Interview with new minister for civil society
Mims Davies, the government's new minister for civil society, is interviewed about the Civil Society Strategy, her thoughts on the Charity Commission, and why she thinks volunteers are her "favourite people." The strategy was left up in the air at the end of last year after Davies' predecessor Tracey Crouch resigned over government plans to delay a clampdown on fixed odds betting terminals. Davies has just held a round-table event with sector leaders to discuss next steps. “It’s been a labour of love to get the strategy together, but actually everybody was so pleased and positive,” she observes, saying four areas are to be prioritised: youth opportunities, connecting communities, working with business, and using good and better finance. Davies also says the regulator must be adequately resourced if it is to successfully pursue its own new strategy, which will focus on improving the support it gives to charities while encour aging th em to behave ethically. Davies, who was previously a trustee of a small military charity, Building Heroes, concludes her interview with Civil Society by declaring “Volunteers are my favourite people . . . They are fabulous and they are always happy and positive.”
Charities should plan for no-deal, says minister
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has told charities, social enterprises, voluntary organisations and others ahead of a panel discussion about Brexit by Wales Civil Society Forum that they need to put aside normal activities and plan for a no-deal scenario. "We will have to mobilise every resource that we have in Wales, to help those who are the most vulnerable in our society, not to be overwhelmed by the difficulties that they may face," he said, adding "it will be the resilience of our civil society, of those organisations that work on the ground and who know where vulnerable people live . . . Those will be the resources that we will rely on, in those days that follow from a Brexit of the sort that I have described."
Food banks warned over big corporate partnership
A letter to The Guardian from 58 academics and campaigners has warned the UK food bank movement is in danger of being "captured" by big corporations and supermarket chains that promote high-profile partnerships with charities as effective ways of solving hunger and food waste. Signatories to the letter include the former UN rapporteur on the right to food Olivier de Schutter, who criticised the way corporations and some charities frame food poverty as a logistical problem rather than a social justice issue. The letter is timed to coincide with the annual conference of the Global Foodbanking Network (GFN) in London. The GFN supports projects worldwide that redistribute surplus and waste food donated by industry and supermarkets that would otherwise go to landfill or to feed farm animals.
‘Missed opportunity’ over charity law reforms
Audit firm RSM says Scottish Government plans in regard to charity law are too limited in scope and a "missed opportunity" for meaningful reform. The comments come in response to a consultation which proposes giving the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator powers including the ability to remove charities without clear connections to Scotland from the Scottish charity register, as well as giving the regulator the power to disqualify trustees. It would also make charities to have their annual accounts and reports published in full on the Scottish register. RSM says a broader review of Scottish charity law is required, urging the Government to consider how legislation could be structured so it is future-proofed “for new and existing technology”.
JustGiving removes platform fees for UK charities
Online fundraising platform JustGiving is waiving all platform fees for UK charities as part of efforts to increase transparency. “This change means lower costs for charities, transparency and choice for their supporters, and a sustainable future for the UK’s biggest and best platform for giving,” said Keith Williams, JustGiving’s General Manager and Head of UK, adding “We believe that people who donate through JustGiving will be happy that more money will be going to their chosen charity, and by making a voluntary contribution to the UK’s most-trusted giving platform we can continue to help charities and individuals raise even more money for good causes.” But writing for UKFundraising, David Simpson says it remains to be seen how effective the voluntary contribution model to support the platform will be. He also says cutting off its supply of cash is not likely to be o f help to JustGiving if it wants to improve its customer support - which "does not have a good reputation," writes Simpson.
Charities aren't integrating social media and fundraising
A new report says charities are not integrating their social media use into a broader fundraising strategy. The report by Social Misfits Media examines changing social media use in the sector and offers tips on getting the most out of platforms including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Housebuilder announces new community charity
Barratt Developments Yorkshire West has launched a new charity scheme which will see a different charity or organisation receive £1,000 from the housebuilder every month. The Community Fund will support a local charity or organisation within the Yorkshire West region, which includes Barnsley, Bradford, Leeds, Huddersfield, Sheffield, Wakefield, Wetherby and Worksop.
Funding for safeguarding training programme
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has announced £1.2m funding to develop safeguarding training for charities. NCVO is bringing together organisations to partner and develop the training and will announce details soon. The money is part of a £2m fund announced in 2018 when DCMS appointed a Safeguarding Programme Group with representatives from the Charity Commission, the National Lottery Community Fund, NCVO, Acevo, the Scout Association, the National Crime Agency, the Alzheimer's Society, Action for Children and NSPCC. Meanwhile, five organisations - Age UK Oxfordshire, Kent Coast Volunteering, Hastings Voluntary Action, Age UK North Craven and Sustain - are to shar e £250,000 from The Age-Friendly and Inclusive Volunteering Fund, launched in partnership with the Centre for Ageing Better.
