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Changes needed to boost sector’s productivity & unlock full potential, Commission finds

Melanie May | 7 February 2023 | News

Cover detail from report: Productivity of purpose: Bringing charities into the UK’s productivity drive

Unlocking the sector’s full potential requires a productivity boost, which in turn requires improvements to charity financing, better evidence and data, and improved support infrastructure, research has found.

The research, for the Law Family Commission on Civil Society, and carried out by Pro Bono Economics, identified a raft of changes and initiatives as necessary to drive up the sector’s productivity. In response, the Commission has made three key recommendations.

The proposals, developed with experts and charities, focus on achieving improvements in the key areas identified as affecting productivity – innovation, technical adoption, management practices and improving the skills, wellbeing and diversity of the sector’s workforce.


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Analysis for the new report, Productivity of purpose: Bringing charities into the UK’s productivity drive, found that while the sector is “highly innovative and creative”, it has “significant gains to make when it comes to technology”. The report points to “persistent skills gaps, leadership issues and under-investment” as obstacles to progress.

Among the findings, the report found that:

The three central recommendations

It says the charity sector’s financial system requires fixing, requiring:

The report also says better generation, diffusion, and use of evidence and data is needed in the charity sector, requiring:

Opening up support, revitalising local infrastructure and boosting volunteering is needed to improve productivity in the sector, requiring:

Commenting, Jack Larkham, Research and Policy Analyst at Pro Bono Economics, said:

“Charities are at the forefront of tackling the cost of living crisis, vital to delivering public services and fundamental to driving forward social change. But despite the crucial role they play in society and the economy, their ability to achieve these important social benefits is currently being diminished.


“Implementing changes to the way that they are funded, improving the generation and spread of good evidence and data, and rebuilding the sector’s support infrastructure are crucial to providing the resources, ideas and skills that will help the sector to maximise its full potential.”