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We deliver the best recruitment news and advice to the Tax, Legal, Finance, HR and Marketing sectors, including market updates, CV tips, interview advice, and exclusive interviews.


Pat Keogh - Pro Group - October 2020 Update

Here is a quick update on the markets we cover from Pro-Recruitment Group's Managing Director, Pat Keogh. It's no surprise that all five of our markets, tax, legal, finance, marketing and HR slowed down earlier this year, but we were really encouraged when we brought everyone back fully in September, there were clear signs and green shoots across all five divisions. It was slightly stunted when we had to go back to a work-from-home strategy, but we are hoping that will lift soon. That said, all markets are still responding well. A lot of organisations are taking the opportunity to obnboard remotely. There are a few clients who are more gung-ho than others, and some a recruiting in serious numbers, which is pleasing to see. On the candidate side, unfortunately there are a lot who are now immediately available, through no fault of thier own, but due to current market conditions. There are plenty of skilled professionals who are immediately available, so its a great time to recruit if that is your strategy. We are producing a monthly market-tracker which will allow us to keep you informed of recruiting trends, covering professionals seeking new roles and opportunities available on the market. Do sign up to receive our newsletters. We haven't seen a single market without an increase, understandably it has been relatively flat market since March, but more recently we are seeing monthly increases in jobs being registered with us, which is very encouraging. The approach we have taken as a business is that we are looking to help kick-start the economy. Of course, whilst balancing the safety of our teams and those around us. We are currently working remotely, whilst allowing those who prefer to safely come into the office the opportunity to do so. This is paramount in us ensuring we are servicing all of our clients and candidates alike. I hope this gives you a bit of an insight into where the market is at. Feel free to pick up the phone to me directly, I am more than happy to share market intel and looking to share this information as regularly as we can. We are always here and our lines of communications are always here to help you with your reruitment needs. For now, stay safe and speak soon!


The Unique Challenges and Rewards of Working in Charity HR

Neither employment law nor candidate’s needs and expectations change from sector to sector, yet working in an HR role for a charity does come with certain challenges specific to the charity and non-profit world. Despite the challenges that come along with HR work in the third sector, there are various rewards including work-life balance, autonomy in your role and job satisfaction which undoubtedly make charity HR a career path worth considering. Our specialist charity and Not-For-Profit recruiters have provided insight into the key challenges and rewards that come with working in a charity HR role. The Challenges of Charity HR Funding & Resourcing Priorities It is not surprising that funding is one of the key challenges faced by HR professionals in the charity sector. Charities are accountable to their funders and often need to be more transparent than private sector companies, and it is important to make beneficiaries feel confident that their donations are being spent wisely and the charity’s budget is being maximised. With Not-For-Profit organisations often under the spotlight about budget spend on administration and overheads, HR professionals can find themselves having to justify spending charity budget on systems or people-related initiatives. The spending of donations on every job advert, new product, training day or induction may need justifying, and getting the message across that HR initiatives are actually highly cost-effective and will deliver savings for the charity in the long run can be a challenge. Recruitment Some HR professionals find it very easy to fill vacancies within charities, often with people who are passionate about the cause and mission of the charity and who are keen to get involved and make a difference. However, recruiting within the third sector does come with its challenges. Frontline staff, particularly staff or volunteers working with vulnerable individuals or children need to be strictly vetted. Additionally, salaries are generally lower in the charity sector which makes recruiting the right people tricky when the best talent could get higher salaries elsewhere or in the corporate sector, particularly with back-office roles like finance, legal or marketing. The key to overcoming this challenge is to develop a creative approach which focuses on building the charity’s brand and cause and highlighting non-financial benefits like flexible working, good work-life balance, learning and development opportunities, and the chance to make a real contribution. Commercial Drive More and more charities are having to take a more commercial approach in their work and charging for services that may have been previously free. This can lead to unrest among employees, particularly if they feel these changes are counter to their values, and charity HR professionals can find themselves having to work hard to communicate the necessity for commerciality to staff members, to keep up staff morale. Ethical Issues There are pressures on charities to be more transparent than ever regarding their policies and practices. Charity HR staff are faced with the challenge of finding the right balance between fulfilling the charity’s aims and making difficult people-related decisions. In other words, balancing a fair, practical and consistent method for effectively managing employees without compromising the atmosphere of passionate care which is often at the heart of the working environments of many charities. It is also very important that HR policies reflect a charity’s mission. For example, a mental health charity should undoubtedly have an excellent internal support structure and resources available for employees, and a children’s charity should have flexible working opportunities and childcare available for working parents, and policies such as these will need to be drawn out and implemented by the charity’s HR department. The Rewards of Charity HR Making a Difference Many HR professionals who end up working in the third sector do so because they have a commitment or draw to a particular cause. But regardless of this, working for a non-profit organisation can provide a great sense of job satisfaction and a feeling of making a difference in society, and therefore employees are often people who are very passionate and value-driven - which only makes the day-to-day experience of a charity HR professional an enjoyable and fulfilling one as well. Autonomy & Progression As of October 2018, there were 168,186 registered charities in the UK, and the majority of these organisations aren't able to go out to an agency for HR - everything needs to be done in-house. This means that teams are smaller - you may have a team of 3 or 4 instead of a department of 20 in a larger organisation, which in turn means that an HR charity role involves wearing lots of different hats and taking on a generalist role as opposed to a role focusing on one specialist branch of HR. This grants you autonomy in your role, more opportunity to implement change, and the chance to broaden your experience and skill set as an HR professional, and you may find there is a shorter route to progress within the organisation. Other Benefits Charity roles can sometimes be overlooked by HR professionals but no longer is the charity sector seen as the ‘poor cousin’. In reality, third sector organisations can be equally exciting and fast-paced as the commercial sector and also come with benefits like a better work-life balance and the opportunity to utilise your HR skills and experience in an organisation that is contributing towards a cause you are passionate about. For more information on this article or to speak to our specialist recruitment consultants about your next HR role in the charity sector, contact Loren on 020 7269 6358 or


COVID-19: How it affected my maternity leave, my business and changed my focus!