Civil Society Third Sector
Charities call for devolution of drugs legislation
In a submission to Westminster’s health and social care committee, four Scottish charities have called for drugs legislation to be devolved to Scotland, to enable the establishment of special rooms for safe drug consumption. Nathan Sparling, chief executive of HIV Scotland, said: “The localisation of drug laws would allow the Scottish government to respond far faster and in a far more relevant manner than the current legal framework allows. Allowing the Scottish government to act in the best interests of its citizens in this instance makes perfect sense and we hope that the committee agrees”. Additionally, Glasgow City Council said: “A safer drug consumption facility would help save lives in Glasgow. Such facilities reduce accidental overdoses and syringe sharing, cutting the risk of infections. They also cut risks to the general public by reducing the number of syringes and needles in publi c places”.
The Times Glasgow Live
PANTS campaign hailed
Over 50 people in Dorset working to help keep children safe are marking the success of the NSPCC’s PANTS campaign, which teaches parents to talk to their children about relationships in a simple, appropriate way. This comes as figures reveal as many as 1 in 10 children will experience sexual abuse before the age of 18, according to the Lucy Faithfull Foundation. Donald Findlater, Director of the 'Stop It Now!' helpline commented: “Too many children have experienced sexual abuse and they don't need to. If we all play our part in prevention, then they won't", while Sarah Elliot, chair of Dorset's Safeguarding Board remarked: "As much as anything it's about preventing Child Sexual Abuse. How can we make sure it's prevented in the first place? We really need to understand why somebody might become a perpetrator and get all of the agencies working together to think about 'how do we spot those early signs?’".
Charity calls for DIY smear tests
Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust has called for DIY smear tests to be introduced as soon as possible in a bid to diagnose cervical cancer at an earlier stage. The latest NHS figures show only 71% of women are up to date on screening - the lowest rate since records began - and around 5m women are overdue. Robert Music, chief executive of the charity, said Denmark and Australia, which already use home testing, are seeing “fantastic results” in prevention and the number of early diagnoses. Separately, Superdrug is launching in-store no touch breast cancer consultations through a partnership with CoppaFeel!, a breast cancer awareness charity. Dr Pixie McKenna, Superdrug’s health and wellbeing ambassador, said: “Once you know how simple checking your breasts is, it can save your life. I am so pleased to see Superdrug nurses will be taking this initiative to all patients, everyone should be able to check whether on themselves or a partner, or even talking it through with a friend – the more conversations the better!”
Daily Mail Daily Mirror The Independent Daily Express The i The Sun
Campaigners demand action on Healthy Schools Rating Scheme
More than 30 food campaigners are calling on the Government to act on its promise to prioritise children's health and wellbeing. Led by charity School Food Matters, the organisations say the Department for Education must look at how schools can support children to keep themselves healthy. They note how that although the Government proposed the Healthy Schools Rating Scheme in its 2016 childhood obesity plan, it is still on the DfE's to-do list. The charity's founder, Stephanie Wood, said: "Quite simply, the Healthy Schools Rating Scheme is needed to help schools keep good food on the menu."
Charity warns against classroom dogs
The Dogs Trust has criticised education secretary Damian Hinds for supporting schools which have classroom dogs, saying that it is not good for their welfare. The charity warned that animals may get “tired and stressed” in schools because they are “noisy and unpredictable”.
Mining group delays accounts after donations probe
Mining group Ferrexpo has delayed publishing its annual accounts after an investigation into its charitable donations found inconsistencies. This comes a month after Deloitte, its auditor, uncovered "unexplained discrepancies" in bank statements for charity Blooming Land, which was set up to carry out Ferrexpo's corporate social responsibility programme. The board launched a review last month, bringing in accountants at BDO to help, saying preliminary work has identified a number of issues that suggest the "funds may not all have been used for their stated purpose".
The Times The Daily Telegraph City AM
Surcharge debt hits £64m in 2018
Criminals failed to pay £64.5m in fines to victims' charities last year, marking a 28% increase on the year before. The Ministry of Justice said the victims' surcharge, introduced in 2007, ensures “criminals take greater responsibility for crimes,” adding: “We take enforcement seriously." David Spencer, of the Centre for Crime Prevention, said: "It was obvious many would be unable or unwilling to pay."
The Sun on Sunday