The Department supports and recognises the role of charities and voluntary organisations to undertake advocacy, lobbying and campaigning where they are seeking to improve the health and well-being outcomes for the population of England. They play critical roles as advocates and in representing the voice of service users, patients and carers, particularly in making sure the most disadvantaged communities needs are heard. Through its grant schemes, the Department does provide some funding to support charities and voluntary organisations in undertaking this type of activity where there are shared interests and priorities.
Voluntary organisations, community groups and social enterprises across the country do extraordinary work every day to improve the lives of others. The Compact is the agreement which governs relations between the Government and civil society organisations, such as charities, in England. It aims to encourage successful partnership between the Government and civil society organisations to ensure better outcomes for citizens and communities. One of the key principles of the Compact is to recognise and support the independence of the voluntary sector; including the right within the law to campaign, to comment on and to challenge government policy (whatever funding relationship exists). To ensure that we can make the most of the voluntary sector's potential, an open, honest and transparent relationship with the Department is essential.