorkshire and one of the highest in the country. In the words of the Head Teacher Adrian Kneeshaw, not only do our children return more confident, resilient and eager to learn but they are often much more eager to volunteer and help out in their local community.”

Evidence like this that motivates me every day and it’s why I am so pleased to have recently introduced the NCS Bill to Parliament. It should bring NCS to the notice of even more young people and encourage them to get involved. It will also ensure the NCS Trust works efficiently, effectively and transparently.

What has really struck me through the course of this bill is the support NCS commands across all political parties and interests. We have to spread the news of NCS to all those disadvantaged young people who would stand to gain from it the most.

I am delighted that Ambition and others here today have signed up to the NCS Trust’s Pathfinders programme. This means we can draw on your experience, reach, creativity and commitment to test innovative and more flexible ways of getting the best from NCS. It is a much-needed step forward and I thank you for your support.

But our eagerness to work hand in hand with the youth sector doesn’t extend only to NCS. Everything we want to do we can do much more effectively with your help and support. Your knowledge, your expertise can help make so much difference.

One of the highlights of my year is taking part in the UK Youth Parliament, when young people debate issues they care about and tell me all the things I’m doing wrong.

It is inspiring to see the energy, enthusiasm and intelligence of the speakers. Reassuring too – not only that our future is in such good hands, but that our policy of supporting and encouraging young people to be the best they can be really works. Give them the opportunity and young people shine.

This year they are set to debate; education reform, racial and religious discrimination, public transport, votes at 16 and the future of the health service. Now whatever your politics you can’t help but be impressed by that agenda.

The future we build today is theirs to inherit tomorrow therefore it is right that they should have a say on how it is shaped. That’s why I’m pleased we are talking regularly to the Department for Exiting the European Union to make sure young people do not go unheard.

It’s also why we’re arranging a Ministerial roundtable with organisations working in youth voice. This will help us to plan a process through which young people’s views are represented and they can tell DExEU what their priorities are.

Of course this time of change isn’t only unnerving for the young, I know many of you in the youth sector will be feeling a little unsettled. But it is in times of change that we get to show our real strengths – in how we adapt and embrace opportunity.

If we work together, if we are innovative, if we keep a relentless focus on the needs of young people we will be successful and make good progress.

I was pleased to see Ambition promote this forward-thinking in its recent ‘Count Me In’ paper, recognising that effective and collaborative services can really make a difference to young people, even in challenging times.

I’m thinking, for example, of the Wayz Youth Club in Bracknell. When their funding came under threat they formed cross-sector partnerships with housing associations, corporates and others to support a long-term strategy for young people in the local area. It is exactly this sort of innovative leadership and readiness to adapt and change that we all could learn from.

We all know there is less public money to go around, and what we have needs to be spent in a way we know makes the most difference.

That means a focus on reaching those who need it most and, crucially, helping the organisations you represent to broaden and diversify funding.

This means looking at a wider range of options for funding. For example, using philanthropy, trusts and charitable funds, social investment, direct fundraising and private sector support to build a more sustainable funding environment.

We know plenty of private organisations out there share your belief in the potential of young people. By demonstrating your capability, by showing them the real impact your work has, you can tap into this vital funding and transform even more young lives.

Of course we in Government will support you. I hope everyone here has benefited from the work of the Centre for Youth Impact. If not, get in touch. By understanding the impact of your services we can continually improve their performance.

There is so much to look forward to in this sector. Indeed, I’m delighted to announce that over the coming months we’ll be developing a new youth policy statement. This statement will bring together a clear narrative and vision for how we best help our young people.

It will highlight the opportunities that come with our move to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport – how we can use our new position to give young people a greater engagement with our sporting and cultural heritage.

We want to benefit from your insights and wisdom. This new statement should draw on your experiences and celebrate the innovative work that is already happening.

I’m keen for it to act as a road map until at least 2020 and to show where this Government is heading with youth policy, so you can see where to work with us along the way.

More than anything I want the statement to be a commitment to every young person. That we will help them pursue their passions, lead happy, independent lives and feel an active, engaged and valued part of their communities.

Rob Wilson – 2016 Speech on Local Charity Day


Below is the text of the speech made by Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, in London on 14 July 2016.

Good Morning.

Thank you Pauline for your introduction.

Many thanks to The Leatherseller’s Company for hosting us. Our civil society has a long, proud history so it is fitting that today’s event is generously hosted by an organisation with a similarly rich history.

Today, as our civil society continues to evolve, we still see the same selfless generosity, warmth of spirit and sheer determination to make a difference.

The result of the EU referendum is bringing about change for our country. In light of these changes, our work with you is becoming even more imperative.

We must continue building a bigger and stronger society with compassion at its heart – small charities and community groups exemplify this spirit.

It is one of the great privileges of being the Minister for Civil Society that I see first-hand your amazing work.

A few weeks ago, I visited a small, local charity in Guildford called Halow, which supports young people with learning disabilities. I was privileged enough to meet with their beneficiaries and to see the impact that Halow has on their lives.

Following this meeting I will visit MyBnk, which empowers young people to take charge of their futures.

Yet whilst small charities make up 97% of all registered charities in the UK, all the media coverage seems to go on the big guys.

It ignores what the vast majority are doing, day in, day out, to serve their communities.

Through tough times, I’ve been impressed to see many small, local charities adapting to challenges by finding different sources of funding and banding together to reduce costs.

It is impressive to see these charities adapting whilst keeping focus on what is best for their communities.

Local Charities Day

We should shout from the rooftops about the energy, the commitment, the expertise that small and local charities bring.

And that’s why I am delighted to announce plans for a Local Charities Day – a celebration of local charities and community groups that will take place later this year.