With many returning to work in the office, and new patterns of working emerging across the employment landscape, the Director Team here at Pro-Recruitment Group are sharing their experiences and insights around the returning to work post COVID-19 Alison Humphries, Board Director, shares her experience of returning to the workplace after maternity leave, and rediscovering the unprecedented new ways of working. Alison: I am one of the owners of Pro-Recruitment, I have been in the business for 13 years and been in the working world for 20 years without ever really having time off. I went straight from education to work, even in my teen years I worked on weekends. Other than a 2-week holiday or a few extra days over the Christmas period I am admittedly a bit of a self-confessed workaholic! In October 2019 as I walked out of the office I was about to embark on a new journey through maternity leave…I was excited, I was nervous, I was scared. I was about to have a baby, my body, my heart and my head were about to be turned upside-down and on top of that I had to relinquish control of my business . To say this was going to be hard was an understatement, as i've been involved throughout the whole 'Pro-Journey', but after working with so many experienced consultants and developing and training a knowledgeable Management Team, I knew it was being left in good hands. Fast-forward to January 2020 I’d given birth to a beautiful little girl called Charlotte, everything was starting to get back to normal and I was feeling like my old self. Everything at work was going so well, I had been into the office and all of my teams were reporting success. As an owner of the business I was keen to know how the company was performing (that’s the workaholic in me), so I had committed to attend every Board Meeting from January onwards and I was so pleased that things were going so well. Maternity leave wasn’t so bad…I booked myself and my daughter onto swimming lessons, rhythm time, baby sensory…you name it we had signed up for it. It was important to me that Charlotte was sociable from day one and that I made some mummy friends in the local area. My focus slowly changed and allowed me to realign myself from the workaholic and enjoy being a mother. The Unthinkable During the week we would stay at our flat in London and at the weekend, we would head to a place that we had recently bought in the Midlands as it was close to my family. On March the 15th I waved my other half off to work. Unexpectedly I got a call at midday, he was coming home that evening and working from home indefinitely. The UK was being hit hard by COVID-19, it wasn’t going away and businesses across the country were telling people to work from home. Luckily for us at Pro-Group, we already had the infrastructure in place for us to make that swift move without causing to much disruption to our day-to-day work. Pro-Recruitment made this decision on March 15th and then what was to follow was unthinkable. We went into lockdown on March 23rd. The range of emotions that followed included fear, anxiety and dread. I had brought a baby into the world and this was our generation's war. Were we going to survive, how serious was all of this if the world was now in lockdown. Pro-Group was impacted heavily, like everyone else in the UK, we were moved to reduce our team size, we had to think strategically, we had to act fast, we had no idea how long this was going to last and if we were even going to have a business at the end of this. I was being informed of decisions that were being made, furlough schemes that we were using and many other things that were impacting our business and we had no control over any of it. I wanted to be involved in calls, decisions, meetings that were loaded with information, but I also had a baby that was breastfeeding, teething and was struggling to sleep - finding this balance was challenging, but upon reflecting, it feels like an accomplishment to balance work and life as this extreme level. How could we make this a more positive experience? We had to make this a positive experience, it became apparent as places like Wuhan started to ease their lockdown that this wasn’t going to last forever, we would come out of the other side. I took advantage of the time that we had as a new family of 3. My partner was there for every bath time and bedtime, he was there when we were having a bad day of crying just to ease things for me, even if it was only for half an hour so I could shower and have a cup of tea. We took advantage of the late summer evenings and beautiful weather; we have transformed our garden and I have become somewhat a pair of “green fingers”. We made time for each other and made every evening a time to cook, talk and enjoy dinner together. We became really close to our neighbours and would now consider them friends. All of these things would be interrupted ordinarily by work, travel and other outside factors. August came around, before I knew it I was thinking about heading back to work on 1st September. Our business had halved, I had relocated and life was so different. I had to put Charlotte into nursery and think of a back to work plan. Given the amount that I had been in touch with Pro-Group whilst I had been on maternity leave we started talking about my return fairly early on. I had a plan, a strategy and lots of time to think about how we could get out of the other side of this pandemic. Pro-Group had been excellent in considering my return to work I have come back to work 3 days a week and 1 day is working from home. I have the full support of my co-Directors and walking back into the office on Tuesday 1st September was daunting. It felt as if it was my first day at school again, I was nervous, had I forgotten how to do this? Turns out I haven’t thankfully, in fact I am even more focussed now than I have ever been. With only 3 days a week at work every minute counts. I have to be extremely productive on those days, I have time on the train to work and think of ways in which I can help my team, I am refreshed when I get to work and I feel like I have a new found energy and enthusiasm to help my company out of a slow market and back to winning ways. ​In Summary Maternity leave was completely interrupted by lockdown and COVID-19, but I tried to make the very best out of a very disruptive situation. I don’t feel like I have stood still for six months, the world hasn’t passed me by, I have had time to re-energise, re-focus and be in a better mindset coming out of this. Whilst it saddens me that the business I have helped to build for 13 years has changed dramatically, I have managed to better my personal life in a way I hadn’t imagined I would. In my opinion, flexible working and taking into account a good work-life balance and a happy home life is the most important thing in the world and allows you to be at your best when you leave your house in the morning ready to face whatever the world throws at you. For advice and information about returning to work after maternity leave, or for a more detailed discussion with Alison about her experience, email or call on 020 7269 6312


