words by

Alasdair Ross

Policy and Consultations Offer

ACVO TSI/ Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action

Share this story

Apr 12, 2024

Preparing for the General Election

This month, Policy and Consultations Officer for ACVO and AVA, Alasdair Ross looks at how your third sector organisation can prepare for the General Election, ACVO’s forthcoming feasibility study into the possibility of creating a Third Sector Hub in Aberdeen and more…

Preparing for the General Election

It’s an understatement to say it has been another tumultuous year in British politics. Some days it has been impossible to predict what will happen next, but one thing is a certainty – a UK General Election will be held before the end of January 2025.  “Not another one!” I hear you say – echoing the feelings of Brenda from Bristol – but it has been a whole 2 years since the Local Government elections and there are certainly plenty of issues that I know our sector wants elected representatives to take action on.  At the same time I know there is a lot of reluctance to get involved in the political process or to be seen to favour one side or another.  But ask yourself this – if we don’t ask for what we want from our political leaders, how will we ever get it?

Charities can engage in campaigning, but there are limitations. It’s important to remember that advocating for specific issues relevant to your mission can be a powerful tool for achieving your goals.

OSCR says a charity can campaign if:

  • it is advancing the charitable purposes
  • the governing document does not prevent the activity
  • it is not advancing a political party and,
  • it can show it is acting in the charity’s best interests.

Considering the impact on your organisation’s reputation should not be underestimated too.

As well as this useful guidance from OSCR, the Electoral Commission has a series of resources to help organisations navigate the issue of electoral law and whether you need to register as a non-party campaigner during an election period.  They also cover topics such as holding hustings and how to engage the public in the democratic process.

If you are thinking about how you engage with elected representatives and candidates in the upcoming General Election, ACVO would be pleased to hear your plans!

Third sector hub for Aberdeen?

ACVO is set to carry out a feasibility study into the possibility of creating a Third Sector Hub in Aberdeen, thanks to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.   Over the past few months we have heard a growing demand for collaboration and sharing of knowledge and resources. 

A dedicated hub in the city could develop a new dynamic and supportive ecosystem that empowers organisations in the third sector to work more efficiently, effectively, and collectively for the benefit of the diverse communities in Aberdeen.  The goal of the feasibility study is to equip ACVO and other stakeholders with the information needed to make informed decisions about the viability and potential outcomes of establishing a Third Sector Hub in Aberdeen.

The study will provide a thorough analysis of the project’s feasibility from various perspectives to aid our planning and decision-making processes, and to provide potential funders with the information required to assess the deliverability and likely impact of the proposal.  The work will go out to tender for a delivery partner shortly, with the final report expected by the end of the year.  This project is funded by the UK Government. 

Introduction to the Equality Act (2010) and the Protected Characteristics

Third Sector Human Rights and Equalities (THRE) have produced a new guide for those looking to learn more about the Equality Act.  This is part of a new set of resources – Beyond Protected Characteristics: The Equality Act (2010): In Practice.  This guide is aimed at organisations who want a basic overview of the Equality Act, what it means, and how it relates to the third sector including:

  • The types of discrimination covered by the Act
  • What is meant by the Protected Characteristics
  • Exceptions, including implications for volunteers and the Charities’ Exception
  • What is meant by Positive Action
  • How the Act links to human rights

The free guide can be accessed at this link.

Just Transition for North East and Moray Inquiry

The Scottish Parliament’s Economy and Fair Work Committee has published its report of their inquiry into a just transition for the North East and Moray.  ACVO gave evidence to the inquiry when it visited Aberdeen.  We urged the committee to consider appropriate revenue funding for the third sector as well as capital grants, asked them to consider the wider social impact of third sector projects as well as economic measures, and explained that capacity building in communities was essential to a just transition so that everyone has fair access to funding.  The committee made a number of recommendations to the Scottish Government including a recognition of the need for communities to be supported to access more than just the participatory budgeting element of the Just Transition Fund.  They have asked the Scottish Government to explore how this might be achieved.

This article originally appeared in the December edition of ACVO News. The current and past editions of ACVO News, as well as a link to sign up and have it sent for free direct to your inbox each month, can be found at acvo.org.uk/acvo-news

words by

Alasdair Ross

Policy and Consultations Offer

ACVO TSI/ Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action

Want to receive updates about Policy & Consulations, as well as all the latest from the third sector in Aberdeen and beyond?

Sign up to our mailing list below!

Read more Policy & Consultation Blogs