Raising their profile to help them get the recognition they deserve.

We want to help small, local organisations become more independent, more resilient and more sustainable. That is why we are building capability, encouraging giving, supporting investment and cutting red tape.

On capability: through our Local Sustainability Fund we granted over 260 smaller organisations close to £18 million to help them secure and improve the future of their services.

The Small Charities Fundraising Training Programme has helped hundreds of small charities increase their income. A great achievement.

On giving: we have provided match funding for fundraising campaigns like Localgiving’s Grow Your Tenner because we want to get more people giving to small local charities.

The Independent Dormant Assets Commission could help government identify hundreds of millions of pounds for good causes too. This will become a big opportunity for small, local charities.

On investment: I launched our new £80 million Life Chances Fund last Monday. This fund will develop more Social Impact Bonds, helping charities and social enterprises get the finance they need to deliver payment by results contracts.

Good for charities, great for local public services.

But as small and local organisations reach out into their communities, I am only too aware that small charities have been impacted by the poor fundraising practices of some large organisations.

That is why we have supported the setup of a new Fundraising Regulator. That regulator will put the public back at the heart of fundraising.

I have been very clear that small, local charities should not be unduly burdened by any changes to fundraising regulation.

In fact, we have cut red tape for small, local charities, by raising the audit threshold from £500k to £1 million.

As you can see, small and local charities are a major focus of our work.

But I want us to do more.

To get this work right, I need to hear directly from small and local charities and all of you here.


Organisations like the Foundation for Social Improvement and the Small Charities Coalition tell us that fundraising, public services and governance are vital issues.

Let’s take the first one: fundraising.

The reason we are all here today is to discuss how to encourage more giving to small and local civil society organisations.

Take for example organisations with an income of £100,000 or less. They make up 83% of the sector in terms of the number of charities. But they account for less than 5% of the total income.

So how do we help direct resources to all the small, local groups?

It is part of my mission as Minister for Civil Society to challenge how we can do more to encourage giving and philanthropy.

A recent report by New Philanthropy Capital suggests that an additional £4 billion could be unlocked from the affluent in Britain. That is serious money.

Many on high incomes already make huge contributions to causes close to their hearts. Some of you here today are amongst them.

Yet studies show that overall those on higher salaries give less, relative to their income.

I want to know what more we can do to encourage giving by those who have more. That’s our focus for the second roundtable this afternoon.

I want these roundtables to have a real impact on our next steps, within government and across the sector.

That’s why government is committing up to £1 million over the next 2 years. £1 million to take forward ideas that develop our culture of giving.

I’ll be particularly interested in ideas that bolster the efforts of small and local groups to fundraise effectively.

So please don’t be shy in sharing your views!

We also need to raise awareness of their vital work. Too often it goes under the radar. We need to change this.

That is why I said earlier, I want to hold a celebration of local charities and community groups later this year.

And as part of that celebration, we will encourage giving to these groups.

So we will offer £250k in match funding for a fundraising campaign that does just that.

Helping them to raise vital funds for their work on the front-line. Helping them to reach new donors. And helping them get the recognition and support they deserve.

Public services

Let me now turn to the second issue: public services. We greatly value the positive impact that small, local charities can have. These organisations work hard to reach communities and those most in need. They can improve the outcomes of public services.

We want to unpick the barriers that prevent charities from playing an effective role in improving public services. That is why we are hosting a series of open policy events.


And the third issue, governance and leadership in civil society organisations: These must be of the highest quality to enable the sector as a whole to reach its full potential.

The sector itself must take the lead in this. But government recognises we have a role to play.

This is why we are developing joint proposals with our partners in the sector for stronger leadership and governance. This work will support small, local organisations in particular.

The results of all these conversations will drive what the Office for Civil Society and Innovation does to support small and local charities in the next phase of our work.

And we will share what we are going to do as a result.

Small and local charities are passionate about the people they help. They serve their communities. They are accountable to them.

I will be doing all I can to ensure these responsive, locally engaged and committed organisations get the recognition they deserve.

Thank you.

Rob Wilson – 2016 Speech on Launch of Life Chances Fund


Below is the text of the speech made by Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, at the University of Oxford on 4 July 2016.

Good afternoon. Thank you all for coming and thanks also to the Blavatnik Institute for hosting us.

I’m sure I’m not the only person here who was looking forward to a quiet summer.

Euro football, a visit to Wimbledon perhaps, a bit of Test match cricket, maybe even a chance to catch up on some reading, that was my hope!

Unfortunately my summer reading now appears to include the Lisbon Treaty.

The EU referendum has of course changed everything.

But in a more profound sense its changed nothing.

And this is my message to you today: whatever happens in the weeks and months ahead, our work continues.

We are still the same one nation government, working to build a bigger and stronger society; working to extend hope and opportunity to those who need them most.

But the EU Referendum did demonstrate that big questions, built up over many decades, are present in our country.

Six years ago we began the task of tackling this by building a bigger, stronger society with compassion at its heart. It is true that we need to do more, to redouble our efforts, but I am proud of our achievements to date: Giving is increasing, the social economy is thriving.

We created the world’s first social investment bank in Big Society Capital which has already made almost £600 million available to charities and social enterprises.

And over 1 million people in the UK now give regularly, a total of £11billion each year.

Social action is helping to transform lives: it contributes £34billion each year to public services, adding an extra one-sixth to state spending on education, health and local services.

200,000 young people have taken part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) and alone they have given more than 8 million hours of service to their communities. We hope to see 100,000 more young people take part in NCS this summer.

And communities are stepping up: the 6,500 community organisers we have recruited to date have supported over 400 neighbourhoods to take action on the things that matter to them most.

There is much more we can and plan to do. Our expansion of the National Citizen Service will guarantee a place for all young people, with 60% of eligible young people participating each year by 2020.

We will expand community organisers to 10,000 and we are preparing programmes to grow volunteering by older people, increase volunteering in health, and getting business involved in driving youth skills.

Public services that get results are increasingly absolutely key to our task of building a bigger and stronger society that supports the people who need them the most.

Public services that get results

That means staying relentlessly focused on the people in this country who haven’t had a fair shot in life. The child in care with the odds stacked against them; the repeat offender who can’t read or write; the troubled families who spend half their lives with the government in their living room – Because they, more than anyone, need us to get results.

And that’s exactly what we together, have to deliver.

Too often in the past government has approached the most difficult social challenges by finding the money, designing the programme and concluding job done. Spending money rather than investing it.

But doing something isn’t the same as solving something.

What we’ve learnt over the last 6 years is that the test of a good social programme isn’t how much you spend but how well you invest it.

In short, how many lives you change.

It’s why paying for outcomes is at the heart of our commitment to improving the life chances of the most disadvantaged in our society.

Everyone here knows the cost of social failure: £30,000 a year for a first time offender; sometimes over £100,000 a year to support a child in care.

But success can also be measured.

It’s the child in care who finds a stable, adoptive family; the repeat offender who leaves prison with an English GCSE; the troubled families who get the help they need to get their lives back on track.

Not only do these programmes change lives for the better, they also save huge amounts of money.

By paying for outcomes, we can cut the cost of failure.

Paying for results gets results

And we know that paying for results really does get results. I’ve seen it for myself all over the country.

Take Worcestershire.

Its Reconnections Programme is all about tackling loneliness and isolation.

It deploys an army of volunteers across the county, who work with older people to build their confidence and reconnect them to social activities – from lunch clubs to libraries.

It’s all paid for by £850,000 of social investment, wrapped up in a Social Impact Bond that only pays out when the programme delivers a measurable reduction in loneliness.

Later this afternoon you’ll hear how a similar approach in Birmingham is helping troubled young people move from residential care to stable and supportive family placements.

But there are many other examples from across the UK.

The Peterborough Social Impact Bond, or SIB, achieved an 8 percentage point reduction in reoffending among short sentence prisoners leaving prison.

The London Rough Sleeping SIB has helped over half of its 830 participants to achieve improved outcomes, including sustained stable accommodation, employment, or reconnection to their home country.

Or look at the Essex SIB, which has helped 200 young people on the edge of the care system stay safely with their families.

Paying for outcomes works because it allows us to focus on what really matters.

It concentrates minds on prevention and early intervention. It frees charities and social enterprises to use their expertise to deliver services that really work.

And when things don’t work, it gives a clear incentive to stop, think again, adapt and refine until they do.

It really is a win-win for commissioners, providers, investors and communities.

We’ve already backed 32 SIBs, and we can be incredibly proud that we’re world leaders in this field.

But now we need to go bigger and better.

We’ve built the prototype, proven the concept – the task now is to scale the model up – so we can help even more of our fellow citizens lead happy and fulfilling lives.

Life Chances Fund

That’s what the government’s £80 million Life Chances Fund is all about.

The basic idea is simple.

Whitehall gains some of the benefit from payment by results, so Whitehall should front some of the cost.

For example, we invested £700,000 from our Social Outcomes Fund – the forerunner of the Life Chances Fund – in Worcestershire’s Reconnections Programme, recognising that less loneliness means less pressure on additional care provision funded by the welfare system.

The early indications are that Reconnections is having a significant impact – with clear reductions in the levels of measured loneliness for those going through the programme.

The new Life Chances Fund will build on the work of the Social Outcomes Fund, providing a top-up for outcomes that generate savings for us.

From today you can apply for a share of that £80 million fund – which I hope we can add to in the future. It will contribute to you getting SIBs that tackle deep-rooted issues, off the ground, and in doing so improving the life chances of our most vulnerable citizens.

The Fund is structured around 6 key themes: drug and alcohol dependency, children’s services, early years, young people, older people’s services, healthy lives.

The Life Chances Fund will aim to make contributions of around 20% to local SIBs, but it could contribute more if you can make the case.

Applications for proposals focusing on children’s services and tackling drug and alcohol dependency are now open. These will be followed by the other themes over the next 12 months.

Through the Life Chances Fund we have a huge opportunity to revolutionise our public services to focus on achieving positive outcomes for people.

The Social Impact Bond market could be worth £1 billion by the end of the Parliament if we can create momentum.

I am committed to harnessing their power in the service of social progress. Today we are making a downpayment on that commitment.

GO Lab

But it doesn’t end there.

You will also hear this afternoon from Ngaire and her team about the Government Outcomes Lab that we’re launching today, in partnership with the Blavatnik School of Government.

The GO Lab will provide expert support to local commissioners looking to use SIBs to transform lives.

So this is a system of end-to-end support, from helping you draw up your initial ideas to funding the final outcomes.

It’s about central and local government, academia and the voluntary sector – all coming together to work at tackling some of the most entrenched social challenges we face.

Over to you

So the question for commissioners is this: what part will you play in the social investment revolution?

I want you to use this afternoon to start thinking about which social challenges in your communities could benefit from an outcomes-based approach.

From children in care to elderly care, drug and alcohol dependency, to youth unemployment – you have it in your power to make a difference, get results, and save money.

So make use of the materials and support that the GO Lab will be working up and get your expressions of interest into the Life Chances Fund.

And for the voluntary sector providers and social investors out there, I want you to talk to your commissioners about the ideas you have for transforming local services.

And remember that it’s often the simplest ideas that can have the greatest impact.


So we’ve taken clear action to help you seize this opportunity.

And we stand ready to work with you to help you transform your local public services.