Charity Times - 19/08/2019

CAMPAIGNS Charity is 'overwhelmed' by selfie campaign More than 19,000 people have participated through a social media campaign from mental health charity YoungMinds encouraging people to share pictures of themselves as five-year-olds. The charity's #5YearOldSelfie campaign aims “to help young people going through a difficult time and encourage empathy, love and compassion towards themselves.” Emma Thomas, chief executive of YoungMinds, said the charity was keen on making better use of digital channels to deliver services. She said: "Through exploring new digital solutions, collaborations and partnerships we can develop further support and opportunities to meet [the needs of young people and their families]." Civil Society Celebs share family photos for dementia campaign The Alzheimer’s Society has launched an online campaign showcasing the family photos of celebrities, including Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Philips, singer Roy Stride and actress Sally Lindsay, who have a personal reason to support people with dementia. Six celebrities are participating in the campaign to promote the charity’s Memory Walks, sponsored walk events taking place in September and October. Charity Digital News Campaign focuses on threat to rhino reproduction The Save the F***ing Rhino fundraising campaign from Save the Rhino International is focused on the threat posed to rhino reproduction and the populations of the most endangered rhino species in the world. There are fewer than 80 Sumatran rhinos and fewer than 70 Javan rhinos, according to latest figures from the charity. The charity says the campaign is the “biggest, boldest and most urgent” campaign in its 25-year history. Charity Digital News WORKFORCE Call for 'urgent action' to tackle sector racism A campaign has been launched which calls for “urgent action” to tackle racism in the charity sector. The move follows Citizens Advice apologising and promising to launch an investigation after a training slide designed to assist its staff when working with BAME communities was criticised as “horribly racist.” Fatima Iftikhar, who uncovered the training material last week, said it was not a “one-off.” She is encouraging people to share their experiences of racism in the sector. “A few of us are coming together to launch this campaign #CharitySoWhite to kick-start wider conversation and action in the charity sector . . . We want people to understand that the Citizens Advice training is not a one-off shocking incident and that urgent action needs to be talking about institutional racism across the sector,” she said. Civil Society EU nationals in no-deal fear The 3 Million, which represents EU nationals in the UK, has said that plans by the home secretary, Priti Patel, to end rules allowing EU nationals to move to live and work freely in the UK suddenly in the event of no deal, were "reckless". Nicholas Hatton, co-founder of The 3 Million, said: "Ending freedom of movement without putting legal provisions in place for EU citizens who have not yet successfully applied through the settlement scheme will mean millions of lawful citizens will have their legal status removed." Stephanie Dawoud, spokesperson for Imix, an immigration communications charity, said: "It will be up to employers, the NHS and landlords to check whether someone has the right to be here or not. It is another announcement that feeds into the worst fears of EU citizens in the UK." The Guardian Charity criticised over £434k pay for boss Family planning charity Marie Stopes International has been criticised for handing chief executive Simon Cooke a £434,000 pay package in a year that saw it cut 1,100 jobs. Mark Flannagan, a former chief of the charity Beating Bowel Cancer who now works at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, called the remuneration deal “obscene,” adding that Mr Cooke should turn down a bonus equal to his basic salary of £217,250. Writing in Third Sector, Mr Flannagan said: “I cannot see how anyone can justify almost doubling what is already an extremely large salary for a charity boss.” Daily Mail Third Sector DIGITAL Outward Bound Trust is going digital Charity Digital News reports on how the Outward Bound Trust is going digital with digital transformation "quick wins" including a new digital portal for trustees that embraces technology already in place. Rob Sharpe, Digital Transformation Project Lead at the outdoor sport and activity charity, said: “The platform uses existing technology and has been a fairly short sharp win in terms of pulling the technology together . . . Because we’ve built it on existing infrastructure there is no additional cost to the Trust in doing this, but it will hopefully make a big impact in the way we engage with trustees moving forward.” Charity Digital News More than a third of charity staff lack digital skills Analysis by NCVO has found that over a third of voluntary sector organisations have reported that their staff don't have necessary digital skills. Thirty-six per cent of voluntary organisations said their staff are missing such skills, compared to 33% in private organisations and 53% in the public sector. Megan Griffith Gray, NCVO’s head of digital, data and planning, said the digital skills gap is a “serious strategic weakness for the sector.” A new initiative called the Catalyst, of which NCVO is a founding member, aims to provide more support for charities to boost digital skills. Civil Society RISK International Charity Fraud Awareness Week 2019 International Charity Fraud Awareness Week 2019 takes place between October 21st and October 25th and seeks to help the charity sector become more resilient to fraud. The main aims of the week are to: raise awareness of the key risks affecting the sector; promote and share good counter-fraud practices; and promote honesty and openness about fraud. A key feature of this year’s campaign is a free online awareness hub developed by the Fraud Advisory Panel, UK Finance and the Charity Commission. It's a one-stop shop for information, guidance and case studies, bringing together charity professionals from across the globe to discuss and share ideas on how to protect the sector. GOV.UK UKFundraising Charities report growing number of data breaches The Information Commissioner’s Office received reports of 118 data breaches from charities in the three months to March 2019 - exactly double the number received in the corresponding period of 2017/18. The charity sector accounts for 3.6% of the total number of incidents reported to data regulator. Civil Society LEGAL Shelter threatens Glasgow with legal action Shelter Scotland has sent a letter to Glasgow City Council (GCC), accusing the local authority of acting "unlawfully" in denying homeless people temporary accommodation. The charity says it has prepared a legal case to seek a judicial review at the Court of Session in the event of no response from GCC. Graeme Brown, Shelter Scotland director, said: "Quite simply, enough is enough. The facts are clear; Glasgow City Council is breaking the law; homeless people are being forced on to the streets.” Glasgow City Council robustly denied the charity's claims and accused it of creating an “unhelpful distraction.” “Rather than raising money for court action, it would be helpful if Shelter worked constructively with us to tackle the pressing issue of homelessness. We share a common aim and threats of legal action are an unhelpful distraction to this crucial work,” the local authority said in a statement. The Scotsman Third Force News The Times Woman admits Dogs Trust fraud A Northern Ireland woman has admitted abusing her position at a dog welfare charity to defraud it of more than £5,000. Adrianne Peltz pleaded guilty to using a Dogs Trust credit card for personal expenditures. The Dogs Trust is the UK's largest dog welfare charity and cares for more than 15,000 dogs each year through a network of 20 rehoming centres in the UK. A Dogs Trust spokesperson said: ""We have taken appropriate steps to recover the funds where possible, so that we can put them back into the vital work we do." BBC News FUNDRAISING Amazon to donate unsold items to charity Amazon says it will donate to charity hundreds of thousands of brand-new products that fail to sell. The company has announced a new programme that will ensure unwanted or unsold products from its third party merchants will go to a selection of British charities, including Barnardo’s, Newlife and the Salvation Army. A series of recent investigations had revealed that Amazon has previously sent millions of products to incineration or landfill when they cannot be sold. The Times Third Force News UKFundraising OTHER OSCR seeks new chief executive The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) is seeking a permanent replacement for David Robb, who stood down as chief executive at the turn of the year after seven years in the role. A spokesman for OSCR said: “This is an exciting opportunity to be involved in OSCR’s vision for effective regulation which contributes to a flourishing charity sector in which the public has confidence.” Third Force News Back to Charity Times archive >>​​


