Charities welcome new civil society minister Tracey Crouch

Jun 23, 2017

Tracey Crouch is new minister for both sport and civil society. Here’s what the not-for-profit sector would like her to do.

Charities and social enterprises finally have a new minister, after former civil society minister Rob Wilson lost his Reading East constituency, but have expressed concern that there is no minister solely for civil society.

Tracey Crouch, the Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford since 2010, has been appointed the new minister for civil society, after some confusion. Initially, the sector believed John Glen had been made civil society minister, but on 15 June, Crouch was officially confirmed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as having added responsibility for civil society to her existing role as sports minister, to which she was appointed in 2015. Glen, MP for Salisbury, has taken over heritage and tourism from Crouch, and is now undersecretary of state for the arts, heritage and tourism.

Before Crouch’s appointment was formally announced by the DCMS, it was made known through social media, when the MP changed her Twitter biography to read “sports and civil society minister”.

ACEVO chief executive Vicky Browning said in a statement that a sector employing one million people “should not have to wait on Twitter” for confirmation of a minister, but added that Crouch’s time as minister for sport, heritage and tourism, dealing with issues such as lottery funding and “problematically white, male boards”, would stand her in good stead for her new job.

Crouch, a qualified football coach, is involved with a number of charities. She is president of RSPCA Medway West, patron of the Medway branch of the National Osteoporosis Society, vice president of the Kent branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England and an honorary member of the Friends of Mental Health, West Kent and Medway. In a statement, Crouch said she “couldn’t be happier” with her new brief and said she was looking forward to being an advocate for the positive impact of charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises.

The appointment was widely welcomed across the not-for-profit sector, but leaders in the voluntary sector have expressed concern about the merger of the civil society portfolio with sport. Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, said he had talked to Crouch and was pleased that she is keen to understand her civil society brief. But he said he remained cautious about the size of that brief. “We hope that the civil society portfolio will receive its rightful level of attention and profile, given its economic and social importance,” he said in a statement.

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