This is the start of a fundamental shift, from fixating on process to focusing on outcomes, from stifling creativity to rewarding innovation.

Finding out what works, getting results, saving money, changing lives.

The divides that the referendum has revealed make a strong civil society even more important. We all have a part to play in knitting the country back together.

I haven’t backed a candidate yet in the Conservative Party leadership election, but I am passionate about social mobility and giving people a chance in life. It’s what brought me into politics.

The next PM must have civil society and social mobility, that hope to get on and move up in life, at the centre of their agenda.

Now, more than ever, people facing the most challenging problems need a government relentlessly focused on improving their lives.

I’m looking forward to working with you to make that happen.

Rob Wilson – 2016 Speech on Fundraising Week


Below is the text of the speech made by Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, at the British Film Institute in London on 19 April 2016.

t’s a real pleasure to open the event today. I hope Fundraising Week 2016 is a huge success and will support people to take positive steps towards responsible and sustainable fundraising.

Let me first of all express my sincere thanks to Stephen Cook for his great work as editor of Third Sector over the years. Like many in this room, I have been grilled by him in the past. I’m sure his colleagues will give him a great send off and will gladly opt-in to being asked for money for the leaving gift.

On a more serious note – it’s great to see so many charities represented here today, positively engaging with fundraising and making it a central focus of their activities.

And you are right to do so. According to the Charities Aid Foundation, the UK is the most generous nation in Europe, and one of the most generous in the world – it’s in our DNA as a country.

Three quarters of people have donated to charity in the previous year, one of the highest rates anywhere in the world and voluntary income has remained strong. Now all of this is really heartening news.

So let me start by saying this: I absolutely understand that you need to “ask” in order to fundraise.

Fundraising enables you to do the vital work which is at the heart of all your organisations. And that is why it is so important to get it right.

You’ll all be aware that this is an issue I care very deeply about.

I am determined to see charities move on from poor practice, and come out stronger.

But that’s only possible if all of you here today meet the high expectations of the generous British public.

This means putting supporters back at the heart of fundraising activities and ensuring that charitable aims are only ever achieved by charitable means.

Fundraising is the principal – and sometimes only – way in which the public interacts with a charity. It is in effect the “shop window” for your organisations. So it needs to be done in a way that reflects your core values and those of the sector as a whole.

This means respect and care – not only for beneficiaries and donors – but also crucially for those who choose not to support your charities.

Impact of poor practice

We have all seen the devastating impact that poor fundraising practices – of even a few – can have on the entire sector.

– Recent YouGov figures show that 62% of the public think that poor fundraising behaviour has damaged the sector as a whole

– Hundreds of letters from members of the public have been written to me echoing their concerns about the way in which they have been contacted by charities

– Public trust and confidence in charities overall has plummeted – on one measure, more people now trust supermarkets over charities

Though you are still faring better than politicians and I’m afraid even journalists Andy. But seriously: these numbers show that, for many, the word charity no longer invokes warmth and pride. Instead it arouses suspicion.

This state of affairs is incredibly damaging to the long term sustainability of the sector. Charities need to do everything in their power to meet this challenge absolutely head on.

This means actively reassuring the general public that each one of you:

– operates to the highest standards

– will always treat people with respect

– will spend as much as possible on frontline services.

What worried me most about the recent YouGov reputation research was there was a significant number of people who thought larger charities were not taking the problem seriously enough.

Moving on from poor practice

Now back in December I said fundraising was at a crossroads. I am heartened to see that the vast majority of charities have chosen to go down what I regard as the right path.

The one that:

– supports a stronger self-regulator

– allows the public a genuine say about whether they wish to be contacted for fundraising

– and will help the sector restore the public trust and confidence on which the sectors future depends

This is evident in the way that almost all of the charities asked to fund the setup of the Fundraising Regulator have responded positively. It’s a visible sign to the public and Government that they see the value in having effective, sector-wide regulation in place.

I am sure you will be aware that Michael Grade and Stephen Dunmore have made great progress in this area.

At this point, I would also like to commend the senior leadership of the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) for constructively engaging in the handover process and ensuring that the new regulator will have the best possible start.

Thanks to their hard work, and the work of Stephen’s team, the new Fundraising Regulator will open its doors this summer.

All of you here today should have firm plans to register your organisations. This will show your commitment to support responsible, sustainable fundraising for the future.

Now, regaining trust doesn’t need to be lengthy process. If we collectively act to champion best practice then we will be able to rebuild relations with the public and win back their support.

There are many who think that by giving self-regulation a second chance we’ve not gone far enough. As I took the Charities Bill through Parliament it was clear to me that all parties across the chamber wanted swift and firm action.

I want self regulation to work. And my commitment to you is that I will continue to support the new Fundraising Regulator by defending self regulation.

However as I have said before, I will intervene should it become necessary. That is not a threat, it’s simply a promise.

Sector leadership

I know that many of you have improved your approach to fundraising over the past six months. And, I am a firm believer that the most important changes in the sector need to come from you.

We have already seen positive changes to the Fundraising Code of Practice that address some of the most pervasive issues around data protection that were uncovered last summer.

Overall, the Code – and the Institute of Fundraising’s stewardship of it – has served fundraisers, charities and the public over the past 30 years.

But we need to make sure that it will improve and prosper over the next 30 years too. Which is why the Code should become clearly independent from the interests of the profession and move to the new regulator.

In talking of positive progress I want to single out Charities Aid Foundation for praise in the wide range of support it is providing for the new fundraising regulator.

Some individual charities have also shown particular leadership in respecting and empowering their donors.

I want to acknowledge the commitments by RNLI, Cancer Research UK and the British Red Cross to move to an opt-in only system for their fundraising communications. This will not only give the public a greater say over their data and preferences but also stop charities wasting resources on those who do not wish to hear from them.

