Charities react to the Spending Round
The charity sector has warned that that money pledged by Chancellor Sajid Javid in the new government Spending Round will not be enough to fix long-term issues. Mr Javid said there will be an extra £13.8bn in public spending for 2020-21, including £1.5bn for local councils’ social care obligations and £54m to help tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. Genevieve Edwards, director of external affairs at the MS Society, said: “The new money for social care is a stop-gap measure that will just paper over the cracks." Polly Neate, chief executive at Shelter, said: “We welcome [the new funding] . . . but there is a danger this becomes a plan to solve homelessness without any new homes. If the government is to tackle the housing emergency it is going to need to be more ambitious.” Meanwhile, Sir John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), highlighted an increase in funding for the Charity Commission from £24.9m to £27.3m, and noted that "Strong and effective governance is essential to ensure the charity sector remains both robust and accountable." He nevertheless warned that “the uncertainty of Brexit continues to loom and charities rightly worry about the impact on their ability to attract vital donations so that they can continue to deliver essential services." Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of Charity Finance Group, said: "Whilst additional spending is to be welcomed, particularly in respect of areas like social care, in the context of many years of squeezed funding there is a lot of ground to be made up."
Small UK development charities to receive major aid boost
Small UK-based development charities delivering international development projects can now apply for a grant through the latest round of DFID’s Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF). The fund is open to charities that have an income of less than £250,000. They can access grants of up to £50,000 to help respond to global challenges such as improving girls’ education, tackling climate change, and promoting access to healthcare in the developing world. International Development Secretary Alok Sharma said: "Every day, small British charities are working to save lives. Their commitment and passion is helping to reduce poverty around the world and deliver on wide-ranging priorities including education and health. We want to make it easier for them to access UK aid which will make a huge difference in their ability to deliver on the frontline."
'New independent agency needed to drive up standards'
The chief executive of charity think tank New Philanthropy Capital says a new sector-wide independent agency is needed to drive standards "beyond rallying cries for better behaviours. "In a paper arguing that civil society needs to take responsibility for its own improvement, Dan Corry writes: "There is a strong case for the establishment of a new, independent (but sector-led) body that will support improvement and share best practice," adding that such a civil society improvement agency "would share and promote best practice to help improve the effectiveness of the sector" by analysing data to identify issues and improving public trust. The promotion of diversity within the charity sector is another key aim of the agency, Mr Corry said. "In an ideal world, we would want a social sector that is effective, efficient, diverse, working in the places and for the causes that most need it, learning from each other, collaborating where it makes sense (both within the sector and across other sectors), and constantly striving to be better and do better." Charity Digital News notes that the proposed new agency would also provide a "gateway" for charities to access expertise, data, research and training on issues including "understanding how critical agendas, like digital and diversity, can be successfully embraced."
Civil Society Charity Digital News
Inquiry is launched into seven linked charities
A statutory inquiry has been launched by the Charity Commission into seven linked charities amid issues indicating a possible misapplication of charitable funds and potential personal benefit. The charities under investigation are: IPAD, Friends of African Organisations, British Africa Connexions, Kono District Development Association UK, Hope Direct, Social Action and Poverty Alleviation, and Action for Community Transformation.
Email scam warning
The Charity Commission has warned donors to be aware of bogus emails purporting to be from charities. The regulator says charities are increasingly becoming “an attractive target to criminals.” A statement from the Charity Commission says: “As regulator, we want everyone to make important checks before they give, so that they feel empowered and more confident at spotting and avoiding scams. Charity scams are small in number compared to how much is given safely, but the charity sector generates an annual income of over £76 billion making it an attractive target for criminals." A campaign using #SaferGiving on social media and the tagline “Ensure Your Donation Always Reaches The Right People” is being promoted by the regulator.
People gift more to small charities following scandals
Since a string of scandals at the top of international charities, people have been giving more of their money to smaller organisations, new figures show. Some 10,428 charities were named in wills in 2018, with people "beginning to question more who they are giving their money to," according to Rob Cope, a director of Remember a Charity. He added that since 2012, if a person leaves 10% of their estate to a charity, inheritance tax is 36% rather than 40%. "It costs less to give more," said Mr Cope.
Private firms pushing out charity clothing bins
Charities warn that their on-street clothing bins are being removed as bins operated by private companies are able to offer higher payments to local authorities. The British Heart Foundation said it had lost 109 of its clothes bins from 37 local council areas over the last five years, while clothing recycling charity Traid said 40 of its bins had been removed over the last decade to make way for bins operated by private companies. The Telegraph found that of 148 councils to respond to a Freedom of Information request, private firms run all the clothing banks at 41% of them, while only 20% exclusively allow charities to run clothing banks. A survey commissioned by Traid recently found that two-thirds of people have no idea private companies were involved in clothing banks, and the same proportion said they would stop donating or donate less frequently if their local recycling bank was run by a private company. David Renard from the Local Government Association said councils “strive to find a balance between supporting charities and securing contracts that offer the best value to taxpayers.”
ASA bans 'misleading' Peta advert
An advert by the charity People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for being misleading. Ten people submitted complaints to the ASA after seeing the advert, displayed on the sides of buses from February this year, which urged people to stop wearing wool products because "wool is just as cruel as fur." The ruling stated that because sheep needed to be shorn for health reasons wool could not be compared to fur in terms of cruelty. According to the ruling, Peta argued that the same abuses and suffering happened in the wool trade as in the fur trade, but the public were less informed about it. A spokeswoman for Peta said the charity would continue to urge "decent people" to avoid wool and would be running a modified version of the advert, which instead said "wool = cruelty to sheep."
Hyenas highlight online bullying threat
Barnardo’s is using computer-generated images of hyenas in a film depicting the mental health problems faced by bullied children. The children's charity's Believe in Me video has been released as a television advert and is also available on YouTube. New research from Barnardo's suggests four out of five children know a victim of bullying. Barnardo’s CEO Javed Khan said: "As our new TV ad demonstrates, with the right support from a trusted adult, children can recover from difficult experiences and work towards a positive future.”
Labour chairman backs plan to abolish private schools
Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery has endorsed a campaign to abolish all private schools, declaring that fee-paying schools are "incompatible" with the party’s pledge to promote "social justice" in the education system. Mr Lavery described private schools as the "origin" of "injustices" in society and says he is "proud" to be supporting plans to "remove these pillars of elitism from our society." The plan, which is being pushed by Labour Against Private Schools, a new campaign group, includes withdrawing the charitable status, and related tax breaks, from private institutions and redistributing "endowments, investments and properties" to schools across the country. However, the Independent Schools Council has warned that the plans would cost some local authorities tens of millions of pounds per year.