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Charity Times - 12/02/2019

Posted by Claire Stradling

GOVERNANCE

Reform of accounting rules urged

Charity representative bodies are urging reforms to the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) in their responses to a consultation on how to reform the process. NCVO said it could “see good arguments” that the SORP committee’s membership “would benefit from a wider range of stakeholders” and the Directory of Social Change (DSC) also said the committee should incorporate “diverse stakeholders beyond the accounting profession.” The Association for Charitable Foundations observed: “We recommend a better balance on the advisory board between those who prepare accounts and those who read them, in particular there should be greater representation of charitable foundations.” But the Charity Finance Group has said it believed planned reform could create an administrative burden for charities, and noted that an extension of the remit o f SORP t o cover a much wider range of metrics and measurements "would distort its primary purpose" and “increase costs in meeting these additional requirements."

Civil Society

Opinion: care needed in charity law revisions
Writing in The Scotsman, Dentons partner Alexis Graham argues that the sweeping changes to charity law currently being consulted on by the Scottish Government need to take into account their potential effect on trustees. The plan to put further emphasis on increasing transparency, accountability and trust is in response to recent scandals both in the UK and overseas. But this also means more paperwork for charities and unwelcome exposure for some trustees. Under the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator’s proposals, it will get explicit power to publish annual reports and accounts of all charities in full – not just those with an income of at least £25,000, as is currently the case. The plans will also include a new register of trustees, available in a reduced version for public use. However, concerns have been raised about the disclosure of trustees’ names, which potentially discourages people from entering and supporting the sector at a time when many charities in need of good board level representation.

The Scotsman

Charity placed ‘undue pressure on donors’

A probe into the International Liberty Association has concluded that it placed “undue pressure” on donors to give as much as £11,000. The Fundraising Regulator said the charity was identified “because of the seriousness of the concerns." From April, the regulator will routinely name charities once it has finished its investigations. Fundraising Regulator CEO Gerald Oppenheim said: “The fundraising practices of ILA clearly contravene the Code of Fundraising Practice and represents a risk to donors as well as the organisation itself. We were particularly concerned about the methods used by fundraisers and lack of oversight from trustees." ILA aims to promote respect for human rights in the Middle East.

Civil Society

Housing charity gets official warning

An official warning has been handed down by the regulator to a trustee of a Birmingham-based social housing charity due to a breach of trust and legal duties. Expectations (UK) has been subject to a regulatory compliance case since August 2017 due to concerns about its governance and the viability of the charity. The Charity Commission said the warning comes after trustee Marc Blanchette failed to cooperate with it and didn’t comply with two formal ‘Action Plans’ previously issued. Tracy Howarth, Head of Regulatory Compliance at the Charity Commission said: “The warning should serve as a reminder to all charity trustees that their work is of high importance, and that they will be held to account for compliance with their legal duties and regulatory advice.”

24 Housing Third Sector GOV.UK

Inquiry launched into education charity

The Charity Commission has opened an inquiry into the Albayan Education Foundation charity, which failed to file a serious incident report after receiving critical reports from education watchdog Ofsted. The charity had also been issued with statutory notices by the Department for Education, which the Commission said should have triggered the trustees to file a serious incident report. The Commission said previously that it had engaged with the charity and had issued trustees with an action plan.

Civil Society Birmingham Mail

Thousands miss deadline to file with regulator

Around 6,700 charities have missed deadline to file their annual accounts or annual return with the Charity Commission. Last year, 7,198 charities missed the January 31st deadline.

Civil Society

FUNDRAISING

Swiftaid will boost contactless Gift Aid donations

Swiftaid , a service automating the collection of Gift Aid from contactless donations, has launched. Charities need to set up an account with Swiftaid and assign it as a Gift Aid nominee with HMRC so it can claim Gift Aid on their behalf. Professor Steve Schneider, Director of the Surrey Centre for Cyber Security at the University of Surrey, who is helping to validate the technology, said: “It’s a great opportunity for the charity sector to take full advantage of this new technology in this fast-moving digital age, and we believe that the intuitive nature of Swiftaid will make electronic Gift Aid donations seamless for the user.”