On that same note I am encouraged to see progress on the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS).

Evidence shows the FPS is key to restoring trust in charities.

According to YouGov, 72% of the general public surveyed feel this way. Other research has put general support for the service at over 60%.

Now I understand that the uncertainty over the short term impact of this may be uncomfortable for you sitting in the audience today. But whatever you think might happen to your income as a consequence of the FPS will be nothing compared to losing the long-term trust and goodwill of the public.

It is important to remember that the FPS is a service at the end of the day. Those who may feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of fundraising communications and want to say ‘no more’ absolutely have a right to do so.

Sir Stuart and the cross-party panel of peers were right to recognise this in their review of fundraising regulation last summer and I congratulate them on their determination to uphold charities’ long-term reputation with the public.

Thanks to their continued leadership, a working group of charity leaders and service experts will design an FPS that works for everybody.

The proposals I have seen so far are promising and – once finalised – I hope the Fundraising Regulator will ensure their swift implementation.

The future of fundraising

All of the changes I see – driven by the regulators, the government and you – are part of a wider reform process to become more sustainable.

I am supporting this – for example – through the Small Charities Fundraising Training Programme that I recently launched. This is designed to help small charities to fundraise more effectively through a significant number of training opportunities, such as face-to-face workshops, webinars and advice sessions.

Innovative approaches to fundraising will become key because the generous post-war generation that was receptive to mail and telephone fundraising cannot be relied upon forever.

Instead charities need to find new ways to engage younger people who will not be persuaded by persistent asks but instead want to be inspired on a personal level.

We have seen the success of innovative fundraising approaches everywhere. Whether it’s getting people to participate in engaging events such as Save the Children’s ‘Christmas Jumper Day’ or using new technologies such as the WWF has done for its ‘endangered emoji’ campaign. Innovation is out there and we all need to continue to find new ways to connect with the public.

What’s more – the latest NCVO Almanac data shows that we are seeing unprecedented levels of youth engagement with charities.

Initiatives such as NCS and the #iwill campaign encourage young people to get involved with charities and their community from an early age.

I am a firm believer that embedding community participation early on in life builds the perfect basis for lifelong engagement with the voluntary sector.

2015’s Youth Social Action Survey showed that over half of those participating in social action had donated money or goods in the past year.

Now, a brilliant example of this is 10 year old #iwill Ambassador Ryan Bickle, from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, who fundraises in his local community showing that you can’t be too young to get involved!

He first got involved in social action after his Grandfather died, raising money for his hospice and it’s not stopped since. For example last Christmas, he fundraised £800 for the Cumbrian flood relief fund by carol singing!

Another 10 year old #iwill Ambassador is Lucy Bowie from Renfrewshire, Scotland who fundraised for Marie Curie Cancer Care by doing a sponsored walk, after getting involved with social action as part of Girlguiding Scotland. Overall she has helped to raise well over £2,000 for her chosen charities.

It’s examples like these that show the potential that is just waiting to be unlocked all across the country.

Securing income for the future

As you take the lead in meeting the challenges of fundraising for the future, I will continue to challenge, innovate and help you build a strong and sustainable sector. One that the UK can be proud of.

In doing so we have to listen to Lucy and Ryan’s generation.

Alongside getting active in their local communities, research shows that 75% of Millennials also care about companies giving back and prioritising more than just profits.

This is why I want to create a social economy where everyone has a genuine choice over how their money is managed in line with their values.

This could involve creating dedicated pension products and ISAs. I am already looking at ways to enable ‘everyday social investors’ to back causes they care about.

This is on top of establishing the world’s first social investment bank, with contributions from the big four high street banks, to bringing in Social Investment Tax Relief.

But there are even more ways to unlock the social economy.

We have launched a Dormant Assets Commission, similar to the successful Dormant Bank Accounts scheme.

Former Big Society Capital chief executive Nick O’Donohoe is identifying pools of unclaimed assets including stocks and shares that have laid untouched for 15 years.

We are hoping that an estimated one billion pounds will be unlocked for good causes through the Commission.

But there is also more we can do to ensure that opportunities are available to all organisations across the voluntary sector.

In particular I want to look at what we can do to help small and medium sized charities. They are the ones who often achieve the best impact in their local areas and who sometimes struggle in the shadow of their larger cousins.

So I’ve asked my team to look at ways to enable small and medium charities to use their ideas and talent to improve outcomes for public services across the country.

We know that charities make a huge difference and reach some of the most difficult to reach communities.

I want to find existing best practice and share these fantastic initiatives to explore whether they can be scaled up to benefit even more people.

The combined effect of these reforms will ease the pressure on income and enable you to concentrate on building more sustainable, mutually beneficial relationships with your donors.


A new and improved self-regulator is just one part of the change that we need to see in fundraising. The other, more significant, change is in culture and practices.

That is entirely in your hands. I hope you take away from what I have said, some very positive messages for the future.

My strong advice for what it is worth is to listen to the tide of public opinion and do what is right to ensure higher standards in fundraising.

A solid foundation is needed to restore public trust and ensure that you not only do right by your current beneficiaries, but also future ones.

Thank you.

Rob Wilson – 2016 Speech on Buy Social Corporate Challenge


Below is the text of the speech made by Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, at 11 Downing Street in London on 19 April 2016.

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to 11 Downing Street.

It’s my great pleasure to host you to launch the Buy Social Corporate Challenge. The Challenge is a world-first and I am delighted to see representatives from the UK’s leading businesses, financial services and social enterprises in the room.

