Quakers have a strong commitment to equality. This leads us to reject some conventional forms of hierarchy (such as the use of titles), to share power widely within our own church structures and to be willing to speak the truth to powerful bodies and individuals.
In wider society, the way that power is concentrated, shared and used is changing as a result of globalisation, new technology, new channels of communication, extreme inequality and other factors. These changes bring increased risks of unaccountable power, but also new opportunities for interconnected, engaged and flourishing democracy.
We want to support people to create a world in which power is more equally shared, and in which powerful institutions are responsive and accountable to wider society and aligned with the long-term public interest.
1. Strengthening corporate accountability
Large corporations have significant power, and checks and balances are inadequately developed, particularly for trans-national corporations. We are interested in funding work which:
- develops and promotes mechanisms which increase the accountability and responsiveness of companies to shareholders, stakeholders, regulators and the long-term public interest, for example through improvements to corporate governance, corporate structures (including alternative corporate forms), company reporting or regulation
- develops and promotes mechanisms whereby those who suffer severely as a result of company actions, particularly marginalised groups, can gain access to justice.
2. Strengthening democratic accountability
In a healthy democracy, government should be representative of the wider public and in touch with a wide range of groups, but not disproportionately influenced by any single interest. We are interested in funding work which:
- develops and promotes mechanisms which ensure an accountable, transparent and proportionate relationship between the private sector and government
- develops and promotes mechanisms which enable civil society and the general public, including marginalised groups, to engage appropriately and effectively with government policy making
- encourages government, parliament and other statutory agencies to be more representative of the wider public they serve.
3. Encouraging responsible media
The media is an important part of a healthy democracy, but media can itself be powerful and unaccountable. We are interested in funding work which:
- encourages accurate and responsible media, with appropriate safeguards
- explores and promotes ways for all forms of media to play a constructive role in holding government, companies and other powerful actors to account.
In addition to the specific focus areas above, JRCT is open to occasionally supporting other work which meets all of the following criteria:
- furthers the vision of this programme
- is highly innovative, with the potential to bring about systemic change
- is exceptionally difficult to fund from other sources.
Under this programme, JRCT will consider applications for national work in the UK, or elsewhere in the EU for work at a pan-European level. We will also consider applications aimed at increasing the accountability of the UK government and other UK bodies for the impact of the policies and practices that they pursue within global institutions.
In addition to the Trust’s general exclusions, we will not fund work under this programme which:
- is about democratic participation or user advocacy in relation to service provision, e.g. education and health
- focuses on international development issues
- is limited to corporate accountability in relation to a particular business sector, e.g. tourism or supermarkets
- is general campaigning that is not concerned with the themes given above
- supports individual journalists or news organisations to undertake investigations or create content.
The next deadline for applications to the Power and Accountability programme is Monday 10 April 2017. Please note that we have split deadlines for our programmes - for further information see When to apply.