The Prime Minister, Rt Hon David Cameron MP
10 Downing St
Friday 24th June 2016
Subject: Open Letter concerning the European Referendum and a Commission to Protect the Vulnerable
Dear Prime Minister,
I wrote to you last month having taken on the job of leading ACEVO, the UK’s largest network for charity and social enterprise leaders. You were gracious enough to reply despite the exigencies on your time. Now I write under very different circumstances, in the spirit of openness and partnership, using the means of an open letter to offer you our support and expertise as you try to steer the nation through these turbulent times.
ACEVO’s network spans 1400 charity and social enterprise leaders operating in areas as diverse health, welfare and employment, childrens’ services and the arts. They span the leaders of kitchen table charities to the biggest international, socially conscious charity brands. Our expertise is unique; we are the decision makers that bring about change and drive it, at the ground. Our members are stewards of more than £10bn of charity assets, lead hundreds of thousands of staff and give hope to millions of people in our country and abroad, every day.
ACEVO members, along with the rest of the country, expressed differing views on the referendum. Many of our members told us they would vote to stay in the EU. Many informed us that they would vote to leave. For the latter, this will be a time of optimism. For all, however, there will be understandable trepidation about the effect of this decision on public services, on funding for the poor, on social protection legislation. These issues affect us all, but none are more affected than the millions of vulnerable people we serve every day.
It is crucial that the potential impact of our exit from the EU is mitigated by sober reflection and analysis, informed by the experience of those on the ground. We are ready to work with you to create that analysis, to share our expertise and experience with you, in the hope that we are able to assuage some of the fears and ensure that the most vulnerable do not suffer.
Under these circumstances, we believe that it is absolutely right that a Commission be set up, driven by charity and social enterprise leaders, that seeks to understand the potential impact of this decision on the most vulnerable and provide appropriate policy responses by way of mitigation.
I hope to discuss these matters with you at the earliest opportunity. And I would like once again to express our support for you and your successor in the task of bringing our nation together in the wake of these seismic events. Charity and social enterprise leaders are optimistic by nature and we still believe that by working together, we can strive to ensure our nation’s best days are ahead of us.
Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO)