The First Principle of Voluntary Action
Report edited by Matthew Smerdon. The current focus of the Foundation’s Strengthening the Voluntary Sector grants programme is on helping voluntary organisations to maintain their independence from government. The independence of voluntary action is a principle that has clear resonance in many other societies, in the UK, in Europe and across the Atlantic. The Baring Foundation commissioned essays from authors in seven countries (Canada, England, Germany, Northern Ireland, Scotland, United States of America and Wales) to review issues relating to independence from government. Together, the essays confirm that independence is fundamental to the principle and practice of voluntary action. They explore the many ways in which independence can be threatened and power exercised over voluntary action. Finally they share lessons about what voluntary organisations can do to protect their independence.