A few short days ago, Sara Scarlett, a well known libertarian and a former Lib Dem started a petition calling on the Government to cease all funding of the charitable sector.
A “charity” which receives taxpayer funding is simply not a charity. In light of the Kids Company scandal it is fair to say that a symbiotic relationship between gov. and charities is unhelpful and inappropriate. Taxpayer funding turns charities into unaccountable Quangos. This is morally wrong.
I have barely met Sara but it was obvious that this was not a mean spirited petition. Sara smells a rat. I caught up with her on Facebook to find out more:
A petition is a difficult thing to get moving. What motivated you to try?
I started this petition mainly due to the Kids Co scandal and my years in the non-profit industry seeing waste and inefficiency that wouldn’t be allowed to exist in the private sector wilfully ignored.
What problems do you believe taxpayer funding of charities produce?
- If a “charity” receives public funding, it’s not a charity, it’s quango. That may just be semantics, however, semantics are usually manipulated to obscure poor practice.
- The accountability, transparency and scrutiny standards of Charities are well below the standards expected in other publically funded bodies.
- Government funding isn’t granted on the basis of merit. It’s given to Government favourites. Other charities were resentful of Kids Company’s special status.
- Meaning well is not the same as doing good. There seems to be no accurate measure of a charity’s output. With no way to measure output then there’s no way to conduct a cost/benefit analysis. Whilst giving away your own money on a wing and a prayer is fine by me, it’s not okay with public funds.
- The Charity sector should not be a subdivision of Whitehall. The charity sector is not meant to be part of the Welfare State. If the two are virtually joined then Charity is just a way for politicians to absolve themselves of direct responsibility.
- In my humble opinion, public funding makes charities lazy. Chasing public funds is not the same as fundraising from the general public. It is a different game and when a charity does one it usually neglects the other.
Your policy would certainly produce a lot of tension at charity HQs. Once the dust settles, how do you think things will change for the charitable sector?
The reputation of the charity sector has hit an all time low and concentrating on their output without a government teat to suck on would be a good thing for both the charities and the causes they’re trying to help.
Readers can sign the petition on the official Government petitions website.
Sara is also on Twitter as @Sayde_Scarlett.