Getting more from social justice advocacy work not only requires changes within the sector it also requires changes by policy-makers and influencers. The changes identified as required include:

  • A recognition that there are significant differences in sympathy levels for the different groups on whose behalf the sector advocates, which makes it easier for some groups to advocate and fundraise.
  • Value and recognise the potential of community and voluntary sector advocacy work to bring specialised knowledge and expertise to the policy making and implementing processes as they are close to the ground and enjoy a level of trust by groups marginalised from decision making.
  • Work to build trust and relationships with representatives from the community and voluntary sector to broaden their understanding of the advocacy role of the sector as not only a provider of information and research but also as:
    • A challenger of current orthodoxies
    • A source of solutions
    • A mechanism for mobilising support for change within and outside the political system, including the media
    • A mechanism for empowering and developing the capacity of marginalised individuals and groups so that they can do their own advocacy
  • Recognise and take action to tackle the financial vulnerability of the sector through multi-annual funding initiatives and removing the ‘services only’ and no advocacy clauses in contracts and agreements.
  • Creating new spaces where policy makers and representatives from the community and voluntary sector can meet and engage in policy making processes in a post-partnership era.
  • Both policy makers and community and voluntary sector leaders encouraging and actively support development of community and voluntary sector coalitions and once formed actively engage and prioritise engagement with these coalitions.
  • Be open to doing things differently, adopting more innovative approaches to policy implementation and development.
  • Take time to identify the community and voluntary organisation best qualified/most knowledgeable/most grounded in relation to the issue being addressed and engage with that group.
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