Whitehall philanthropy champion proposed

A senior civil servant dedicated to boosting philanthropy in the UK should be appointed by the Government as part of a Whitehall drive to unlock the full potential of giving, according to a new report.

The Law Family Commission on Civil Society has recommended the appointment of a Philanthropy Champion to act as a “gateway” between Whitehall and the philanthropy sector and be responsible for co-ordinating action across government departments on measurement, regulation, guidance and taxation of philanthropy.

The Commission also recommends that the civil service starts a “’leveraging philanthropy’ best practice drive” in partnership with philanthropy sector organisations. This is to ensure civil servants understand the opportunities presented by philanthropy, including innovative financing models such as match-funding, as a basic standard of civil service training.

The recommendations in the report, titled Seizing the Philanthropic Prize: The role of the UK government in growing philanthropy, have been widely backed among prominent philanthropy sector organisations, including the Beacon Collaborative and the Charities Aid Foundation.

As part of both recommendations, there is a focus on collaboration between government and the philanthropy sector. The sector is encouraged to “respond constructively and actively” were a Philanthropy Champion to be appointed. Similarly, as part of a best practice drive in Whitehall, the philanthropy sector would be encouraged to organise “lunch and learns” between philanthropists and civil servants to exchange perspectives.

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