The new Minister for Civil Society is the first in recent years to cover the Charities Brief from the House of Lords. Diana Barran previously ran the domestic abuse charity SafeLives and also worked at charity sector think tank New Philanthropy Capital (NPC). The Baroness has also been a trustee of Comic Relief and the Henry Smith Charity. She has a great deal of experience to draw on, with an extensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities the charity sector faces.
She has identified three priorities to focus on. The first is about building more resilient communities, where she believes civil society organisations can play an important role in healing some of the divisions we see today, whether these are Brexit-shaped or related to religion, ethnicity, generational or class.
The second priority is to refresh the government’s approach to young people, and the third is around commissioning processes.
She says: “Both central and local government spend a lot of money through commissioning with the voluntary and community sector - how can we do that better? How can we use the Social Value Act to best effect?”
Baroness Barran went on to state that ‘job number one’ for her as minister for civil society will be to listen to charities. This can only be seen as positive news for the sector.
by Melissa Baxter