We are all here today because we see the potential for business to be a powerful force for good. It is one of my key ambitions to see the growth of the UK’s dynamic social enterprise sector. Crucial to success will be opening up access to corporate markets, individual consumers and the public sector.

Many businesses recognise that their long-term survival is linked to the positive difference they make in the world. And more large companies are interested in how their spending power can be used to buy from social enterprises.

Customers are demanding it too: 1 in 3 British consumers will pay more for products and services that have a positive social and environmental impact.

Social enterprise can no longer be seen as a niche activity – 1 in 5 businesses in the UK now have a social mission at their core and the sector employs more than 2 million people.

The Buy Social Corporate Challenge is about connecting larger businesses to the ingenuity and innovation in the UK’s vibrant social enterprise sector. It isn’t asking businesses to spend more. But to spend in smarter ways that can improve their core business.

As you’ll hear today, the companies already signed up are taking a leading role by setting big targets for their own spending with social enterprises. Andy from Wates Group will speak about their commitment in a moment, and Johnson & Johnson have a target spend of £15m by 2020.

The Cabinet Office has worked with Social Enterprise UK to create this campaign and we will support SEUK to bring on board many more businesses to join the founding partners – to whom we are immensely grateful for their leadership.

The ambition is high and the Buy Social Corporate Challenge aims to see businesses spend £1 billion with social enterprises by 2020.

I encourage those of you representing large companies to find out how you can do more business with social enterprises by joining this Challenge; our support is there for you to make it happen.

And those of you from social enterprises, to show how you can deliver comparable or better services at fair costs to corporate clients – while making a difference to communities across the UK.

This campaign is a win-win for businesses and I am delighted that we are launching it here today.

Thank you and good luck.

Rob Wilson – 2016 Speech on UK Social Investment Market


Below is the text of the speech made by Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, at Lloyd’s of London on 22 March 2016.

Good morning everyone, it’s a great pleasure join you at the launch of QBE’s innovative Premiums 4 Good insurance product here at Lloyds of London.

Congratulations on the launch of this product – its great to see 40 early adopters.

I’m reliably informed that I am in good company today, surrounded by people who want to make a real difference. And that is crucial to what I want to talk to you about.

We all have an important role in making a difference to people’s lives.

When I choose to donate to a charity, I expect that charity to act in a responsible way and to be transparent in how my donation is used.

When I make a pension saving, I expect the investment manager to offer me a choice of investments and to keep me informed about its performance.

When you take out an insurance policy with QBE and their “Premiums 4 Good” product, you can choose where some of that premium is invested and expect it to report on the social and environmental impact generated by it.

These examples all have 3 things in common:

– a focus on consumer choice

– an intention to generate a positive impact, whether financial or social

– transparency and accountability about how that impact gets delivered

These are principles I have been embedding in my programme of reform across charities, civil society and social investment. They are core to my vision of a bigger, stronger society here in the UK.

So let me tell you about what we as a government have done in the past, what we are doing in the present, and my vision of what we can do in the future.

Past: Charity sector reform

You will all be aware that the charity sector has had its fair share of difficulties recently. In the last year I have been focused on reforming the regulatory framework for charities and social sector organisations.

I have given the sector the chance to sign up to better standards of behaviour. If it fails to follow through on commitments to do things differently, I will take more prescriptive measures to ensure those who donate to charities and those who benefit from charities are protected.

I have ensured fundraising self-regulation is remodelled – a new fundraising self-regulator is being led by Lord Grade. This will provide confidence that fundraising scandals are now firmly behind the charity sector.

It provides a platform of public trust and confidence that the sector needs for a generous public to continue to donate to the causes that matter most to them.

Through the Charities Act, I have enhanced the powers of the Charity Commission to enable it to regulate the charity sector more effectively. Ensuring our charities have a framework fit for 2016 and beyond – subject to minimum bureaucracy but robust oversight.

The Act also contains a statutory power of social investment for charities, to better enable them to make investments that contribute to their charitable mission as well as providing a financial return. This is the first ever definition of social investment in legislation.

I hope this sends a strong signal to both the charity sector and the wider investment community that this government is committed to seeing social investment grow.

Past: Social Investment

The government took a number of pioneering measures in the last parliament to help with that growth:

We set up Big Society Capital – the world’s first social investment bank. With contributions from the big four high street banks it received £600 million of capital to be allocated to social investments.

We established Access – the foundation for social investment. With £100 million to support more organisations to take on investment, it will help stimulate the pipeline of social investment deals over the next 10 years.

We created a Social Investment Tax Relief, modelled on the successful Enterprise Investment Scheme, to stimulate social investment by individual investors.

We commissioned the world’s first Social Impact Bond, working on the principle that government only pays for the outcomes it wants to see and that are successfully delivered.

Investors provide the up-front capital needed to scale up innovative services – the investor is then repaid by government when the specified outcomes are delivered.

Present: Social Investment

You will hear hardly any mention of Social Impact Bonds in the media today. I intend to talk about them frequently in the weeks and months ahead.

Social Impact Bonds, or SIBs, are increasingly being deployed to deliver public service reform that cuts to the heart of some of the biggest challenges that we face as a country.

They often focus on prevention and early intervention, which will help us to contain the ever expanding demands on our public services.

In many cases, the delivery organisations are charities and social enterprises who have the experience of delivering successful programmes across local areas.

SIBs help to foster a genuine partnership between government, Big Society organisations and social investors – bringing in the additional investment needed to support these organisations, who can innovate in ways that big government simply cannot.

Perhaps most importantly though, they focus on delivering meaningful outcomes for real people. For example, supporting a child out of residential care into an adoptive home, a young person into their first job, or a rough sleeper into supported accommodation.

The Prime Minister recently announced our new £80 million Life Chances Fund – an important next step on a journey that will show how social investment can transform local public services.