Workplace Wellbeing in the Charity and Not-For-Profit Sector

It has been recently reported that 7 out of 10 employees have admitted to suffering from stress, financial strain and other personal issues over the past five years. It has become all the more important that employers, including those within the Charity and Not-For-Profit sector, know and understand the prevalence of mental health issues in the workforce and do what they can to create an open culture where employee mental health is addressed and understood. Due to increased awareness regarding mental health, we know that at least 1 in 4 people will experience mental ill health at some point in their lives, that stress is the number one reason for employee absenteeism and, crucially, that many often feel unable or afraid to speak about their mental health openly in the workplace. However, this year as a nation, we have seen the highest amount of policy focus and public awareness regarding mental health than ever before - undoubtedly steps in the right direction. It goes without saying that one of the key issues facing any employer is the retention of their valued workforce - an issue that unfortunately is only amplified in the charity sector, due to the plethora of other issues compounding the struggle to keep a hold of top talent. One way in which organisations can ensure the retention of their top talent is by focusing on the mental health and wellbeing of their workforce, by creating an open culture and putting in place frameworks to understand and support employees. The Challenges of Supporting Employee Wellbeing in the Third Sector Working in the Charity and Not-For-Profit sector does offer a number of benefits that give it the 'feel good' factor and a competitive edge when it comes to wellbeing and positivity about work over other industries. One of the most obvious benefits is the opportunity to contribute to a worthwhile cause and actually make a difference in the world. Knowing that the work done by charities benefits so many people is often cited by our clients as one of the biggest draws of the industry, and one of the main reasons people decide to work for an organisation in this sector. In many cases, this ultimately results in a sense of positivity and self-fulfilment, which has the potential to improve one's wellbeing. This is great news for HR professionals working within the sector. Everybody knows a happy workforce is a productive one and this is a charity’s greatest asset! The third sector has known this for some time and it is certainly the sector which acknowledges and recognises most the issues of mental ill-health, and its early embracing of the concept of office wellbeing is really paying dividends whilst other sectors scramble to catch up. However, work in the third sector does have its challenges when it comes to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of employees. Issues or problems at work can often be heightened in the Not-For-Profit sector, as employees tend to be more emotionally engaged with their job and the cause they are working for. As well as this, the reliance of many charities on networks of volunteers, part-time employees and people who work remotely also brings up its own wellbeing challenges, as well as what Maurice Wren describes as a "churn mentality" in the voluntary sector, which leads to feelings of job insecurity. Yet, as a general rule, organisations in this sector have a smaller budget and therefore less manoeuvrability when implementing initiatives to improve employee wellbeing. There are initiatives that large, private sector companies may be able to introduce for their companies which just aren't possible for charities and Not-For-Profit organisation, such as private medical care and counselling, or complex frameworks to support employees financially. The unpredictable and unreliable nature of funding in this sector means funding for staff wellbeing and development often competes with the pressure to invest all resources into supporting vital charitable work and this, in turn, means that organisations need to rely on effective, but cheaper initiatives to support employee wellbeing - which doesn't come without challenges! Despite this, charities and Not-For-Profit organisations, again and again, find creative and effective ways to improve wellbeing in the workplace. They offer fun and relaxed office environments - with some organisations allowing pets in the office which is proven to reduce stress and provide a happier working environment - flexible working arrangements including mental health and 'duvet days', and support networks within the organisation itself, to name but a few. This sector still remains ahead of the game in understanding, showing compassion, and supporting employees' mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. Here at Pro, we pride ourselves on our commitment to the welfare of our employees. Pat Keogh, our Managing Director, founded Pro-Recruitment Group in 2007 with the vision of creating the best workplace for employees, which, in turn, he believed would equate to a successful business. Our approach to wellbeing is reflected in our 4.6 out of 5 Glassdoor rating and some of the stand-out benefits that we offer here at Pro, put in place with our employees' wellbeing in mind, include flexi-time, 'dress for your diary', free tea, coffee and fresh fruit, corporate gym membership, private healthcare, return to work meetings and a "buddy system", and the creation of a fun culture and family-feel atmosphere. We regularly meet with and speak to a range of HR professionals from the Charitable and Not-For-Profit sector, and time and time again wellbeing does seem to be at the top of many charities agendas - although, of course, there are always improvements to be made across the board when it comes to people's mental health and wellbeing. For more information on this article, contact Claire Stradling, Manager of the Charity and Not-For-Profit team here at Pro who specialise in recruiting Finance, HR and Marketing roles in the Third sector.


