Warning about deterioration in quality of accounts
The Charity Commission is highlighting a deterioration in the quality of charity accounts and says not enough is being done by the sector to explain to the public how money is raised and spent or to demonstrate public benefit. The regulator reviewed a random sample of 105 accounts for the year ending December 2016 and found that 70% met its “basic benchmark of user requirements” - a fall from 74% the previous year. The Commission wants a “step-change” in attitudes to reporting. Nigel Davies, head of accountancy services at the Commission, said: “The public want and deserve to know how charities spend their money, so this deterioration in the quality of accounts is of serious concern . . . I would urge those charities that find reporting difficult to take advantage of the pro-forma reports and accounts available on our website."
UKFundraising Civil Society
2019 New Year Honours
Wellcome Trust director Professor Jeremy Farrar has been knighted in this year's New Year Honours. Other sector professionals recognised in the 2019 List include David Bragg, founder of Send a Cow, who received an OBE for services to charity; Helen Pankhurst, senior adviser at Care International, who was awarded a CBE for services to gender equality, and Mark Waddington, chief executive of Hope and Homes for Children, who was awarded a CBE for services global child protection. Lucy Findlay, the founding managing director of Social Enterprise Mark CIC, received an MBE for services to social enterprise; Derek Harris, a mental health campaigner and member ofMind’s Retail Board, was awarded an OBE for his voluntary work; Sylvia Holder, founder of education charity The Venkatraman Memorial Trust, received a British Empire Medal for her charitable work.
Charitable Brits missing out on tax breaks
Harry Brennan in the Telegraph says that while the UK is giving more to charity than ever before, those making donations are not making full use of tax breaks. He notes that while the value of declared donations has increased every year since 2011/12 – hitting almost £3bn in 2016/17 - the number of people who declare their donations via self-assessment tax returns has stalled. Rachel de Souza of RSM says tax is often not the first thing people think of when they donate money, adding that there is widespread ignorance of the reliefs available.
The Daily Telegraph
Growing demand for mobile giving options
More than a quarter (28%) of consumers prefer giving to charity via their mobile phone, according to research from mobile payment app Pingit. A similar share (27%) said they would donate more if they could do so via their mobile device or payment card. "Whether they’re used to give contactlessly or to create a fundraising page, the little devices in our pockets could generate a huge uplift for charities across the UK,” said Pingit managing director Darren Foulds.
Slowing plastic bag sales hit charities
The amount Scottish retailers are passing on to the charity sector has fallen after sales of single use plastic bags dropped by £3.8m in 2018. According to a report from the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC), the total amount raised for charity by Scottish retailers fell to £14.7m in 2018 from £15.9m the previous year. Leigh Sparks, professor of retail studies at Stirling University said: “The introduction of the charge had a massive impact on plastic bags. It is not just a one-off impact, it’s changing the behaviour of consumers over time. I would expect it to reduce further in future."
Whistleblowing in the third sector
Employment law solicitor Jamie Meechan, a member of the charity and third sector group at MacRoberts, examines the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator’s (OSCR) latest report on whistleblowing. The charity regulator received seven whistleblowing disclosures in 2017-2018, four of which led to inquiries using its powers in terms of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005; while such reports help it to underpin public trust and confidence in the charity sector, Mr Meechan notes that care must be taken, due to legal liabilities and other possible claims that might arise. “Reputation can be everything in the charity and third sector and so properly managing any such disclosures is crucial”, he concludes.
Third Force News
Charity registration backlog hits PTAs
Delays in charity registrations have led to almost 100 Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) in Northern Ireland being unable to apply for certain funding. PTAs must register under the Charities Act (NI) 2008 and companies and councils often require a charity number to donate or match fundraising, but some PTAs have been waiting years to be complete the process. Education charity Parentkind said the backlog in registrations was having a detrimental effect on PTAs.
Charity looks to AI for online support service
Relationship charity Relate has said that it hopes to experiment with AI chatbots as part of its live online service to help meet demand. Aidan Jones from Relate said that the online service was proving popular with users due to its anonymity, with people more ready to explain their issues, and that “non-human interaction” could be the next step, with AI able to “learn as it interacts with clients.”
