New alert service for charitable bequests
HM Courts and Tribunals Service is to change its system for alerting charities when money has been left to them in someone’s will. An open letter has been sent by chief executive Susan Acland-Hood to all affected charities to announce the change. The service concludes the arrangement with Smee & Ford, which has provided a paid-for notification service to participating charities for a number of years. Representatives of ACEVO , NCVO , the Institute of Fundraising , Remember A Charity , and the Institute of Legacy Management are being invited to join a working group to consider the shape of a replacement service. Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity, said: “It’s reassuring to see that Government recognises how important this service is for the charity sector, that new arrangements will be drawn up and that the charity sector will have a key part in that. But next steps here will be critical."
Civil Society UKFundraising
‘No formal assessment’ of Local Charities Day
Civil Society reports that a Freedom of Information request reveals that the government has spent no money on Local Charities Day in the last two years and has carried out no “formal assessment” of the initiative. A total of £4,676 was spent in 2016, the event's first year - but since then, there has been no investment. The Office for Civil Society, part of the Department for Culture Media and Sport, which is responsible for the initiative, has also not carried out any formal assessment of how effective the campaign has been. Local Charities Day is designed to raise awareness of issues faced by local charities.
Regulator freezes bank account at health charity
The Charity Commission has launched a statutory inquiry into a health charity and restricted its bank and fundraising platform transactions amid concerns about potential financial irregularities. London-based J.E.L.A Foundation was set up to help people in Haiti and those of Haitian descent living in the UK. The regulator identified a number of irregularities in the charity's accounts which raised serious concerns, including a discrepancy in excess of £200,000 between what was declared in the charity’s annual returns for the last five years, and the bank transactions carried out over the same period. Separately, the Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into The Bersam Trust "to look into concerns over potential misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of the charity." The Salford based charity aims to provide children with a strictly orthodox Jewish religious e ducation and advance orthodox Jewish practice.
Civil Society Manchester Evening News GOV.UK
Free online evaluation tool for smaller charities
A free online evaluation tool has been created to offer small and medium sized charities a simple and free way of measuring social impact. The I mpactasaurus - which doesn't require user training - can contribute to the creation of impact reports covering the entire organisation or specific areas of work, such as a single project, location or type of intervention. Dan Reynolds, founder of Impactasaurus, said: "Thanks to the 100+ charities which trialed Impactasaurus, with their feedback, we have been able to build a tool which solves the problems smaller charities face.”
Charity Digital News
A new free resource hub for charities
The free to access Charity Excellence Framework , a digital toolkit aimed at improving charity performance, has launched a resource hub that is available to anyone in the third sector. Among its offerings, the hub identifies funding opportunities including donations platforms, as well as free goods and services for the sector, such as consulting, mentoring as well as IT and data analytics. A charity tax reliefs section is also included.
Charity Digital News
Warning about unnecessary staff checks
Rowenna Fielding, senior data protection lead at consultancy Protecture, has written for Charity Finance magazine about the risks around unnecessarily excessive screening checks on prospective employees. She warns about legal risks around accepting off-the-record additional information in references from previous employers and urges charities to be diligent when outsourcing the pre-employment vetting process.
£1m government fund for tech training
Digital secretary Jeremy Wright has named the beneficiaries from the third sector which will received money from the £1m Digital Leadership Fund. Among those to receive funds are Guide Dogs for the Blind Association , Tech Trust , Age UK , and Cornwall Museums Partnership . The money is to be used to improve tech training in the sector.
Charity Digital News
Stuart Etherington to step down as NCVO chief
Stuart Etherington is stepping down as chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations after 25 years in the role. NCVO’s membership grew from 400 to over 14,000 during his tenure. Peter Kellner, chair of NCVO, commenting on the qualities that NCVO will be wanting in Sir Stuart's replacement, said: “The interview panel will . . . be looking for someone with an unimpeachable track record of standing up for integrity and transparency, and a clear commitment to valuing and nurturing difference and diversity.”
UKFundraising Civil Society
GOSH hires new CEO
Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity has hired Louise Parkes as its new chief executive. She replaces Tim Johnson, who has held the role since 2008 and is now joining fundraising consultancy More Partnership.
Crack down on social media exploitation of children
The NSPCC is demanding that the government introduce a robust new law for social networks as soon as possible, with the latest data from the Office for National Statistics showing that 9,543 crimes relating to child sex offenders exploiting the web and social media were recorded in the last year. The charity's #WildWestWeb campaign urges the establishment of an independent regulator with the power to investigate and fine social networks, with Des Mannion, head of NSPCC Cymru/Wales , noting: “Sites must be required to create safe accounts for children and take proactive steps to detect grooming so this behaviour can be disrupted before it escalates.”
South Wales Argus Daily Mail
Foster care faces ‘looming crisis’
The State of the Nation’s Foster Care report prepared by charity The Fostering Network, and seen by the Observer, warns of a “looming crisis” in foster care due to a lack of government funding and support. The charity found that almost half of carers would not recommend fostering to others, with nearly two-thirds feeling the allowances and expenses they can claim do not cover the full costs of looking after children, and just four in 10 feeling properly supported by their local authority. The charity’s chief executive, Ken Williams, said: “We are facing a continued increase in the numbers of children coming into care at a time when financial pressures and reduced budgets mean that local authorities are increasingly cash-strapped … That can only lead to a request for more services with less money.”
Pressure mounts to repeal Vagrancy Act
A number of charities and politicians have called for the Vagrancy Act, which criminalises homeless people for sleeping and begging on the street, to be repealed. Layla Moran, a Liberal Democrat MP, says the law is “a cruel and outdated piece of legislation”, while Labour in December adopted its abolition as policy. Matt Downie, director of policy and external affairs at the charity Crisis, says the act is "not fit for purpose" as it represents "social attitudes 200 years out of date.” Jake Berry, a minister at the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “The Government do not believe that anyone should be criminalised for simply sleeping rough, but equally we should not rush to a wholesale repeal of the 1824 Act.
Deaf customers left isolated as branches close
According to the charity Action on Hearing Loss, people with reduced hearing are struggling to access their bank accounts as more branches close. Impaired hearing is a problem that disproportionately affects older customers, who often lack confidence with online banking as well. Deaf Direct, another charitable group, has called on banks to give staff more training on how to help customers with hearing loss.
The Sunday Telegraph
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