Scotland considers charity legislation
Ministers are consulting on new legislation covering charities in Scotland that would strike off those which repeatedly fail to publish annual accounts of their spending and activities. The proposed new charity law could require organisations on the Scottish Charity Register to publish annual reports and accounts so as to improve public trust in the sector. Other proposals include establishing an external register of charity trustees. A survey by the Scottish Charity Regulator OSCR found that 88% of people would trust charities more if they could see evidence of their achievements and the proportion of donations that went to good causes.
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Charity is investigated for a second time
The regulator has launched a second statutory inquiry into The Mohiuddin Trust, a charity whose objectives include a Kashmir and Pakistan focused relief of poverty. The Charity Commission will weigh concerns over potential misconduct and mismanagement, including continuing problems with poor financial controls that were identified in an earlier probe. Separately, the regulator has opened its third investigation in five years into a church charity where a former bishop stole £186,000. Bethel United Church of Jesus Christ Apostolic has failed to file its accounts on time for five consecutive years and is currently over 90 days late. It was previously part of a class inquiry into so-called "double defaulter" charities.
Accountancy Daily Civil Society
Regulator appoints interim manager to Jole Rider Friends
The Charity Commission has appointed an interim manager to Jole Rider Friends after it suspended trustees amid continuing concerns about the charity’s governance. The regulator opened a statutory inquiry into the charity in September 2017 to address significant regulatory concerns including outstanding annual accounts and concerns about potentially unauthorised payments to trustees and inadequate stock control. The Commission has said: “Although the trustees have since submitted the outstanding accounts, the Commission continues to have serious regulatory concerns regarding the charity’s governance, in particular relating to management of conflicts of interest and risk to the charity’s property.”
Civil Society Third Sector Charity Update
eBay boosts donations to good causes
Online auction site eBay raised £22.5m during 2018 for good causes, including campaigns to help homeless people, young entrepreneurs, and disadvantaged children. The figure is up 13% on 2017. "The growth in the eBay for Charity program in the UK demonstrates the benefits for both charities seeking to reach new audiences and diversify their traditional charity shop model by tapping in to our trusted marketplace model and for shoppers seeking the gifts and experiences that will give back,” said Murray Lambell, Head of Trading for eBay UK.
Three charities to share £400,000 in digital inclusion funding
Three charity projects will share £400,000 in government funding to help boost the digital skills of the elderly, disabled people, and patients receiving end of life care. The government’s Digital Inclusion Fund is supporting the development of ‘smart homes’ for older people, an app to combat obesity, and video consultations in palliative care. Uttlesford Council for Voluntary Service, Down’s Syndrome Association, and Weldmar Hospicecare Trust are the respective beneficiaries. Margot James, Minister for Digital, said: “These innovative projects will not only help some of the hardest to reach people live healthier and happier lives but also boost our mission to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital businesses.”
Charities win few ‘suitable’ public sector contracts
Analysis for Social Enterprise UK indicates that charities are only winning one in ten of public sector contracts that have been deemed suitable for voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations (VCSEs). Charlie Wigglesworth, deputy chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, said more needed to be done by government to support VCSEs. “At a time when the public is concerned about the involvement of businesses in public service markets following the collapse of Carillion, the government has an opportunity to ease these concerns through working with social enterprises," he said.
Government confirms plans to teach CPR in schools
#UKCharityWeek founder Lee Rayment has welcomed the government's confirmation of plans to add CPR to the school curriculum in England. Education secretary Damian Hinds said he wanted every child to have “the knowledge and skills they need to keep themselves safe and help others,” and that under the government’s plans, all schools will have to teach such life-saving skills from 2020. Mr Rayment, who is an Ambassador of the British Heart Foundation’s Nation of Lifesavers campaign, said: “I am so pleased this is to become part of the national school curriculum, it’s a very smart move by the government.” British Heart Foundation CEO Simon Gillespie said: “Introducing CPR lessons into health education in all state-funded secondary schools is a significant step that promises to improve the odds of survival for countless people who have a cardiac arrest in the future.”
Charity launches Moray service to meet foster care demand
Children’s charity Aberlour is launching a recruitment drive from its Elgin base in order to keep pace with the demand for foster parents in Moray as part of a new dedicated service in the region beginning next year. The annual number of children requiring a foster carer has increased during the last three years, but the number of people registered with Moray Council to take them in has fallen.
The Press and Journal
RNIB offers braille names for social media followers
RNIB's social media team will generate names in braille for the charity's social media followers. The campaign coincides with World Braille Day. People will be given the opportunity to donate when the charity sends them their name in braille.
Tech Trust's first digital tech conference for charities
Tech Trust’s first charity tech conference takes place in London on February 13th. The Charity Digital Tech Conference will feature speakers from the charity, technology, and public sectors. Tech Trust CEO Jonathan Chevalier says: “Whether you are just starting your digital journey or interested in the more advanced interventions technology can enable, our conference programme with four streams is certain to excite.”
Few staff happy with pay and benefits at regulator
A civil service engagement survey suggests few Charity Commission employees are happy with their pay and benefits. The annual Civil Service People Survey 2018 found that just over a quarter (27%) of the 90% of Commission staff who completed the survey felt that their pay “adequately reflects” their performance. This share compared to a 31% median benchmark across the entire civil service. Nevertheless, workers reported a 65% positive response for overall 'employee engagement index,' putting the regulator in the top third of the civil service overall. Helen Stephenson, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said: “I am delighted to see such positive results about our staff engagement – this year they are at the highest level in ten years."