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Unleashing the power of civil society

The final report from the Law Family Commission on Civil Society

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Productivity of purpose: Bringing charities into the UK’s productivity drive

This latest research explores the importance of productivity in the social sector and the vital work required to boost it.

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Making it count: Overcoming the barriers to better grant-making

Drawing from a wide range of sources such as sector experts and infrastructure bodies, we highlight the 4 main barriers to more effective grant-making and recommendations to improve it.

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Giving advice: The case for the FCA to act on philanthropy

New PBE research for the Law Family Commission on Civil Society calls for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to mandate training on philanthropy advice for financial advisors, among other recommendations.

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Solve for S: How businesses can approach the S in ESG and how partnerships with civil society can help

New research exploring how businesses can approach the S in ESG as an investment tool, and how partnerships with civil society can help.

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The price of purpose? Pay gaps in the charity sector

New research analysing the size of the pay gap between the charity sector and the rest of the economy.

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Giving pains: The cost of grant-making

New research assessing the cost of foundation funding applications


Seizing the philanthropic prize – The role of the UK government in growing philanthropy

A report that focuses on the benefits of boosting the collaboration between Whitehall and the philanthropy sector.

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Charities need to be a vital part of the UK’s productivity drive

Boosting charity productivity is an overlooked opportunity in the campaign to tackle the UK’s productivity problem. Both charities and policymakers have a shared interest in doing so.


A Shared Interest: The relationships between policymakers and charities

This new PBE study for the Law Family Commission on Civil Society is the most comprehensive review of the social sector’s interactions with policymakers ever conducted

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Summary of responses: unleashing the potential of civil society

In this call for evidence, charities, community groups, social enterprises, volunteers, policymakers, business leaders and academics provided their ideas as to how the potential of civil society can be unleashed.

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Mind the Giving Gap – Unleashing the potential of UK philanthropy

Each year, members of the UK public voluntarily donate nearly £20 billion of their own funds to help make possible the work of tens of thousands of charities, employing hundreds...

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Better Giving

When it comes to philanthropic giving, is it enough to simply increase the quantity, or should we also aim to improve the quality as well? And if so, what does it mean in practice to...

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Hysteresis in the making? Pandemic scars and the charity sector

The resilience of the charity sector has come at the cost of workforce and volunteer wellbeing.

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Why civil society is essential to levelling up

Without civil society, levelling up won’t succeed. Decades of attempts to tackle the UK’s entrenched regional inequalities have shown that the charities, community groups and volunteers that are at civil...

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Better data, bigger impact: A review of social sector data

Nearly half a million social sector organisations in the UK play a vital role in sustaining our society and economy, but a serious paucity of data is preventing the social...

Spending Review and Budget Submission

Five key areas in which we believe government action could strengthen the social sector’s foundations.

In the Public Eye

In the Public Eye: snapshot of public attitudes towards civil society

To mark the launch of the Law Family Commission on Civil Society, we commissioned YouGov to provide a snapshot of public attitudes towards civil society in November 2020.

Purpose: On Parallel Tracks

Great things can happen when civil society and the private sector team up, but the scale of engagement needs to be boosted. New research about the benefits that come when...

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Taking account: the case for establishing a UK social economy satellite account

We know that the social sector plays a vital role in the wellbeing of our country. It also plays a vital role in our economy. But currently, we know very...

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Third pillar, not gap filler

By examining what civil society provides that government and business do not, we aim to make the case for civil society to sit alongside, rather than exist as an afterthought...

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Supporting effective volunteering for the 2020s

This note is the first of a series of summaries we’ll be publishing from the Law Family Commission on Civil Society's call for evidence on unleashing the potential of civil...

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What is civil society?

Civil society is a term that’s widely used, rarely agreed upon, and not always understood – and it often means different things to different people. This page sets out clearly...


What’s missing? Evaluating social sector data gaps

As part of the Law Family Commission on Civil Society, PBE is investigating the role and potential for better data about social sector organisations, with a particular focus on charities.


Levelling Up: On the right track?

With each new announcement, it becomes clearer what levelling up really means. It also raises new questions as to whether the government will truly be able to improve people’s lives...