Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector

The Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector was established by the Baring Foundation in June 2011 to ensure that independence was seen as a top priority by the voluntary sector and those with whom it worked and made recommendations to ensure that it is not lost.  The Panel’s  fourth and final report,  An Independent Mission: the Voluntary Sector in 2015was published on 11th February 2015.   It called for strong, inclusive leadership by the voluntary sector to protect its independent mission and for the Government to establish a ‘new settlement’ with the sector.

Its recommendations led to the formation in 2017 of the two year Inquiry into the future of civil society chaired by Julia Unwin, a former Panel member.

Independence Panel Members

The Panel was made up of authoritative individuals who bring a mix of senior experience, knowledge.  They were acting in an individual capacity and were:


Sir Roger Singleton, appointed July 2012. Sir Roger was chief executive of Barnado’s for 21 years, and was awarded a knighthood in 2005 for services to children. He is currently Chair of the Independent Safeguarding Authority. He is a trained mediator, and also a former chair of the National Council of Voluntary Child Care Organisations.

Other Members

Nicholas Deakin CBE, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at Birmingham University and Chair of the Commission on the Future of the Voluntary Sector which reported in 1996

Andrew Hind CB, Editor of Charity Finance and Trustee of the Baring Foundation, formerly Chief Executive of the Charity Commission.

Sir Bert Massie CBE, formerly Commissioner on the Compact and of the Disability Rights Commission.

Julia Unwin CBE, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and an expert on voluntary sector independence.

Louise Whitfield, Partner at Deighton Pierce Glynn and an expert in public law and judicial review.

Nick Wilkie,  now at Save the Children  and formerly the chief executive of London Youth, a network of 400 community organisations working with young people across the capital. Previously he helped set up The Young Foundation and was Head of Sustainable Funding at NCVO.

Lord Hodgson served on the Panel until November 2010 when he was asked by the Government to undertake a separate review of the Charities Act 2006.  Dame Anne Owers served on the Panel until October 2013, when she stepped down to enable her to devote more time to the IPCC.


 Caroline Slocock from Civil Exchange was Secretary to the Panel and the author of its four reports.