Mental Health and the Workplace: 4 Things Employers Should be Doing

As we all know, 'Mental Health in the Workplace' has been a hot topic over the last few years and it is good to see that a vast number of organisations are taking it far more seriously these days, with CIPD research showing a steady increase in the number of employers raising awareness of mental health across the workforce. Here at Pro-Recruitment Group, we are increasingly being asked by candidates about employer’s wellbeing policies when considering a job offer and, on some occasions, before they have even stepped through the door at interview stage. The findings of the latest annual 'Health and Wellbeing at Work' survey by the CIPD, based on replies from over 1,000 UK organisations in reference to 3.2 million employees, reflected employers' growing recognition of their critical role in improving the health of the working-age population. However, research conducted by the CIPD in partnership with Simplyhealth has shown that one in six organisations are still not doing anything to improve employee wellbeing. Stress-related absence from work has increased over the last year in nearly two-fifths of organisations and this year, an increased proportion of employees have blamed management style for this. This research also found that less than a third of senior leaders encourage a focus on mental wellbeing through their actions and behaviour - some candidates are even stating that a lack of wellbeing recognition is a key reason for leaving their current organisation. But just how damaging can a lack of acknowledgement around mental health be, not only on the individual but also when it comes to retaining and hiring employees? What can employers do? Employers can do a lot to encourage a culture of openness and to look after their employees' wellbeing - in this day and age, it’s vital that a workplace is a safe place for people to discuss mental health. Here are 4 things that organisations can do to look after employee health and wellbeing in the workplace. 1. Encouraging people to talk can be key. Although there has been a significant amount of progress recently on mental health and wellbeing, some people are still not comfortable with discussing the topic openly and may fear being stigmatised. We all want to appear strong and capable in the workplace, so this is not particularly surprising, and it can also be difficult to admit to yourself that your mental wellbeing is suffering - or indeed recognise some of the symptoms. At Pro, we have introduced wellbeing questions and objectives into our employee review and appraisal system, and wellbeing has also become a topic that we discuss alongside performance-based reviews. ​ 2. Return to work interviews are incredibly important in discovering mental health issues and ensuring an organisation is offering support to anyone affected. It is vital that these are conducted with all employees after a period of absenteeism and not just when there is a potential issue, and should be enforced as company policy for all to support people's return to the workplace. The average level of employee absence this year is the lowest ever recorded in the last nineteen years which demonstrates the improvements made in recent years to support employees. However, while minor illness remains the most common cause of work absence, mental ill health is increasingly prevalent as a cause of both short- and long-term absence. 3. Providing training and strengthening the capability of line managers in the workplace with regards to mental health is also pivotal in promoting employee wellbeing. CIPD findings showed that health and wellbeing activity has more positive outcomes where line managers are bought in to the importance of wellbeing. Managers don't need to be health experts, but it is important to recognise warning signs of ill health and recognise the value of wellbeing at work. Training and equipping employees to act as Mental Health ambassadors, or the introduction of a 'buddy system' in the workplace are also things that encourage a culture of openness around the topic of mental health. 4. Introducing wellbeing initiatives, and continuously evaluating and improving these initiatives is an important responsibility of organisations when looking out for the wellbeing of employees. Having a standalone mental health policy for employees, or initiatives like offering counselling and mental health support, employee assistance programmes, flexible working arrangements and encouraging activities that promote a healthy work-life balance are all things that will help to ensure employees feel supported at work. Here at Pro, we recently spoke to a charity who had introduced 'mental health duvet days'. The organisation allowed their employees three designated duvet days a year which were not taken from their overall holiday allowance, where they could look after their personal wellbeing. Another organisation followed a similar path, offering five 'duvet mornings' a year. This may sound generous, but organisations who have introduced initiatives such as this have found that sickness and absenteeism reduced quite significantly as a result. People are an organisation's greatest asset, and so looking after people at work in these ways should not be considered a benefit, but a necessary support for businesses and their employees. As Professor Sir Cary Cooper CBE, President of the CIPD has stated, building compassionate workplaces goes hand in hand with acknowledging the complexity of people's lives in today's modern workplace and having respect for people as individuals. Here, there is a strong association with better health and wellbeing because a compassionate culture is one which encourages trust and openness, and where people feel confident to discuss any issues and receive the support they need. Some of these may seem like small steps to make, but they are steps that could have a huge impact on the wellbeing and mental health of employees at work. As well as this, integrating compassion as part of your organisation's wellbeing strategy may end up being a huge selling point to potential candidates, as well as an effective tool for increasing staff retention and wellbeing. For more information on this article or to speak to Loren about HR initiatives or your recruiting needs, contact her on 02072696358 or