Charity boost for alcoholics’ children
A funding boost has been awarded to counsellors who read bedtime stories to children whose parents are too drunk to tuck them in at night and help more youngsters affected by alcoholism. Matt Hancock has announced that the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa) will be receive a share of £500,000 to help expand the charity's helpline, adding that "no child in this difficult position is left with nowhere to turn".
FTCT handouts soar in 2018
The Fashion and Textile Children’s Trust, a charity once chaired by Charles Dickens, has seen claims for emergency grants from struggling retail workers soar in 2018. The figures come after a year of store closures and job losses in the sector. A total of £198,184 was awarded to 547 shop workers’ children in 2018, compared with £112,395 given to 312 in 2017. The group’s director, Anna Pangbourne, said: “This suggests there are a growing number of parents who genuinely can’t afford to buy essentials.”
Siblings of ill children being ignored by government
A report from Rainbow Trust children’s charity warns that siblings of seriously ill children risk a long-term negative impact on their mental health and education unless there is more funding to support them. Sophie Dodgeon, policy and campaigns manager at the charity, and author of See us, Hear us, Notice us: The case for supporting siblings of seriously ill children, says: “Siblings of seriously ill children tell us that feelings of anxiety, isolation, jealousy and guilt are common. Some families believe their child would have needed professional mental health support without our help."
Vulnerable teens learn about money
A new initiative in London has begun with the aim of teaching vulnerable teenagers’ financial skills. The Money House project, which is run by financial education charityMyBnk and the Money Advice Service, aims to build financial literacy among 16 to 25-year-olds, teaching them the financial basics of budgeting, finance and debt. Course leader Nick Smith-Patel says many at-risk teenagers struggle in large classes at school and are not getting the help they need. “Our maximum group is 10 with a teacher and assistant. We don't talk to them like children, because they aren't children,” he says.
Charity aims to protect libraries
The charity Libraries Connected is heading a wide-ranging review designed to safeguard the future of public libraries by exploring a range of different options for how they could be funded and managed. The initial study is being backed by the Carnegie UK Trust and Cilip, the UK's library and information association. Libraries in England have had their funding slashed for a fifth year in a row, with the overall amount spent on buildings dropping by almost £300m since 2010 to £720m. The total remaining is now 3,745, down from 4,482 in 2010. Volunteers have also kept open over 550 others.
Edinburgh site to pioneer disability co-housing
Tiphereth , an independent charity that supports adults with learning disabilities and complex needs, is set to present City of Edinburgh Council with proposals to build Scotland’s first co-housing community for people with disabilities. If approved, the cohousing terrace would see those living in the homes work to help other residents as volunteers as part of their tenancy agreement. Around 4,500 of the council’s 20,000 new affordable homes that are set to be built will be integrated with health and social care services to be used by older people and those with “complex physical and health needs.”
Edinburgh Evening News
President’s tax bill could mean billions less for charities
Non-profit groups are set learn how much of a dent President Donald Trump's 2017 tax bill will put in their donations. Studies predict charities nationally will lose out on $13bn to $20bn, between 3% and 5%. Estimates by Giving USA show charitable giving in the US totalled about $410bn in 2017. After the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act increased the standard deduction that people may take on their federal tax returns and limited to $10,000 the amount of state income, sales and property taxes that could be deducted, the Tax Policy Center predicts around 16m returns will itemise deductions for charitable gifts, compared with 37m in 2016.
Housebuilder boss yet to start bonus charity
The Guardian reports that Jeff Fairburn, former chief executive of housebuilder Persimmon, has yet to set up a charity despite pledging to do so ten months ago as he sought to calm debate over his £75m bonus. Mr Fairburn, who left Persimmon last month as the firm said talk of the payout had become a “distraction”, said he would donate a "substantial proportion" of his bonus to a charity. A Charity Commissionspokeswoman said there is no record of a registered charity bearing Mr Fairburn's name, adding: “It is not possible to confirm whether or not funds have been donated via another charity."