This is a down payment on a Social Impact Bond market that I hope and expect to be worth more than £1 billion by the end of this parliament. The SIB model will become the norm for the way many of the more challenging public services are funded in years to come.

I have also set up a commission to look further at dormant assets. I believe there are a host of such assets which belong, in aggregate, to the public and should therefore be used to benefit the general public and not specific firms who may be, unwittingly or not, sitting on these stores of potential public value.

I expect the commission to report back later this year and I look forward to institutional investors playing their part in unlocking this puzzle.

The UK is a world leader in social investment – to remain so, we need to continue to push the agenda. This is the right thing to do because of the social benefits it leads to, but also because it supports the UK economy.

We attract foreign capital to investment opportunities in this country at the same time as exporting our expertise in this growing area to other states around the world. I will be unrelenting in pushing us all to seize this opportunity.


My vision for the future of social investment is informed by the principles I set out at the start of this speech:

– that individuals have genuine choice in how their money is managed in line with their values.

– that institutional investors build social impact considerations into all their investment decision-making – recognising that fiduciary duty is not only compatible with, but ought to include an appreciation of, social and environmental factors.

– that there is a culture of feedback on investment performance that includes social impact as well as financial performance.

To achieve this vision I am beginning to think about further reforms that will make it easy for more people to be social investors. To connect their investments with the causes they care about.

Firstly, requiring pension providers to offer products to scheme members where a specified percentage of their money goes to social investments. I think this should be as easy for the scheme members as ticking a box when they are deciding how they want their pension invested.

Working with the grain of people’s behaviour by asking about their preferences at the right time to allow them to take action.

It is something that we already see working successfully in the French pension system where billions of euros have been channeled to social impact investments.

Secondly, updating the guidance and regulation around fiduciary duty to better account for social investment and non-financial concerns.

The Law Commission has already set out a number of recommendations around fiduciary duty and its compatibility with environmental, social and governance factors. Broadly these say that fiduciary duty means considering both financial and non-financial factors. Or, put another way, fiduciaries are not doing their job correctly unless they are considering investments in the round.

I want to see these principles more fully incorporated into the investment strategies of investment managers. I want to make sure that when investment managers are thinking about their fiduciary duties they are thinking about people’s investment preferences in more than just financial terms.

This doesn’t mean reduced financial returns. It does mean considering how social impact can sustain or even enhance those returns.

If the end beneficiary of financial products has limited ability to directly engage with investment choices then the investment manager, acting as a proxy, needs to be thinking about those preferences in a holistic way.

75% of millennials say that it is important that a company gives back to society instead of just making a profit – these are the kind of preferences that need to be better thought through by investors.

I have already mentioned the power of social investment for charities that I recently legislated for, better enabling them to combine investments with financial and social returns. I would like to see this approach replicated across the wider investment industry.

Thirdly, creating a ‘social investor’ category along the lines of the ‘restricted investor’ category in the crowd-funding space.

Currently the cost of compliance with full FCA regulations can be out of kilter with the small scale financing needs of most social sector organisations.

A ‘social investor’ category, safeguarded with a maximum limit to each investment of say £250, would make it easier for ‘everyday’ investors to back local causes they care about, ranging from saving the local pub to sustainable energy production.

And finally, developing a dedicated social investment ISA to make social investing easily identifiable to mass market investors.

Product providers have made limited progress in developing social investment based offerings. I feel that an ISA allowance that has characteristics specific to social investment would provide the impetus needed to get a meaningful range of socially themed products in front of investors from the general public.

This could be in the form of a dedicated additional ISA allowance for social investments of say £1,000 to sit on top of the existing allowance.

I would very much welcome your ideas and engagement on this as well as some of the ongoing work I mentioned earlier. The role of the investment industry will be a large factor determining the success of further social investment reforms.

Key messages

I want to highlight some thoughts around social investment which I see as key.

Social Investment is taking off – institutions are already making social investments.

The investment manager Cheyne Capital is running a social impact property fund which I understand will make close to a £1 billion of investments in social property.

Threadneedle has a UK social bond fund with tens of millions of pounds under management which can be accessed by individual investors. I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg for retail fund offerings.

And today we are here to mark this innovative insurance product from QBE – demonstrating how social investment can be applied to new areas of financial provision.

Millennials are demanding this.

They will be the beneficiaries of the largest inter-generational wealth transfer in our history. Successful investment managers and product providers will need to cater for their preferences.

They are more interested in values-based lifestyles than previous generations – that includes consumption choices but also the way they want to invest.

They are also much more likely to demand transparency and accountability from those who manage their money. But the market is not yet providing suitable vehicles for them to express these preferences.

The government wants to back these people in the choices they want to make.

As I mentioned earlier, we are committed to growing the social economy. We will use social investment as a way to transform how public services are delivered, making them not just smarter but much more compassionate.

Closing remarks

I hope you have heard some clear and consistent messages from me today:

That I am undertaking a wide programme of reform in those areas that fall under my responsibility; for charities, for social investment and ultimately for a bigger stronger society.

That this government has taken decisive action to enable social investment in the past, that we are doing more now and that I want to take this much further in the future.

That I expect major drivers of this progress to be the principles of increased consumer investment choice, transparency of how individuals investments are handled and a focus on better reporting of impact.

The time for social investment is now – government expects institutions to actively engage in this space. We are listening, but want to see more of the kind of approach embodied by the ‘Premiums 4 Good’ product.

I am looking forward to the growth of an investment market that better connects its customers with the causes they care about. And I am looking to the investment community to help me deliver it.

Thank you and good luck to Premiums 4 Good.

Rob Wilson – 2016 Speech on Social Investment


Below is the text of the speech made by Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, at Hogan Lovells in London on 2 March 2016.

