Bishop of Newcastle asks Government to help small charities involved in probation services

On 5th June  2019 the Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, asked a question she had tabled, on the national probation service. The answer, her follow-up, and those of other Members are reproduced below:

Probation: Voluntary Sector

newcastle230119bThe Lord Bishop of Newcastle: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the voluntary sector can contribute to an effective national probation service.

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Keen of Elie) (Con): My Lords, voluntary organisations play an important role in helping offenders turn their lives around. We are determined to strengthen this role. In May, the Government set out our plans for future probation arrangements, including that the National Probation Service will directly commission specialist and voluntary sector organisations to deliver rehabilitation services. We are engaging closely with voluntary sector providers to ensure that our arrangements maximise their potential engagement.

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his Answer and welcome the proposal in the Strengthening Probation, Building Confidence consultation, which promises a clearer role for the voluntary sector. My concern, however, is that the consultation proposes ongoing mini-competitions and a mixed market for services. Can the Minister tell us how the Government will ensure that smaller charities are helped to spend less time competing for contracts and more time serving the community?

Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle asks Government to help small charities involved in probation services”

Bishop of Winchester on importance of education, religion and voluntary agencies in UK foreign policy

On 21st May 2019 the House of Lords debated a Motion from Lord Howell of Guildford ,”That this House takes note of the Report from the International Relations Committee UK foreign policy in a shifting world order (5th Report, HL Paper 250).” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, spoke in the debate:

Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester on importance of education, religion and voluntary agencies in UK foreign policy”

Bishop of Newcastle praises local volunteers fighting poverty

Newcastle 8On the 21st February 2018 Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top led a short debate on the questionto ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to promote the importance of volunteering”. The Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Revd Christine Hardman, spoke in the debate.

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, let me tell your Lordships about Benwell in the west end of Newcastle. It is one of the most deprived areas in the country, with 37% of children living in poverty. It is home to one of the largest food banks in the UK, which featured in the Ken Loach film, “I, Daniel Blake”.

In his film, Loach deliberately used the real-life food bank volunteers as extras. Kathy, committed volunteer and a reader in her church, featured in the film. Kathy volunteers at the food bank because she knows what it is like to be hungry. She volunteers at the citizens advice bureau because she knows how complicated the benefits system is. She volunteers in the local school because school was one of the few sources of hope in her own difficult childhood.

Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle praises local volunteers fighting poverty”

Bishop of Durham highlights work of faith-based charities and role of volunteers

On Tuesday 16th January 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Pitkeathley “That this House takes note of the Report from the Select Committee on Charities Stronger charities for a stronger society (Session 2016-17, HL Paper 133).” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I draw notice to my charitable interests as listed in the House register.

This insightful report rightly stresses that we live in a time when charities provide an ever-greater volume and range of social provision in our society. Therefore, their role must be thoughtfully recognised and supported by the Government. I am proud of the role that the Church of England and all UK faith groups play in this provision. As examples, we run food banks, advice drop-ins, youth clubs and practical skills and jobs training, support the elderly and offer legal support to asylum seekers. According to New Philanthropy Capital, more than a quarter of charities in Great Britain have an association with faith and many people of faith help in the full range of charities. The significance of faith as a motivator for charitable action should never be underestimated. The particular needs and challenges that the Church and other faith-based charities face must be considered and taken seriously in any coherent strategy for the long-term flourishing of UK charities. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham highlights work of faith-based charities and role of volunteers”

Archbishop of Canterbury praises work of voluntary sector in helping those in debt

Archbishop of CanterburyOn 10th October 2016, Lord Sharkey asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the harm to consumers caused by unsolicited real-time promotion of high-cost credit and of debt management solutions.” The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Justin Welby, asked a follow up question.


The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I declare an interest as patron of Christians Against Poverty, a voluntary organisation based in Bradford dealing with debt management. Does the Minister agree that debt management is an area where there is very significant participation by the not-for-profit voluntary sector? Will he undertake to draw the attention of the FCA and other authorities to the participation of this sector so that it may be listened to and its role receive the recognition that will help people in these problems? Continue reading “Archbishop of Canterbury praises work of voluntary sector in helping those in debt”

MPs debate contribution of faith organisations to voluntary sector in local communities – transcript

Voluntary Sector: Faith Organisations

05 May 2016 11.08 am

BruceFiona Bruce (Congleton) (Con)

I beg to move,

That this House has considered the contribution of faith organisations to the voluntary sector in local communities.

