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Voluntary sector organisations are – rightly – highly valued for their connection and commitment to the people and communities they serve.  This allows them to meet real and sometimes previously hidden needs, to speak up without fear or favour and to deliver services in original and effective ways.  This independence – of purpose, voice and action – is what makes the voluntary sector special and enables it to serve the interests of those who might otherwise be left without support or a voice because they lack power or influence.

The Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector has been established by the Baring Foundation because of continued concerns about that independence.  Over a four year period, the Panel aims to shed light on how far there is a problem and what can be done about it.

Each year, the Panel has been producing an annual assessment.  Its third report, Independence Undervalued: the Voluntary Sector in 2014,  published on 21st January, concludes that independence is undervalued and under serious threat, with a deterioriation in some key areas compared to the previous year.  For more information, visit our publications and news pages.

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Find out more about the Panel here.