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Title: Charities and collaborative campaigning : law, regulation and practice
Author: Atkinson, Karen Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0001 3432 161X
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis considers the problems (legal and non-legal) which arise in 'political' campaigning activity by charities, and explores the benefits and problems of approaching campaigning through collaborative arrangements. In particular, it considers whether the benefits and problems of collaborative working tend to alleviate or exacerbate the existing difficulties of campaigning work. In light of the problems identified, it also explores potential directions for reform of law, policy and practice. The thesis has a socio-Iegal basis, combining doctrinal and literature-based analysis of relevant issues with analysis of original empirical data. As this thesis is the first legal analysis focused on collaboration in campaigning it is exploratory in nature. It adopts a qualitative, grounded theory approach intended to produce detailed but indicative (rather than general) results. The doctrinal and literature-based element of the thesis considers: charity law relating to political objects and activities; wider laws which affect campaigning (specifically broadcasting law and criminal laws relevant to public demonstrations and protests); the legal implications ofcollaboration; and the effect of the policy environment on the nonlegal proble~s of collaborative campaigning. The analysis reveals complexity and unpredictability in the law relevant to campaigning and identifies the potentially severe consequences of contravening both the law on campaigning and the law relevant to collaboration. It also criticises the explanation of legal issues in relevant Charity Commission guidance and notes the effect, genesis and implications of the prevailing focus on risk management in Commission guidance. . The empirical study, which involved detailed interviews with charity personnel, found general low levels of awareness of legal issues and an overriding concern with a variety of non-legal issues of campaigning. These issues all related either to protection of reputation, resource and funding issues or relationships with external parties, themes which were mirrored in the data relating to how collaboration can both alleviate and exacerbate the problems ofcampaigning. The thesis concludes that the tendency of study participants to ignore relevant legal issues in campaigning and collaboration is a serious concern, given its potentially severe consequences. However, it also contends that the practical issues which the participants tended to prioritize are actually und~rpinned by the law. This is because the law is responsible for a further phenomenon: the perception of a pervasive bias within society against campaigning a s a legitimate charitablefunction. It is contended that charity law relating to politics both initiated negative attitudes towards campaigning and continues to contribute to the perpetuation of such attitudes within government policy, funding bodies and the general public. Nevertheless, the thesis also concludes that at the time ofits submission, attitudes towards campaigning are becoming more positive. This shift has catalysed calls for reform which have, to an extent, been addressed by government policy. Whilst the thesis concludes that planned reforms will be insufficient to address all of the problems identified, it also notes that the complex relationship between societal attitudes, law and government policy may have a domino effect and catalyse further reforms in future.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available