How we work
The Public Affairs and Social Policy Unit (PASPU) exists so that people who struggle to be heard are listened to by people who have the power to make a positive difference.
Our task is to harness the experience and expertise of our frontline service users and personnel in order to influence decision makers of all political persuasions.
The Salvation Army believes that a fairer society, which upholds and supports all marginalised people, actually benefits us all. We assert that our society will not work for anyone if it does not work for everyone.
Given that we are positioned in well over 700 communities – including many of the most challenging neighbourhoods – we are uniquely placed to equip and encourage ordinary people to speak up for themselves. If this is not possible, we work with them so that we can speak with authority on their behalf. We also partner with other churches, faiths and organisations so that we can tackle the issues of the day more effectively.
As part of The Salvation Army, our work is motivated by our faith and we are driven to put our faith into action. The Bible repeatedly compels Christians to lift the burden on people who are oppressed, and this requires involvement in politics. Nonetheless, our help is offered without discrimination and benefits people of all faiths and none.
‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ Luke 4:18-19, NIVUK
At present PASPU’s resources are prioritised on the issues of homelessness, modern slavery, social security including universal credit, and employment. In tackling these issues, we are building a society that is increasingly just.
How we work
The Salvation Army seeks to tackle the causes of injustice and poverty and not just address the symptoms. This means building bridges with policy makers so that they act on behalf of the most marginalised people in our society. We aim to make sure that social policy – especially welfare, benefits and labour - remains a political priority for local government, devolved government and national government.
Our work entails:
- Visits: We invite policy makers – including politicians and officials - to visit local expressions of The Salvation Army so that they can meet our service users, volunteers and staff. We want policy makers to gain first-hand experience of life and work on our frontline.
- Meetings: Not a week goes by without meetings in Parliament with members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. We also liaise with politicians working in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Stourmont and locally.
- Parliamentary friends: Our team is developing a cross-party network of MPs who have agreed to be Parliamentary Friends of The Salvation Army. We aim to offer them regular briefings, reports and visits so that they are poised to act as issues arise.
- Party conferences: We attend the main party conferences in collaboration with ecumenical partners and engage with policy makers through meetings, fringe events and our support of the main party Christian fellowships. We aim to raise awareness and build our network.
Ensuring that policy makers end modern slavery and protect its victims
Homelessness is increasing, we are working to protect the most vulnerable
How we are working with decision makers to change our society
Working with decision makers to ensure the views of vulnerable people are heard