Tue Jan 05 2021
Brexit deal agrees to form a Civil Society Forum
The ongoing future of the voluntary sector has been outlined in two articles within the agreement titled ‘Institutional Frameworks’.
Article six says: “The parties shall consult civil society on the implementation of this agreement and any supplementing agreement, in particular through interaction with the domestic advisory groups and the civil society.”
Whilst Article eight contains numerous recommendations that include the creation of a Civil Society Forum to discuss the implementation of part two of said agreement.
It states the Civil Society Forum should meet at least once a year with civil society organisations from the UK and the EU, domestic advisory groups such as non-governmental organisations, business and employers' organisations, as well as trade unions.
It’s really important that the agreement’s institutional framework doesn’t shut out civil society from discussions that take place between the EU and UK ministers and officials. As the UK government will lose its right to take part in EU policy formulation, paradoxically it may well be the case that UK organisations will spend just as much time – if not more – working with European partners to try to influence the EU than they did before Brexit.
Chris Walker, public affairs manager at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations added:
While civil society had the expertise to inform the implementation, the extent of its involvement remained to be seen. We have always argued that the UK should maintain rights and standards fought for by civil society. Protections have been written into the deal, but only in the context of trade and investment, so UK civil society will have to remain vigilant.
Tue Jan 05 2021