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Charity Times - 12/03/2019

Posted by Claire Stradling


Charity Commission is 'on a knife edge'

Charity Commission CEO Helen Stephenson says funding cuts and increasing demand for services have left the regulator on a “knife edge.” Addressing attendees at the commission’s annual public meeting in Manchester last week, she said plans for a consultation on charging charities for regulation are likely on hold because the government is preoccupied with Brexit, while the “double whammy” of cuts and increased demand has “real implications for us in the commission and for our ability to fulfil statutory functions.” Meanwhile, commission chair Baroness Stowell said the regulator can be expected to be more vocal about the sector's performance in the months ahead. “These interventions may not always be convenient to us, to others in positions of authority, or to individual charities. But they’ll always be motivated by our purpose – and in the interest of the public we represent and for whom charity is so precious,&rdquo ; she sa id. Meanwhile, Ms Stephenson also said the commission is looking at how to improve presentation of and access to data.

Civil Society

Charity chiefs are concerned about board diversity

Acevo 's latest Annual Pay and Equalities Survey has found that charity chief executives are typically concerned about diversity on their boards, regulation of the sector, and workload. Only twenty-six per cent of them are satisfied with the ethnic diversity of their boards, just 17% said that charity sector regulation is "very effective," and chief executives work on average 10 hours extra a week over and above their contracted hours. Acevo CEO Vicky Browning said: "Working an extra one and a half days over the standard five can seriously impact wellbeing and even lead to burnout. Trustees need to take seriously their duty of care to chief executives as well as the organisations and beneficiaries they serve."

Civil Society

Mismanaged charity improves financial controls

The Charity Commission has published a report of the findings of its statutory inquiry into One Nation, a charity with objects to provide relief of hardship to people around the world. The inquiry uncovered serious unmanaged risks, and concluded that there had been misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of the charity. The inquiry has nevertheless resulted in improvements to the charity's financial governance and a reduction in unmanaged risks, the regulator reported. Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement at the Charity Commission said: "We want to see charities inspire trust and make a valued difference to the communities they serve; this inquiry highlights the importance of robust management, oversight and due diligence in achieving that."

GOV.UK Accountancy Daily Civil Society


Cashless may be an opportunity for charities

A major report warns that the UK’s cash system is at risk of "falling apart" and needs a new guarantee to ensure notes and coins can still be used. The Access to Cash Review predicts that “Sleepwalking into a cashless society" would leave eight million people struggling to manage their finances. The report calls on the government and regulators to step in to ensure cash remains viable, and it also raised concerns about the future of charity donations. Almost three-quarters (74%) of people surveyed believes that charities and homeless people would suffer in a cashless society due to fewer people carrying loose change. “The trend towards carrying less cash is a challenge for charities, street performers and the like who have traditionally relied on cash donations,” the report said, nevertheless observing that cashless giving may be an opportunity for charities to solicit higher donations “beyond pocket change.” The review predicts the current rate of dec line would mean cash use would end in 2026. However, it concluded that notes and coins would still be used in 15 years' time, but would account for between 10% and 15% of transactions.

The Daily Telegraph Financial Times Civil Society Daily Mirror Daily Mail The Guardian The Scotsman City AM BBC News

Most people say they trust charities

A new survey has found that just over half (52%) of people in the UK say that they trust charities. The Fundraising around the World report from research consultancy nfpSynergy also found that trust in charities was average in the UK, compared to other countries, and the charity sector was perceived as the fourth most trusted UK institution. More than half (58%) of UK citizens said there were too many charities.

Civil Society

Corporate partnerships supporting charities

UKFundraising takes a look at nine corporate partnerships benefitting UK charities through a mixture of fundraising activity and other support, including Hovis and Alzheimer’s Society, First Mile and Rewilding Britain, Stanley and The Spinal Track Rally Experience, and law firm Peninsula and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity.



Charities hindered by lack of tech support

A new report says technology companies don't do enough for charities attempting to undertake digital transformation projects. The report from software firm Advanced said companies in the tech sector typically aren't aware of charitable organisations’ budget and resource restraints. Mark Dewell, managing director at Advanced, said: “Not-for-profits can’t move ahead with digital projects alone, yet little support exists – especially for small to medium, lower income charities which make up a large majority of charities in the UK.” He added: “The technology industry is blindsided by big corporates with big budgets, which leaves many charity and membership organisations believing that investing in IT is out of their reach.” Most (79%) of charities polled by Advanced said the cost of IT upgrades is the main reason for delaying system upgrades.



Councils trying to ‘ban homelessness,’ warn charities

Human rights charity Liberty has warned that local councils are trying to “airbrush their streets” and “ban homelessness,” with increasing numbers setting up public space protection orders (PSPOs) despite Home Office guidance not to target the homeless. Analysis by The Guardian found at least 60 councils had introduced PSPOs prohibiting people from putting up tents, seeking charity, or engaging in other behaviour connected with rough sleeping, with £100 fines for people breaching the order. Lara ten Caten, a lawyer for Liberty, said: “The power to create public space protection orders is ripe for abuse and many councils use them to airbrush their streets by banning homelessness.” Homeless charity Crisis said that while it understood councils had to strike a balance between the needs of rough sleepers and preventing anti-social behaviour, it was never right to crimin alise pe ople for being homeless, or for PSPOs to be targeted at the homeless.

The Guardian

Call for domestic abuse victims to get school priority

Charities say children whose families have had to move because of domestic violence should have priority for school places. A report from the Hestia and Pro Bono Economics charities says 500,000 children in the UK have been exposed to such abuse, and warns that escaping violence can mean families struggling to get children into another school. At present, they say, children might be waiting from four to six months for a place. The report wants the Domestic Abuse Bill to be amended to make it easier for victims to get into another school if they have to move address. The report also highlights how domestic violence causes other difficulties in children, such as mental health or behaviour problems.

BBC News

Charity report identifies hardships faced by beggars

Housing charity Shelter has released a report outlining the hardships experienced by people begging on the streets of Edinburgh, finding that more than 80% were dealing with mental health issues including anxiety, depression and PTSD, while 62% had physical health problems and more than half suffered from both. The research also found that most of the money made by begging was spent on food, heating and accommodation, with most barely sustaining themselves, while almost three-quarters had suffered physical or verbal abuse or theft on the streets.

Edinburgh Evening News Dundee Evening Telegraph

Parents fighting for speech therapy

More than half of parents whose children have speech, language or communication problems have to wait longer than six months for help. A YouGov poll of more than 1,000 parents for the charity I Can and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists also found that even when parents did get help, 55% said they did not feel it was adequate. It also found that four out of every 10 parents who mentioned a lack of support felt this negatively affected their child's mental health.

Yorkshire Post The Scotsman


Google partners with charity on careers videos

Google is collaborating with the Inspiring Girls charity to produce a series of online videos to encourage girls to pursue their goals. The charity enlisted female staff at Google to talk about their careers in the tech sector. The videos are available via the Inspiring Girls YouTube channel. “A lack of access to diverse female role models affects girls all around the world, particularly when it comes to their career aspirations,” said Miriam González, Inspiring Girls founder and chair.

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