A happy new year for Scottish charities
More than 60 Scottish charities are to share almost £1.9m of funding from new grant programmes launched by the Bank of Scotland Foundation. The programmes are designed to provide stability for small and medium sized charities seeking to make positive and lasting change by addressing disadvantage or social exclusion. Philip Grant, chair of the foundation’s board of trustees, said: “Our emphasis on social exclusion and disadvantage means that our programmes can continue to help to improve the lives of many vulnerable people across Scotland addressing areas such as homelessness, debt management, reducing isolation and supporting job creation," adding "As the current funding environment in Scotland becomes increasingly challenging, I’m very pleased to confirm that our new strategy sees us continue to provide core funding for charities. We know that core funding is hugely important.&rdquo ; Among the 62 charities to receive grants are: Epilepsy Action Scotland, Scottish Sports Futures, Simon Community Scotland, Beatson Cancer Charity and Motherwell & Wishaw Citizens Advice Bureau.
Women are still underrepresented in top charity jobs
A report from the Fawcett Society says the UK is “generations away” from achieving gender equality as women remain seriously underrepresented in top jobs across society. The 2020 Sex and Power Index from the women's rights and equality charity found that women account for just over a quarter (27%) of charity CEOs. Meanwhile, there are only six female FTSE 100 chief executives – a figure unchanged since the charity’s last report in 2018. The report also reveals gender equality is "alarmingly" worse for women of colour who are totally absent from senior positions in many sectors. Sam Smethers, Fawcett Society chief executive, said: "Despite much lip service about the importance of having women in top jobs, today's data shows we are still generations away from achieving anything close to equality. If we want change, we have to make it happen." Charity Digital News note that the Fawcett Society is partnering with race equality think tank the Runnymede Trust on the pay and progression of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) women in the workplace.
Scottish charity names new chief executive
Rebecca Simpson has been appointed as the new chief executive of Scottish arts in health charity Hearts and Minds. She has previously been schools and sustainable transport manager at Living Streets, and head of young people programmes at Youth Scotland. Simpson said Hearts and Minds “brings together my love of working in health and the arts. The work that Hearts and Minds deliver is very unique and provides so much joy for people at a time when they need it the most.” The charity is this year celebrating the 21st anniversary of its Clowndoctor programme and is seeking to further embed the professional practice of therapeutic clowning in Scotland’s healthcare provision.
Free online toolkit for smaller charities is upgraded
The Charity Excellence Framework, a free charity performance online toolkit, has carried out upgrades aimed at offering support to small charities. The online toolkit covers issues including HMRC regulations and accessing government resources, and also fundraising guides featuring funder lists for smaller organisations. Charity Excellence Framework founder Ian McLintock said: “The biggest upgrade will be the introduction of social franchising. This will enable large multi-site charities, as well as groups of small charities, to access the core system, to create and control new functionality. For example, enabling groups of charities to easily create specialist quality marks and large charities to create their own framework models, with their own top-level dashboards.”
Late returns risk reputations
Charities risk reputational damage by submitting late returns, according to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). Currently, 1,600 Scottish charities, or 6.5% of the total number, have missed their deadline for submitting the information and have still to submit annual documentation to the regulator. Maureen Mallon, OSCR’s chief executive, said: “Being a registered charity is something to be proud of and this status comes with a number of responsibilities. A charity that fails to meet their obligations can damage their own reputation and potentially affect public confidence in charities. Annual reporting allows charities to demonstrate the great work they do.” Mallon went on to note that the OSCR has the power to take action against charities who don't meet their obligations, and resources are allocated to engage further with organisations that are substantively late.
Helping charities better manage risk
A downloadable set of codes has been published online by the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (CIIA) to help charities better manage risk. The codes help organisations to effectively carry out an internal financial audit. BP’s Audit Committee Chair Brendan Nelson explains in a promotional video released by the CIIA about how charities can best use the code's recommendations. “Strong, effective and well-resourced internal audit functions have a central role to play in supporting boards to better manage and mitigate the risks they face. The Code makes 38 important recommendations, including the right for internal audit to attend executive committee meetings, unrestricted access for internal audit to all parts of the business, and a direct line for internal audit to the chief executive. I urge boards, and in particular audit committees, to apply appropriately the Internal Audit Code of Practice to incre ase the effectiveness of their internal audit functions, in the pursuit of stronger corporate governance and risk management,” said Nelson.
Regulator bans trustees after theft of funds
The founding trustees of Jole Rider Friends, a children’s education charity, have been disqualified from acting as a trustee or in a senior management role of a charity for 12 years after being held responsible for serious mismanagement of governance and finance. The Charity Commission found that David Swettenham and Helen King were guilty of serious misconduct and/or mismanagement in their handling of the charity’s finances and governance, and the pair also failed to comply with warnings from the regulator. Amy Spiller, head of the investigations team at the Charity Commission, said: “The trustees of Jole Rider grossly misused the charity in paying themselves unauthorised remuneration, and in doing so they betrayed their donors as well as those that could have benefited from this charitable support . . . Their behaviour throughout, both in the running of their charity as well as during this inquir y, was a world apart from that expected of trustees.” Swettenham and King say the Commission’s report contains “a serious and misleading distortion of fact” and have filed 27 separate formal complaints to the Commission.
Civil Society Accountancy Daily
Birmingham Sikh Channel charity investigated by regulator
A Birmingham based Sikh broadcasting charity is being investigated by the Charity Commission over "serious regulatory concerns." The regulator said it launched a probe into the governance and financial management of Birmingham-based Sikh Channel Community Broadcasting Company Limited in November after concerns following a meeting with trustees. The commission said it would examine whether trustees had properly exercised their legal duties and responsibilities under charity law in the administration of charitable funds held by the organisation, and will also look at the financial management of the organisation and whether there has been private benefit to the trustees or former trustees, among other issues.
Public sector volunteers are 'less satisfied' than charity volunteers
New research from NCVO suggests people who give their time to public services are less satisfied with their experience than those who volunteer for charities. The NCVO's Time Well Spent: Volunteering in the Public Sector survey of 10,000 adults found that public sector volunteers were more likely than charity volunteers to plan to quit. Seventy-six per cent said they would continue volunteering in the public sector compared to 83% of charity volunteers. Although 94% of those volunteering in the public sector say that they were satisfied with their experience, only 47% said they were very satisfied, compared to 58% among charity volunteers. Karl Wilding, chief executive of NCVO, said: “The differences we found in the survey are not always dramatic but along with what we heard in focus groups they do hint at areas for improvement in public sector volunteering programmes, particularly in terms of making role s flexib le and minimising bureaucracy . . . Good volunteering programmes can deliver great returns for communities and public sector bodies, but they do require investment, both financially and in terms of a real commitment from organisations to truly understand volunteering.”
New charity to tackle inequality in Cambridge
A new charity, Cambridge 2030, is being set up to help address inequality in the UK’s most unequal city. The top 6% of earners take home 19% of income generated in the city, while the bottom 20% take home just 2% of total income. The charity aims to bring together Cambridge City Council with businesses, charities, volunteers and academics to create a coordinated plan to address the problem. Executive councillor for housing Richard Johnson says there is a “moral responsibility” on organisations and firms that have profited from being based in the city to help address inequality, and that while the council is spending millions on its anti-poverty strategy, it is restricted by the funding it receives from central Government.
Charity shop’s designer sale takes in £22,500
The Shelter charity shop in Edinburgh’s Stockbridge collected a record £22,500 during its 17th annual New Year sale of designer brands. The one-week event featured items from names including Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and Mulberry.
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