Charity Times - 23/04/2019

LEGAL Scottish charity law consultation is criticised The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) says changes to charity law proposed by government ministers are merely “tinkering around” and don't tackle key concerns. The Scottish government launched its consultation on charity law in January, proposing to increase transparency through mandating charities to publish their accounts, to provide greater independence for the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), and to streamline the regulator’s operations. But SCVO chief executive Anna Fowlie said engagement with the sector before and after the consultation was lacking, and cited concerns around the need to increase public trust in charities, make changes based on the social and political environment that charities now operate in, and redefine what public benefit means for charitable status. Fowlie said: "There is a real risk that the current proposed changes are simply tinkering around the edges, when the environment that charities now operate in has changed significantly since the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act was passed in 2005. Third Force News Civil Society GOVERNANCE Charity president accuses management of 'a culture of fear' National Childbirth Trust (NCT) president Seána Talbot has stood down and attacked the charity's leaders over changes to core strategy, a "corporate" management structure and a “culture of fear” which sees “dissent . . . being shut down.” She said in a letter written to the charity's members: “It is clear that the executive team, with the support of most of the board, have already taken the charity away from our core mission of birth and breastfeeding, and towards more generic ‘parent support’ with an emphasis on mental health.” Jessica Figueras, NCT chair of trustees, responded: “We are . . . committed to championing other issues that are important for parents including maternity care and mental health.” She also dismissed claims of a bullying culture at the charity, saying: “At NCT . . . we will not tolerate bullying or harassment of any kind.” Civil Society TAX A 'critical year' for tax The Charity Tax Group (CTG) says 2019/20 is likely to be “the most critical in decades” for shaping government policy on the reliefs received by the sector. CTG chair John Hemming said that the sector could be subject to comprehensive reform of the VAT system whether the UK remains in the EU or leaves with or without a deal. He wrote in the introduction to CTG’s annual review for 2018/19: "Irrespective of how Brexit is settled, VAT reliefs and rates will come under scrutiny because in Europe the Commission is looking to overhaul the VAT system . . . Even if the UK is no longer tied to the EU’s VAT regime, the UK government will certainly take stock of how it can best use the UK VAT system to achieve its policy goals." Referring to the expected publication in July of recommendations for potential reforms to the tax treatment of charities by the charity tax commission, Hemming said CTG has called for the charit y tax sy stem to be “future-proofed” and for long-term distortions such as irrecoverable VAT to be addressed. Civil Society FUNDRAISING Contactless donation points in local staff café FareShare South West is partnering with a local legal firm in a project which sees contactless donation points placed in the firm's staff café. The charity, which redistributes food industry surplus, has teamed up with Osborne Clarke to boost corporate giving through the convenient technology. The charity says its attempts at increasing donations through payroll giving haven't been successful, noting "there is a certain level of ‘form-filling’ and organisation involved." Charity Digital News COMMUNICATION Debt charities rebrand A London-wide partnership of more than two dozen charities is rebranding to boost its online presence and make online searches for its services easier. The rebranding of Capitalise as Debt Free London happens from April 23rd. The rebrand also includes a website overhaul to make it simpler for users. Matt Dronfield, Head of the Debt Free London partnership, said: “This change of brand to Debt Free London and our new advertising campaign will make it much easier for Londoners to find help and show them that they are not alone with their debt worries, and that help is readily at hand.” Charity Digital News Youth charity switches to the cloud Merseyside Youth Association has moved to a cloud-based phone system to reduce costs and also be ready ahead of BT’s termination of ISDN in 2025. The youth charity has replaced its private branch exchange (PBX) and integrated services digital network (ISDN) with the ISTRA cloud system developed by communications firm Centile. Charity Digital News WORKFORCE Free workplace mental health training Mind is offering free online training to small and medium sized charities to promote good mental wellbeing in the workplace. The Mental Health for Small Workplaces program features modules on building mental health awareness, advice on taking care of oneself, and tips on supporting colleagues. Faye McGuinness, Head of Workplace Wellbeing Programmes at Mind, said: “We are beginning to see employers prioritise the mental health of their staff, but we have some way to go. Not only is looking after staff the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense, resulting in increased productivity, morale and retention." Charity Times CAMPAIGNS Charity wants longer road crossing time for elderly Age UK has argued that elderly people need more time to cross the road than newly installed traffic lights allow. Concerns have been raised with Transport for London over new lights opposite Highbury and Islington underground station which give pedestrians just nine seconds to cross a 50ft stretch of road. Islington councillor Caroline Russell, who also sits on the London Assembly, said: “If you're in a wheelchair or walking with small children you need enough time when you get across the road. What it feels like is that the pedestrians are being left with scraps of time whereas the roundabout traffic is being given a lot more priority." The Daily Telegraph A third of domestic abuse victims denied help Women’s Aid reveals that at least a third of women who contacted domestic abuse services in 2017/18 did not have access to public funds – meaning they were denied support to leave their partners and refused refuge space, and either forced to stay with their partner or become homeless. Karla McLaren, Women’s Aid’s government and political relations manager, said the findings “likely just scratch the surface of the problem,” with many women “in the most vulnerable situations – those with insecure immigration status or too fearful or unable to seek help – are unable to access refuges, are afraid to report to the police,” and cannot access financial help. The Independent Charity supports school science The Wolfson Foundation is helping children in cash-strapped schools carry out scientific study by transforming worn-out labs. The foundation gives about £50,000 to each school it funds to transform science labs so that children can perform practical work. “Good practical science is crucial to educate and inspire. This needs decent quality laboratories and enough equipment to allow students to work in reasonably small groups. . . We focus our funding on schools providing outstanding teaching but in poor facilities,” said Paul Ramsbottom, the charity’s chief executive. The Times Social media triggering seizures The Epilepsy Society warns that a growing number of people with epilepsy say they are having seizures triggered by flashing images on social media. The charity wants the government's new plans to tackle "online harms" to recommend warnings about flashing images on such sites. More than 18,000 people in the UK are thought to have epilepsy that can be triggered by photosensitivity. The charity claims some cyber-bullies even post malicious content to deliberately trigger seizures, and says anyone found guilty of doing this should be prosecuted for assault. BBC News Enable magazine Town centre therapy gardens trialled The Royal Horticultural Society is funding a pilot scheme in which the charity has teamed up with doctors so that patients with mental health issues or dementia can be referred to work on allotments and herb gardens. It is hoped the trial will promote social inclusion and light exercise. Guy Barter, Chief Horticulturist at the RHS, said: “Gardens, in all their myriad forms, promote good health and wellbeing . . . Sensory gardens have educational and recreational applications and use plant choice, features and installations to stimulate each of the senses." The Daily Telegraph Back to Charity Times archive >>​


