At first glance, the importance placed by all of the main parties on supporting apprenticeships, vocational training, careers advice and widening participation build on the commitments in the 2010 manifestos and are to be welcomed. We must though learn the lessons of the last five years, where the actual record is more mixed.
The reaction from the Charity Commission on these cases was in my eyes exemplary. Not only did it act swiftly to remove a charity that should have never been on their register in the first place but it also was quick to reassure the public on social media and elsewhere that the programme did 'not reflect the vast majority of charities that are properly run by honest trustees'.
The charity and wider voluntary and community sector faces many challenges, most of which originate externally. However, I do fear that an unfortunate proportion (hopefully not too large a proportion)of these challenges are self-generated, and of these, it seems to me that far too many stem from within these organisations' executive and trustee leadership teams.
For two decades money raised by National Lottery players has been re-invested in local communities and national projects to the tune of an eye-watering £32billion. Anyone who has ever bought a National Lottery ticket has helped to combat homelessness, tackle the stigma of mental health illness, inspired filmmakers, kept museums open and parks appealing.