Growing interest in online register of charities
The Charity Commission’s latest annual report shows views of its online register of charities increased by six million over the last year. In 2018/19, the online service received more than 38 million views, up from 32 million in the previous year. The report says the growing interest is indicative of "the huge and growing public appetite for information about charities.” The regulator said it had its “busiest year” for the year to March 31st 2019, according to the report. There was a 60% increase in the regulator's use of formal investigatory and enforcement powers compared to last time, 83% more reports from whistleblowers within the sector, and a 50% rise in the number of serious incidents reports. Meanwhile, the annual report shows 140 new employees have joined the regulator over the last year, with just 39 staff leaving. Overall staff numbers have increased from 305 in March 2018 to 410 in March 20 19. Helen Stephenson, the Charity Commission's chief executive and accounting officer, noted the work of a new "core change committee" to oversee the delivery of its five-year strategy, saying: “This year we have started to deliver on our ambitious new strategy under challenging circumstances, which include the growing demand on our core functions, making this the busiest year for us."
Strategy to tackle diversity problem
The Institute of Fundraising (IoF) has launched a strategy to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion in the fundraising profession. The IoF and its board of trustees have identified four key inequalities that need to be addressed, including: underrepresentation of BAME fundraisers; underrepresentation of disabled fundraisers; LGBT+ fundraisers who are not always able to be open in the workplace; and underrepresentation of women at a senior level. Sixteen initial activities are identified to deliver a more equal, diverse and inclusive profession. Sufina Ahmad, the IoF's Chair of the Expert Advisory Panel on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, said: “To have in one place a succinct but ambitious way forward for making the UK fundraising profession more equal, diverse and inclusive is a huge achievement . . . Individuals and organisations that champion this strategy are showing that they, like the Institute of Fundraising, are committed to working together to take an intersectional approach to addressing the well-known and well-evidenced inequalities that exist in the fundraising profession.”
Charity Times Charity Digital News
Little academic research into charities
Two jointly-released research papers warn about the “paucity” of academic research around charities and philanthropy. The papers, published by the think tank Charity Futures and the consultancy Giving Evidence, say 184 relevant academic studies covering the charity sector have been published since 2006, and these typically focus on a relatively small number of broad topics such as donor behaviour, charity governance and communications, the authors said. Sir Stephen Bubb, founder and director of Charity Futures, said the research papers "confirm[ed] our suspicion that there was a paucity of in-depth research in our universities about charities and philanthropy . . . That needs correcting if we are to increase charities’ and donors’ effectiveness. That is exactly why we are establishing the Oxford Institute of Charity, which will carry out research of the highest academic standard and which is targeted and geared to the search for more sustainable charity.”
VAT ruling could cost charities ‘millions’
Tax experts say a recent European court ruling could force charities to pay millions of pounds more a year in tax if HM Revenue & Customs subsequently reconsiders its position on charities’ ability to recover VAT on fundraising costs. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) last week decided in favour of HMRC, which had argued that the University of Cambridge should not be able to recover some £182,501 of VAT it had paid on investment management fees. The ruling is likely to have a direct impact on charities with large investment portfolios and it may now be that HMRC reassesses its position on charities’ ability to recover VAT on fundraising costs generally. A change in HMRC policy in this area “could cost charities and other not-for-profit organisations millions," warned Sudhir Singh, partner and head of the not-for-profit sector at MHA MacIntyre Hudson.
Home Office scheme targets non-UK homeless
An investigation by the Observer suggests the Home Office has devised a plan to acquire sensitive personal data from homeless charities that could be used to deport non-UK rough sleepers. The newspaper says emails from Government officials to the Greater London Authority show the Rough Sleeper Support Service programme ignores European privacy laws by passing rough sleepers’ personal information directly to the Home Office without their consent. The scheme is currently being trialled, but the emails also reveal Home Office frustration that the programme is still in the test phase because of a failure to agree a data-sharing deal between charities and local authorities. A Home Office spokesperson said the scheme enables “individuals to access support or assists them in leaving the UK where appropriate.”
Government urged to work with charities on online safety
The New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) think tank wants government ministers to be more collaborative in their work with charities to ensure users are protected online. The think tank's recommendation is a response to the government’s Online Harms White Paper consultation. NPC Policy Manager Grace Wyld said: “Online safety is dependent on social norms which change rapidly . . . The whitepaper makes few references to the role of civil society and charities as part of the solution. To succeed, we believe the Government and its new regulator must work in partnership with charities to co-design efforts to empower users and build a better internet.”
Charity praised for response to ransomware attack
St John Ambulance has been praised for its quick response to a ransomware attack. The charity said the attack took place on July 2nd and temporarily blocked it from accessing data that customers had provided when booking a training course. The organisation said it has informed the UK’s data protection authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), and the Charity Commission. “It is worth noting that St John Ambulance has demonstrated strong incident response procedures here with a transparent and timely response notifying the public, police and the ICO,” said Javvad Malik, security awareness advocate at cybersecurity awareness training company KnowBe4.
Social care overhaul delay ‘costs dementia sufferers £15bn’
The Alzheimer's Society has published a report which calculates that families have spent almost £15bn on care costs for relatives with dementia in the two years they have been waiting for ministers to produce a frequently-delayed green paper on social care reform. The charity has demanded that the Government provides an immediate cash boost to help families survive while ministers come up with a long-term solution. The Government has spent £9.3bn on dementia care in the past two years. The Alzheimer's Society also says that since the social care green paper was announced in the 2017 Budget, people with dementia have spent more than a million unnecessary days stuck in hospital beds, despite being well enough to go home, at a cost to the NHS of more than £340m.
Daily Mail Daily Mirror The Sun The Daily Telegraph
Scottish teachers lack mental health support
A charity has warned of a potentially "damaging" lack of mental health support available for teachers in Scotland. According to Barnardo's Scotland, teachers face increasing stress levels but there is "little opportunity" for them to receive care or support. In a new report, the charity notes a key issue highlighted by educators questioned was a lack of any form of professional supervision or dedicated time for reflective practice for teaching staff in relation to their own mental health and wellbeing. It argues that teachers should have access to similar support to other sectors who work with children, describing the gap between professions as "stark".
Thrones star backs NHS stroke campaign
Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke has backed a Royal College of Nursing programme which will train more nurses to be specialists in neurorehabilitation and improve NHS and private care for those aged 18 to 40. The actress recently revealed she had a life-threatening stroke eight years ago and has since launched SameYou, a charity helping young people with brain injuries to access resources for recovery.
Teach First attracts record number of applicants
A record number of graduates have applied to the recruitment charity Teach First this year. In total 1,735 graduates have started at the Teach First summer institute, up 38% from last year. The bumper year comes amid a deep and prolonged recruitment crisis in teaching, with schools having particular difficulty recruiting staff in maths, science and modern languages. However, Teach First has increased the number of science and maths trainee teachers, up to 505 from 283 last year, with 95 recruits for modern languages, up from 48.