Charity Times - 16/04/2019

GOVERNANCE Garden Bridge fiasco risks undermining charities The Garden Bridge project in London risks undermining public trust and confidence in charities, according to a report from the regulator. The Charity Commission said that the project to build a pedestrian bridge over the Thames, which was cancelled in 2017, was a "failure for charity." There was no evidence of mismanagement at the Garden Bridge Trust but the commission said the episode raised serious questions about how a newly created charity was given responsibility for spending a sum of £50m. “We have made clear to the trustees that the charity has not displayed the level of transparency and accountability that we would expect, given the nature and profile of its work,” said the report, which describes the project a “high profile and expensive failure”. Charity Times Civil Society UKFundraising Trustees removed after probe into cash couriering The Charity Commission has dissolved Worldwide Ummah Aid (WUA), a charity which operated to relieve poverty in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, after charitable funds were found to have been misused, cash was taken overseas, and trustees used funds for personal expenses. WUA has been removed from the register and its charitable funds redistributed to another charity. Amy Spiller, Head of Investigations Team at the Charity Commission, said: "Charities hold a special status in society and trustees should be their careful custodians, ensuring all decisions are taken in the best interest of the charity’s mission and purpose . . . Through their misconduct and mismanagement the trustees jeopardised the trust that donors placed in those responsible for the charity. It’s therefore right that the Commission acted to disqualify the trustees responsible." Accountancy Daily GOV.UK Details of new Code of Fundraising Practice are revealed The chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator has revealed details of the new Code of Fundraising Practice that is to come into force later this year. Gerald Oppenheim has said there was "broad support" in the consultation period last year for changing the code and it will be written in plainer English and include definitions of legalese to aid comprehension. The code, which is expected to come into effect in October, is also to be made more accessible online. Civil Society STRATEGY Charities and government to create Youth Charter Youth charities including The Scouts, The Prince’s Trust, UK Youth, Step up to Serve, Youth United Foundation, British Youth Council, Girlguiding, NCS Trust and National Youth Agency are partnering with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to create a new Youth Charter to coordinate government youth policy. The charter seeks to centralise different youth services and offer young people the opportunity to raise concerns about societal issues. In a joint statement, the organisations said: “We are backing a new Youth Charter to put young people where they belong, at the top of the agenda. Through developing and delivering a cohesive approach to services for young people we can improve inequality and social mobility, generate positive outcomes that benefit wider socie ty, and unlock cost savings in health, criminal justice, and social care.” Civil Society New online guides for smaller charities Inspiring Impact is a new website funded by the National Lottery and run by sector organisations that offers online guides and tools to help smaller charities measure the impact of their work. Joe Ferns, UK Funding Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: "More community organisations and charities will be able to better plan, measure and improve their impact with Inspiring Impact’s new website and tools,” adding "with the help of peer learning networks and free online resources, more and more communities across the UK can thrive.” More than 110,000 individuals have already used the resources. Charity Digital News FUNDRAISING Tiltify launches to UK charities Peer to peer fundraising platform Tiltify, which helps nonprofits raise money through livestream broadcasting activities, has launched to UK charities. WaterAid will use Tiltify for livestream campaign fundraising in campaigns and the platform is also working with Make-a-Wish UK, Cats Protection UK and The Diana Award. Tiltify chief executive Michael Wasserman says: “Tiltify allows anyone and everyone to reach new audiences from around the world and capitalise on the opportunity with easy-to-use features unique to our platform – like polling, rewards and milestones – that engage and motivate donors to open their wallets.” UKFundraising Big Issue Foundation accepts digital wallet donations The Big Issue Foundation is now able to receive donations via digital wallet services such as Apple Pay and Google Pay following a partnership with Donr. Rhia Docherty, The Big Issue Foundation’s Individual Giving and Support Services Manager, said: “Donr’s Text Giving service is very effective, affordable and easy to use. This is also the first time we have been able to accept donation’s via digital wallet services like Apple Pay and Google Pay. Donr’s innovative platform will help us to future-proof donations in the digital age.” UKFundraising Charity Times Charity Digital News Awards celebrate nation of fundraising shopkeepers The Daily Telegraph talks with Rufus Bazley, marketing director of BusinessesForSale, about the Small Business Big Heart Awards. Launched in 2016, the awards celebrate small businesses and the impact they can have on their local communities through charity work. Mr Bazley commissioned research which found that 72% of small businesses in the UK donate in some way to one or more good causes. Ninety-two per cent of those businesses supported small, local and independent community organisations. The Daily Telegraph VOLUNTEERS Young people are keenest to volunteer Under 25s volunteer more than older age groups, according to research from GoFundMe . Two-fifths (41%) of people aged 16-24 volunteer twice a month – but only one-fifth (19%) of other age groups volunteered time to help charities or good causes in their communities. Meanwhile, three-fifths (61%) of people over the age of 55 said that they never volunteered time; only a quarter (25%) of those under 25 said likewise. UKFundraising RISK Cybersecurity grants for charities in Scotland Charities in Scotland are being invited to bid for grants of up to £1,000 to invest in cybersecurity. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is making the money available to help charities achieve accreditation in the nationally recognised Cyber Essentials scheme. The deadline for applications is 5pm, Friday April 26th. Charity Digital News CAMPAIGNS Scottish Government’s approach to mental health is lacking, charities say Scottish ministers are failing to do enough to tackle the growing mental health crisis in schools, campaigners have warned. Leading charities said the Scottish Government was too focused on the treatment of pupils once they had developed mental health issues. Instead, they want a greater focus on teaching pupils the skills they need to cope with stress. The Mental Health Foundation and Barnado's say personal and social education (PSE) should be placed at the heart of the school curriculum. Kirsten Hogg from Barnardo’s said health and mental wellbeing of pupils remained the "poor relation" to literacy and numeracy, and the focus on counselling “runs the risk of medicalising pupil experiences." The Herald Charity calls for non means-tested legal aid funding for inquests into state-related deaths The Ministry of Justice spent £4.2m representing prison officers at inquests, while paying out only £92,000 in legal aid for bereaved families at hearings that examine deaths in prison, according to figures released by Inquest. The charity, which supports families in coroner’s courts, is calling for automatic, non means-tested legal aid funding to families to pay for specialist legal representation immediately after a state-related death. Rebecca Roberts, Inquest’s head of policy, said: “Inquests following state-related deaths are intended to seek the truth and expose unsafe practices. Yet bereaved families are facing well-funded legal teams defending the interests and reputations of state and corporate bodies, who work together to shut down or narrow lines of enquiry.” The Guardian The Times Scheme aims to help the vulnerable stay safe The Keep Safe initiative, a partnership between Police Scotland and charity I Am Me, has been launched in Moray. The initiative aims to help ensure that disabled and vulnerable people feel more safe when out and about in their communities. The scheme will see networks of local shops, businesses and organisations set up, providing Keep Safe places for disabled, elderly and vulnerable people to go to if they are lost, scared, need help, or if they are the victim of a crime. Keep Safe has been successfully launched in a number of other local authority areas, with more than 250 participating premises across Scotland. Aberdeen Press and Journal Back to Charity Times archive >>


