Conservative MP Simon Fell has introduced a bill in Parliament to set up new government agency that would help measure the impact of charities and enable them to secure more funding.
The third sector organisations (impact and support) bill was one of 20 private members’ bills to have their first readings on 5 February. Fell is the recently elected MP for Barrow and Furness and has a background working with charities. He consulted with constituents before deciding what to call his bill.
Private members’ bills are proposals to change the law made by MPs and Lords who are not government ministers. One of the ways to introduced a bill is for MPs to enter a ballot, and Fell was one of the MPs to have been selected in the latest round. First readings of bills do not include any debate, and parliamentarians do not need to provide the full text at this stage.
Only a minority of private members’ bills become law, but they can help to stimulate debate around an issue.
The second reading of this bill will take place on 11 September.
In a statement on his website, Fell said: “They [charities] do huge amounts of good for our community, but often live hand-to-mouth, struggling from one funding application to the next.” His plan is to create a new body to measure the impact of charities’ services and curate a central hub of information and case studies.
If successful, he said there would be “an accredited team of officials from across government who will be able to drop in and measure the impact of the work that organisations like these do, so that future funding is easier to secure”. This means that charities would have a “clear and demonstrable link between previous funding, delivery and impact of services offered”.
They would also be able to learn from each other and be better placed to bid for government funding. There already a number of charity membership and support bodies that help charities measure impact and share best practice.
Fell is now due to meet with NCVO and the Small Charities Coalition. Aidan Warner, communications manager at NCVO, said: “We’re really pleased to see an MP thinking about the challenges charities have. NCVO members tell us over and over that applying for funding is time consuming and demonstrating impact can feel difficult. “We have resources online to help but there’s always more that could be done. We’re looking forward to meeting Mr Fell next week to talk about his ideas.”