UKFundraising

Planned donation feature for Instagram

Facebook has said it would introduce a donation sticker in Instagram Stories later this year to enable users to support non-profits through the app. The Stories feature lets people post video or images for 24 hours before they disappear.

UKFundraising Charity Times Third Force News Civil Society

RETAIL

Charity launches new ‘premium’ concept store

Cancer Research UK is launching a boutique concept store in London’s fashionable Marylebone area. The outlet will feature stylish fashion and homeware products "in a relaxed and contemporary space." Julie Byard, director of trading at Cancer Research UK said: “Whether commercial or charity, retailers shouldn’t stand still . . . Our aim is to create a contemporary space that cohesively showcases our high-end products and appeals to aspirational, fashion-forward shoppers. We’re excited to unlock the joys of charity shopping for a new audience, whilst still appealing to our existing supporters."

Charity Today

Charity shop warning on no-deal Brexit

The Charity Retail Association is warning of the consequences for charity shops of a no-deal Brexit. Concerns have been raised by members in the wake of a government proposal to replace the CE marking on products with a UK-only equivalent. The association wants business secretary Greg Clark to protect the sector by ensuring that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, any items in stock in charity shops on March 29th aren't required to change their CE labels to bespoke UK labels; and also by guaranteeing that secondhand goods can continue to be sold in perpetuity by charity shops, even if they only have a CE label.

UKFundraising Third Sector Civil Society

WORKFORCE

Charities urged to act on bullying

The Guardian’s Lynne Wallis looks at concerns over bullying in the third sector. Neil Thomas, an employment lawyer at Thomas Mansfield solicitors, says: “A lot of cases I have handled over the last few years for charity employees seem to have involved some sort of bullying.” Siobhan Endean of the union Unite says the current economic environment means charity workers are working longer hours, often in precarious situations, adding: “This, combined with a lack of training for managers and a lack of clear employment legislation around dignity at work, has led to the increase in bullying in the workplace.” Ms Wallis notes that the Charity Commission last year published revisions to its 2017 safeguarding strategy, which now gives specific guidance on protecting volunteers and staff, while a new code of ethics from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations encourages chariti es to review their practices concerning dignity at work and safe employment practices.

The Guardian

Charity is sickened by £10,000 loss

A Suffolk charity that lost £10,000 to scammers is warning others in the sector to be vigilant when making online payments. The Bridge Project, which has been helping disadvantaged adults in the Sudbury area for more than 20 years, believed it had paid a supplier - but it transpired that the supplier's email had been hacked by a fraudster. Charity chief Jo Searle said she felt “physically sick” when she learned of the crime and thinks it “very unlikely” they will see the money again.

East Anglian Daily Times

CAMPAIGNS

Call for sanctions on social media firms that breach duty of care laws

The NSPCC has published its blueprint for a statutory duty of care on social media firms to protect children. The charity wants new "duty of care" laws to be enforced by a regulator with powers to fine firms millions of pounds and sanction criminal investigations if they fail to prevent children being harmed online. Meanwhile, the Children’s Commissioner has said social media firms should face fines or be shut down if they fail to tackle so-called 'influencers' who lure children into gambling. Anne Longfield called for legislation to rein in the platforms responsible.

The Daily Telegraph Daily Mail

INTERNATIONAL

Dogs teach humans to be better bosses

Leader Dogs for the Blind 's executive training program makes use of dogs to teach company managers how to improve teamwork skills, clarify communication, build trust, undertake strategic planning, and use creative problem solving to become better bosses. Key to the success of the US non-profit’s program is the challenge of overcoming fear and handing over trust in partnership with a leader dog.

USA Today


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