Advocacy – Introduction and CSAN priorities

Last updated January 2022

Our advocacy mandate

CSAN is the official national Catholic agency addressing poverty and injustice in England and Wales.

Our broad remit covers a vast range of social, cultural, economic, environmental and moral matters for individuals, families, communities, enterprise and charities. The core experience of charities in our network aligns with 11 broad topics – see the content filters on our advocacy index page – with links also into the Catholic Church’s evolving tradition on integral human ecology, migration and environmental stewardship. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to 2030, to which the UK Government has committed, offer a framework for CSAN’s long-term advocacy at home, aligned with the Church’s and some of our specialist charities’ engagement at continental and international levels.

Our approach

CSAN’s approach to advocacy is proactive within our resources. We bring together Catholic social teaching, thought and practice in England and Wales, in new ways, on matters that require national and regional attention. We expand Catholic social thought in areas that are critical in our national context but have yet to be explored in the global Church’s formal documents. A key professional capability of CSAN is in connecting, with depth and integrity, perspectives from leaders among lay-led organisations, religious orders and congregations, the academy and bishops. This enables us to generate a richer vision and practices for the common good of our society, and participate in a dynamic Catholic discourse internationally, including with dicasteries of the Holy See.

In the main, our effort is directed towards developing and sourcing sound evidence and materials, to inform and promote widespread dialogue at local and national levels. This respects Catholic belief that every person is called to participate in public life as their circumstances allow, and the reality that many complex social concerns admit of potentially valid (political) solutions that are beyond the Catholic Church’s role and competence. We also participate directly in national advocacy within our resources, especially with other churches and allied organisations. CSAN is a corporate member of various national groups and coalitions. In addition, highly specialist advocacy is undertaken independently by experts within the Network’s membership.

We do not double up on the advocacy of our sister agencies: by CAFOD on the UK Government’s international aid commitments, and by the Catholic Education Service, which has a formal partnership with the Department for Education in relation to Catholic schools and colleges.

CSAN’s national advocacy priorities

These are our priorities for proactive work:

2016-30: Housing, land and participation in planning, aligned to the Church’s global engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

2018-23: Positive ageing and the future of care across the life course.

2020-23: Communicating the impact of Catholic social action, including two national survey rounds on Catholic parish-based social action and formation. These will be repeated subject to new funding.

2023-27 (provisional): On the future of work.

We engage also with relevant business in the current parliamentary session, inquiries and All Party Parliamentary Groups.

For more information, please email in the first instance.


Picture: Ford Madox Brown, Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet, 1852-6