Civil society and charity campaigning is central to our democracy, amplifying the voices of those who are marginalised and holding the powerful to account. Over recent years, restrictions have been placed on the ability of civil society groups to speak out. It is essential that this freedom to campaign is restored. To this end, Barrow Cadbury Trust and fifteen other civil society signatories are calling on the next government to:
- Significantly revise the Lobbying Act, along the lines proposed by Lord Hodgson in his Government-commissioned review of the legislation.
- Ensure that all departments engage with and involve CSOs throughout the policy-making process, listen to and value the insights that CSOs provide, and respect and support their right to speak out.
- Ensure that all government grants and contracts support the right of CSOs to speak out, and facilitate open and inclusive policy engagement, and remove restrictions on campaigning.
- Ensure the Charity Commission and Electoral Commission are working to enable a regulatory environment which supports the rights of CSOs to campaign.
- Commit to uphold the right to protest.
You can read the manifesto here.