VOLUNTARY SECTOR MUST BE VIGILANT IN GUARDING ITS INDEPENDENCE
Posted on 03/12/2003
A call for the voluntary sector to maintain its independence from Government and preserve its freedom to experiment and be creative comes today from the Chief Executive of the Carnegie UK Trust, John Naylor.
Writing in the Trust's Annual Report, he says, "Independent resources are vital at a time when central government increasingly regards the voluntary sector as a means of delivering public service; when local government, itself under pressure, often squeezes the sector, and when reduced lottery income is increasingly directed by Government policy".
"The voluntary sector must be vigilant in maintaining its independence in the face of these growing and sometimes enticing approaches".
Mr Naylor, who is stepping down later this year after ten years heading the Trust, one of the UK's oldest and most respected, says that he is increasingly convinced of the importance of trusts and foundations as a truly independent force with the freedom to experiment and be creative.
"Independence gives trusts an authentic voice in a sound-bite world - a voice which enables them to speak to Government and act as a neutral ground for dialogue among groups with often passionately-held beliefs and interests".
He cites the Trust's work in its Third Age programme and more recently in its Young People Initiative as examples of the way it has brought groups together and influenced Government policy.
He says, "Credibility with Government and the field is built on solid research, consultation and networking. Such a research foundation and network of contacts provides a basis of informed grant-giving."
Mr Naylor's remarks come at a time when the Trust has itself been reviewing its future activity in the light of reduced income as a result of the decline in the stock market and the increasing impact of the Chancellor's ACT changes which phase out tax relief on dividends.
The Chairman of the Trust, William Thomson, reports on changes which the Trust will make as a result of a review of its activities. It will place more emphasis on policy initiatives which its grant-giving will then reflect; it will continue to attract additional funding for its projects; it will look for long-term partnerships, and encourage new approaches to philanthropic giving.
He says, "The Trust will be trialling partnerships with others to establish working relationships and possibly longer term cooperation. These are likely to start with mutual strategic initiatives or grant-making."
The Report shows that the Trust authorised grants of almost a million pounds during the year under its three categories - rural community development including support for village halls, young people's involvement in public decision-making and projects demonstrating creativity and imagination in arts, science and the community.
The Trust was established in 1913 by the Scottish born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, with the object of 'the improvement of the well-being of the masses of the people of Great Britain and Ireland'.
In common law legal systems, a trust is an arrangement whereby money or property is owned and managed by one person (or persons, or organisations) for the benefit of another. A trust is created by a settlor, who entrusts some or all of his property to people of his choice (the trustees). The trustees are the legal owners of the trust property (or trust corpus), but they are obliged to hold the property for the benefit of one or more individuals or organisations (the beneficiary), usually specified by the settlor. The trustees owe a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries, who are the "beneficial" owners of the trust property.
The trust is governed by the terms of the trust document, which is usually written and in deed form. It is also governed by local law.
The most common purposes for trusts are as follows:
1. Privacy. Trusts may be created purely for privacy. The terms of a will are public and the terms of a trust are not. In some families this alone makes use of trusts ideal.
2. Spendthrift Protection. Trusts may be used to protect one's self against one's own inability to handle money. It is not unusual for an individual to create an inter vivos trust with a corporate trustee who may then disburse funds only for causes articulated in the trust document. These are especially attractive for spendthrifts. In all cases known to this writer a family member ...
The solution provides an article analysis for trusts in the voluntary sector.