Christians possess a rich heritage of social reform and charitable care which is alive today. In the 19th century, William Wilberforce and Lord Shaftesbury led campaigns for the abolition of slavery and child labour. Others, such as Barnardo and William and Catherine Booth, were involved in founding charitable organisations, covering every conceivable form of human need, as an expression of Christian love. The Christian principles that drove Wilberforce and Shaftesbury are still very much alive in Britain today and are as relevant as ever. Continue reading “MPs debate contribution of faith organisations to voluntary sector in local communities – transcript”

Bishop of Rochester on the role of churches, voluntary and community groups in building the common good

On 11th June 2015 the Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, spoke during the House of Lords debate on the Bishops’ Pastoral Letter for the 2015 General Election. The text is below and the speeches of others in the debate can be read here

Bishop of RochesterThe Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I, too, am grateful to my friend the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans for initiating this debate, and the opportunity to reflect on the House of Bishops’ pastoral letter, which, although issued in the context of an election, was written in the hope that it would provide an ongoing stimulus to thinking and reflecting on the shape of our society and the kind of society that we wish to be. Not least, it will provide something of a challenge to the churches, to which it is primarily addressed, but to others also, to discover afresh something that is a treasure and very much part of our story. Reference has been made to Magna Carta, and as Bishop of Rochester I would be remiss not to remind noble Lords of the existence of the Textus Roffensis, which predates the Magna Carta, although it is not quite so long, and which also merits celebration. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester on the role of churches, voluntary and community groups in building the common good”

Bishop of St Albans leads debate on civil society, the common good and the Bishops’ General Election pastoral letter

“I am convinced that there is urgent work to be done to establish a new politics that seeks the common good. Indeed, I am keen that we will be able to explore the forms that such an approach to politics might take and the role that churches, charities and voluntary organisations, and indeed all intermediate institutions, can play in moving us in that direction.” – Bishop of St Albans, 11/6/15

On the 11th June 2015 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, led a House of Lords debate on the pastoral letter of the House of Bishops for the General Election of 2015. The debate was titled:

‘That this House takes note of the role played by civil society, in the light of the pastoral letter from the Church of England’s House of Bishops, Who is my neighbour?’

The Bishop’s speech is below in full, along with his closing remarks and links to the speeches of the other 16 participants.The speech and subsequent debate can also be watched here.

Bishop St Albans June 2015The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, there is much in our nation for which we can be profoundly grateful. Next week, as we mark 800 years since the sealing of Magna Carta, we give thanks for the long, yet sometimes tortuous, path that has led us to becoming a modern democracy. That moment was if not the birth then perhaps at least the conception of civil society at the beginning of a long gestation.

Last month, we celebrated 70 years of peace since the end of the Second World War, by which time civil society as we know it today was coming of age. As a nation, we have experienced extraordinary levels of economic growth over recent decades. Life expectancy has increased significantly and, importantly for this debate, in many communities in our nations, civil society is still strong and thriving. I for one am immensely grateful to be living in modern Britain and do not want to give any time to sentimental talk about a bygone era that probably never existed. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans leads debate on civil society, the common good and the Bishops’ General Election pastoral letter”

Archbishop of York speaks and votes during Report Stage of Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill

On 15th December 2014, the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon. John Sentamu, spoke during the Report Stage of the Government’s Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill. He asked the Minister whether the legislation was the right tool for encouraging social action and volunteering in communities. He also voted in a division of the House, on Lord Lloyd’s amendment to remove Clause 2 (“Social Action”) from the Bill. The amendment was not accepted.

Archbishop of YorkThe Archbishop of York: My Lords, I am puzzled. Will the noble Lord tell us whether it is ever worthy to use a statute as a means of giving assurance? I thought that a statute was to state the law, not to assure somebody somewhere. That would be okay. It would be an amazing way of—you know what I mean. Continue reading “Archbishop of York speaks and votes during Report Stage of Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill”

Bishop of Derby speaks of unique contribution of the voluntary sector to society

“We do not look just to our neighbours but to strangers. We are not just interested in economic viability but in what is morally right. That is where the energy of the charity sector comes from, and why there is that great British tradition we have heard of—not because it is economically efficient but because it is morally right” – Bishop of Derby, 26.6.14

On 26th June 2014, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in Baroness Scott of Needham Market’s take note debate on the role played by the voluntary and charitable sectors. He spoke of the distinctive nature of the voluntary and charitable sectors, how they can learn from the world of business but must not simply become businesses, and how they must be afforded the freedom and flexibility to deliver their own unique contribution to communities.

Bishop of Derby

The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness and her party for securing this debate. We talk in a context in which certainly many of the charities and voluntary and faith groups that I am involved with are in crisis, with rising demand and costs and reduced funding. That context is the ending of the welfare state. I remind the House that when the welfare state was conceived, Sidney and Beatrice Webb saw it as having three charity and voluntary work purposes: to meet basic needs, to bring people into association with each other, and to create partnership and participation. Of course, the welfare state became totally focused on meeting basic needs rather than on the richer political ecology of dignifying people, associating with them and bringing them into partnership. Many of us in the charitable and voluntary sector have got drawn into that game of meeting basic needs through projects. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby speaks of unique contribution of the voluntary sector to society”