Good morning everyone, it’s a great pleasure to join you at this Social Investment Academy.

Thank you to Worthstone for putting on what I’m sure will be a very useful event. Here at Hogan Lovells you are in good company – with people who really want to make a difference.

Hogan Lovells has helped 30 social enterprises secure investment by providing free legal advice. It is one of a growing number of businesses recognising that social enterprises play a crucial role in tackling and addressing social and community problems and, at the same time, enhancing the economy.

I’m pleased to inform you today that this government has embarked on a somewhat overdue and ambitious reform programme for charities and social enterprises.

It is my aim to deliver a sector that is more independent, more resilient and more sustainable. Better able to meet the many challenges that it faces.

Over the past year or so, my Office for Civil Society has ensured the creation of a new fundraising self regulator, led by Lord Grade, making certain it has the legislative powers to give the public confidence that fundraising scandals are behind the sector. A chance to restore the public trust and confidence that it needs so that a generous public continues to donate to causes that matter most to them.

I recently piloted the Charities Bill, soon to become an Act, through Parliament. This Act will give much tougher powers to the Charity Commission to enable it to regulate the charity sector more effectively.

Several confusing regulators abolished, but replaced with a new one, whilst enhancing the Charity Commission’s powers. In essence ensuring our charities have a framework fit for 2016 and beyond, operating with the minimum bureaucracy but with robust powers.

And the Charities Act also clarifies the law around social investment, enabling smaller charities to have the confidence to get involved in this hugely beneficial area.

Social investment is growing. It will play an increasing role in how the sector will be funded and there is a role for all of us in achieving this. Social investment can accelerate the growth of new businesses, transform the impact of our public services and support stronger communities to tackle the social challenges that they face.

The UK is recognised as a world leader in social investment. We created the world’s first social investment bank, first social investment tax relief and the first ever social impact bond. I want this leadership to continue and the government is therefore supporting this market to remain a world leader. We have already created 32 social impact bonds (SiBS), more than the rest of the world put together.

SIBs work on the principle that government only pays for the outcomes that we want to see and agree should be delivered. Social investors provide the up-front investment needed to scale up innovative services. The investor is then repaid by government based on the outcomes that have been delivered. Hopefully this involves a return on investment.

SIBs are being deployed to get to the heart of some of the biggest challenges that we face as a country. They often focus on prevention and early intervention, which will help us to contain the ever expanding demands on our public services. The delivery organisations, in many cases, will be charities and social enterprises who have the experience of delivering successful programmes across local areas.

SIBs help to foster a genuine partnership between government, Big Society organisations and social investors – bringing in the additional investment needed to support these organisations, who can innovate in ways that big government simply can’t.

Perhaps most importantly though, they focus on delivering meaningful outcomes for people. For example, supporting a child out of residential care into an adoptive home, a young person into their first job, or a rough sleeper into supported accommodation.

The Prime Minister recently announced our new 80 million pound Life Chances Fund, which is an important next step on a journey that will show how social investment can transform public services. This is a down payment on a SIB market that I hope and expect to be worth more than 1 billion pounds by the end of this Parliament. The growth of SIBs will continue into the next Parliament and will become the norm for the way many public services are funded.

Social impact bonds are barely mentioned in the media today. In a few years time they will be the most talked about funding mechanism for government social projects. I will be talking about them a lot.

In its different forms, social investment is already making a huge difference to the lives of thousands of people throughout the country

For example, Aspire Gloucestershire and Ambition West Midlands, 2 programmes focused on supporting young people who are homeless and out of work, have raised over 900,000 pounds in investment through a social impact bond to support 490 young people to improve their lives.

Part of this investment was raised from high net worth individuals who wanted to use their money to change lives as well as generate a financial return. These investors were also able to take advantage of the social investment tax relief.

Another example is Golden Lane Housing, who were able to use a Retail Charity Bond to raise 11 million pounds to buy and adapt housing for people with learning disabilities while providing investors with an annual return of over 4%.

What I really hope you go away with today, is the sense that this is a no-brainer, that we can invest for positive social returns that can change people’s lives. And that you can all help to make this happen.

You are the pioneers. The fact that you’re here means you know this is something to think about, to pay attention too. You don’t need me to tell you that the demand is there – that 73% of investors are now interested in making a social investment. This market will be taking off and I hope you’re here to make the most of it.

We’ve had the social investment tax relief now for nearly 2 years, and we’re now seeing the impact in communities across the UK.

It’s getting more investors involved, giving them that extra incentive they need to consider something a bit different, and opening their eyes to these amazing organisations that really are changing people’s lives. We are working to expand the relief, leading the process with the European Commission as we speak.

But what about you? You are the gatekeepers. The ones that investors trust to provide advice and guidance. I’m pleased to announce that we’re working with Worthstone to develop an accredited social investment education and training module for retail investment advisers.

This will give you the tools and knowledge you need to carve out your offer and to push this market forward.

More widely than that, we also think that regulation is an area that might need a fresh look. The government is committed to doing anything it can to remove unnecessary burdens, while not eroding consumer protection or the integrity of the financial system.

I’m extremely pleased that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is recognising the growth of this market and is currently gathering evidence on regulatory barriers to social investment.

This is your opportunity to share experiences of what would make it easier for your profession to move this market even faster and make a real difference to communities across the world.

This government is absolutely committed to growing the social investment market and making it easier for socially-motivated investors to invest in line with their values. I hope to announce further plans on this later in the year.

But now it’s over to you. Feedback to the FCA to make sure you’re operating in the right regulatory environment. Do the deals, talk to your clients and push the boundaries.

The time for social investment, ladies and gentlemen, has arrived and it’s here to stay.

Thank you.