Charities react to John Glen appointment


Charities react to John Glen appointment

John Glen, minister for civil society

Department for Culture Media and Sport

Today Prime Minister Theresa May appointed John Glen MP to Department for Culture Media and Sport, and he is widely expected to become the the new minister for civil society.

Glen is the MP for Salisbury, and takes over from previous minister for civil society Rob Wilson, who lost his seat at the election.


Vicky Browning, chief executive of Acevo, said it was a “great relief to learn that civil society remains a priority in the prime minister’s thinking” and commended her prompt appointed of the minister to oversee the brief.  

On the appointment, Browning said: “John Glen’s considerable history of trusteeship within the charity sector makes him well placed to carry out the role.

“He should liaise with civil society leaders to help them engage with government to help resolve critical issues which Acevo identified before the election. Not the least of these is allowing and encouraging charities to campaign freely in order to further their charitable objectives.

“And if no one and no community is to be left behind then public service commissioning must place the citizen at the heart of any contract. Social as well as economic value must be intrinsic to any contract specification.”

She said that Brexit must be central to any dialogue in order to ensure a “successful transition and an enduring legacy of inclusion.”

Browning went on to say that with the National Citizen Service Act now enshrined in law, the new minister can “begin to make changes that will fully embrace the charity sector rather than tinkering around the edges of existing schemes which already exist and which consistently underperform”.

She said Acevo and its members “will be ready and willing to engage with John Glen as they seek these new ideas”.

She added: “These areas should be the start, not the end, of the new minister’s engagement. In uncertain times, the sector needs a visionary ally in government. We hope that John Glen will live up to this need.”

Institute of Fundraising

Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising, also offered his congratulations to the new minister, on behalf of the fundraising community.

He said: “This is a crucial time with demand growing but many charities still struggling to raise the resources they need.  We would urge the minister to look at ways to grow and support charity fundraising, especially smaller charities and support for legacy giving, and look forward to working together to do so.”

Charity Finance Group

Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of Charity Finance Group, congratulated Glen but urged him to ensure the government has a “positive vision for the sector”. She said: “Charities are faced with a number of operational challenges which strains their resources including the apprenticeship levy, irrecoverable VAT, and an ever more complex commissioning environment.

“We will urge the new minister to work his colleagues across Whitehall as well as civil society to ensure the government has a positive vision for the sector which tackles these challenges and enables charities to be as effective as possible in meeting the needs of their beneficiaries.”


Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, said: “'We know that with the right support from government, charities and volunteering can not only enrich our lives but also help deal with some of the biggest challenges we face as a society.

“The government could help in various ways, including making it easier for people to volunteer, sorting out public service commissioning, and using dormant assets money to endow community foundations and help local people take control of the community facilities, green spaces and historic buildings that matter to them.

“I'm looking forward to working with Mr Glen and hearing about his ideas for the role.”

Social Enterprise UK

Social Enterprise UK’s chief executive, Peter Holbrook, congratulated Glen on his appointment, and called on him to put social enterprise at the heart tacking social problems.

He said: “We’d like to congratulate John Glen MP on his appointment as the new Minister for Civil Society. We look forward to working with him to push social enterprise further up the policy agenda and show that they are one of the best means to deliver inclusive growth. There is also much to be done to further develop the mutuals strategy and ensure the upcoming review of the Social Value Act delivers the best results for the sector.

“Last year the minster said that “real opportunities exist to put in place transformative interventions that will advance the Government’s reform agenda for tackling the most challenging social problems” – social enterprise should be at the heart of this vision.”

Remember A Charity

Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity, also welcomed Glen into the role: “We’re delighted to welcome the new minister into post. This is such an important role for influencing the future of legacy giving and therefore the sustainability of the sector as a whole. In recent years, government’s support has helped to quadruple the number of solicitors that proactively give clients the option of leaving a legacy in their Will. We’re looking forward to working with the new minister and hope the new government continues to champion this vital form of giving.”


Neil Cleeveley, chief executive of Navca, said: “It looks like an interesting choice and it is always good to have a charities minister who has experience of working with and supporting charities.”

“The Lords Charity Committee report noted relationships between the Government and the voluntary sector need to improve. This is a great time for John Glen to come in and put this right. I am sure that there are many of us who are willing to help him make a success of the job.”

Other thoughts came in across the sector: