Charities face £10m a year hit from probate fee rethink
Charities warn that a rise in probate fees will cost them at least £10m a year as the increased charges take up larger parts of estates and thus mean smaller donations. Matthew Lagden, of the Institute of Legacy Management, said the losses come at a time when many charities are struggling to meet growing demand for their services.Ministers took the decision to increase probate fees by 3,771% despite the protests of more than 800 charities, trade bodies and businesses. Last week the Ministry of Justice announced that probate fees would rise from a set fee of £215 - £155 if a solicitor is employed - to more than £6,000 for the largest estates. Of the 831 organisations that responded to a consultation on the fee changes, 810 disagreed with the proposals, typically branding them “excessive” and “unjustified.” Charitable bequests currently generate almost £3bn a year for the UK’s charity sector. Mr Lagden said he was “deeply concerned” by the reforms, stating that “The new fees would significantly reduce income for charities reliant on legacy gifts.”
Over 2,000 charities are supporting Giving Tuesday
More than Over 2,000 charities, including Barnardo’s, Marie Curie, Cancer Research UK, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and the RSPCA, have signed up to be Giving Tuesday partners for this year’s event, which takes place on November 27th. Ben Russell, Director of Communications at the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “This is a milestone for Giving Tuesday in the UK; five years in and the campaign just gets bigger and better every year, helping more and more people to give to the causes that they cherish."
£20 donation limit for new text giving platform
Mobile fundraising firm donr has launched Text Giving, a new text giving platform with a maximum donation limit of £20 that offers charities a choice of any keyword when donating, and no set-up or monthly fee. "Most text giving platforms are either prohibitively expensive or don’t have the features that charities have come to expect . . . We wanted to ensure that small to medium charities were also able to easily access the latest evolution of text giving,” said donr CEO Chris Newell.
Free online guide to help Gift Aid claims
A free online guide to help charities complete their Gift Aid donations schedule has been launched by HM Revenue and Customs. The guide include information about how to reclaim tax on eligible donations, use of correct software, completion of the schedule, and filling in the form.
Top charity chief executives on social media
The top charity leaders on social media were named at last week's Social CEO awards in London. Kate Collins, chief executive of Teenage Cancer Trust, came out on top. She was named as the overall winner of the Best CEO on Social Media award, while Helen Stokes-Lampard, CEO of Royal College of General Practitioners, was awarded both Best Trustee on Social Media and Best Digital Trustee. Best Leader on Social Media was Caroline Price of BEAT; Best Rising Star on Social Media was Nikki Bell of BHF; Julie Dodd of Parkinson’s UK was named Best Digital Leader; and Best Digital Champion was Liz Green of YouthLink Scotland.
Charity Times Civil Society
Charities urged to improve property knowledge
A new report suggests a third of charities are experiencing difficulty accessing core funding for their property, with a growing number claiming that property issues are a barrier to the delivery of charitable objectives. Over 23% of respondents to the report published by the Ethical Property Foundation said they spend more than a fifth of their annual expenditure on property costs and over 15% said they spend a quarter of their income on property. The report urges charities to improve their own knowledge of the properties they manage, noting: “There is widespread weakness in charities’ own capacity to manage property effectively. This starts at the top with a lack of knowledge among trustees and a misunderstanding of their responsibilities . . . The message for trustees is to institute regular property reports and risk assessments, assigning a key person with property responsibilities, whether paid or voluntary.”
RSA chief urges charities to collaborate
Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, has told theAssociation of Charitable Foundations' annual conference that charities must be more willing to collaborate in radical and creative ways. He said organisational legacies and boundaries, including grantmaking foundations' wishes to protect their image and history, are hindering the pursuit of substantive societal change. "You have to work incredibly hard to genuinely be willing to challenge the way in which your organisation works; its traditions, governance . . . and focus completely on whatever it is that is most likely to bring about change, Mr Taylor said, citing the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) as a “unique” model for collaborating to effect change. The DEC is "a collection of charities which, in extremis, put aside their individual interests and come together to create genuine momentum and help the public t ry and m ake a difference," he said.
Third Sector Civil Society
Guide Dogs to rebrand
Guide Dogs has announced it is to rebrand and launch a new website in 2019 as it seeks to more than double the number of individuals it helps. Ray Brooks, chief information officer at the sight loss charity, noted unprompted awareness amongst the public is low. “If you say ‘can you name ten charities?’ only 2% name Guide Dogs,” he said. Guide Dogs is also to move towards a single database for everyone who comes into contact with the charity. People who have multiple roles can end up on “five different databases,” said Brooks.
Care charity cuts sleeping workers' wages
Social care charity Alternative Futures Group (AFG) plans to cut staff wages to below the National Minimum Wage for those on "sleep-in" shifts. The charity's proposal comes after the government published updated guidance on such shifts following a court decision earlier this year that said workers on sleep-in shifts were not always entitled to the full minimum wage. However Mencap, which was involved in the case, itself has said its court action was chiefly to prevent a backdated liability. Mencap chief executive Jan Tregelles said the government should legislate to ensure sleep-ins were paid at the minimum wage and said the charity remained committed to paying staff the full minimum wage for time spent asleep.
Barnardo’s loses legal battle to shift pensions indexation
Children's charity Barnardo's has lost its legal push to save cash by switching the basis of annual increases for its pension scheme members from the Retail Prices Index (RPI) to the Consumer Prices Index, a typically lower measure. The charity’s trustees had argued they were able to switch from the RPI to “any replacement adopted by the trustees without prejudicing approval” as set out in their pension rules - but the charity’s appeal was dismissed in court. The judges said the correct interpretation of pension rules was that a different inflation calculation should only be used if the RPI itself is replaced.
Charity shop numbers down by more than 100 in first half of 2018
Figures compiled by the data directory business the Local Data Company for its Retail and Leisure Trends Report show that the number of charity shops in Great Britain fell by 119 in the first six months of 2018. Yorkshire and Humber was the only British region that saw more charity shops open than close. In Scotland, 35 charity shops closed in the first half of 2018 - more than any other region of the UK.
Third Sector Third Force News
Epilepsy campaign for schools
Olivia Salvati is fronting a campaign by the Young Epilepsy charity to help educators recognise the signs of absence seizures. Ms Salvati claims that her seizures were often perceived as a lack of concentration in class. The charity states that the average school will have at least one epileptic student and that as signs can sometimes go unnoticed for long periods, teachers must be made aware of what to look out for.
Spice Girls release charity clothing range
The Spice Girls pop band has partnered with Comic Relief to create a clothing range, each item emblazoned with the hashtag #IwannabeaSpiceGirl. All of the proceeds will go towards Comic Relief's Gender Justice, which champions equality for women.