Charity Times - 09/04/2019

FUNDRAISING Charities aren't using tech to best effect A new survey suggests charities aren't making effective use of technology to increase giving. The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF)’s Charity Landscape 2019 survey of charity leaders found that only 29% of respondents believed charities are making optimum use of technology to boost donations. CAF is urging charities to embrace technology and calls on them to “seek out passionate employees and leaders to help demonstrate the potential for charities and those developing new technologies to work together.” The survey also found that almost two-thirds (63%) of charity leaders think Brexit will have a negative effect on their organisation, and exposes friction in the sector’s relationship with government. Only a fifth (21%) of charity leaders believe the government values charities’ advocacy role and ability to offer constructive criticism. Elsewhere, the survey underscores the challenges posed by negative media publicity following scandals involving fundraising practices and safeguarding. “All organisations are operating in a difficult political and social landscape at the moment; the charity sector is no exception to this,” said CAF head of research Susan Pinkney. Charity Digital News Charity Times UKFundraising Call for ringfencing of tampon tax money The Women’s Resource Centre (WRC), a women's charity umbrella group, says the levy from sanitary products - the so-called "tampon tax" - isn't reaching charities because the application process requires a minimum bid of £1m or more to be considered. An open letter to civil society minister Mims Davies says this means smaller charities can't access the fund and the signatories have called on the government to act as a “matter of urgency.” The letter states: "These charities are often grassroots, locally embedded and relatively small in size compared to larger generic charities that do not have a core focus or specialism in services for women. Due to the fund criteria, there are a very small number of women’s charities in a position to bid alone.” Civil Society Report supports expanding charity dormant assets scheme A scheme to reallocate dormant assets to charitable causes could be extended to the investment and wealth management sector following the publication of a government-commissioned report. The report, The Dormant Assets Scheme: A Blueprint for Expansion, was commissioned by the government from finance industry champions and details how to expand the dormant assets scheme and release more funds for “good causes.” It found that extending the scheme to other financial services, including the insurance and pensions sector, could "significantly expand the money available." City AM Civil Society Third Sector Remember A Charity launches new strategy A three-year strategy has been launched by Remember A Charity to grow the donor market and normalise legacy giving. The consortium says it's on target to reach its long-term aim of reaching 18% for the percentage of charitable estates "at probate" by 2021 and that over the next three years will focus on addressing the "current disconnect among those who are aware of legacy giving and those considering it." Civil Society RISK One in five charities hit by cyber attacks More than a fifth (22%) of charities have reported a cybersecurity attack over the last 12 months, according to a government survey. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2019 found that the most common form of attack involved phishing, which was mentioned by 81% of charities that had been affected. The average cost of an incident was £9,470 in 2019, although the survey report suggests the cost may be much higher. "The indirect costs, long-term costs and intangible costs of breaches – things like lost productivity or reputational damage – tend to be overlooked . . . This means that, when organisations reflect on their approaches to cybersecurity, they may be undervaluing the true cost and impact of cybersecurity breaches,” the report said. Charity Digital News Third Force News GOVERNANCE Charities shortlisted for Charity Governance Awards Twenty-one UK charities have been shortlisted to receive one of seven Charity Governance Awards. Each award includes a £5,000 unrestricted grant. The shortlisted charities are: Contact, Manchester Young People’s Theatre Ltd; SignHealth; University of Bristol Students’ Union (Bristol SU); Home-Start Richmond, Kingston and Hounslow; Parents and Children Together (PACT); Sheffield Flourish (Recovery Enterprises); Camuscross & Duisdale Initiative; Coventry & Warwickshire Mind; The Unicorn Centre (Riding for the Disabled Association); Green’s Windmill Trust; St Peter’s Community Wellbeing Projects; The Commonwealth Resounds; Derry Well Women; Friends of St Ni cholas F ields; Muslim Women’s Network UK; FareShare; The Forward Trust; YMCA North Tyneside; Dementia UK; Dorset Mind; and The Patients Association. Awards chair Michael Jarvis said: "Our shortlisted candidates have proved that low budgets, limited resources and other pressures need not be an obstacle to digital innovation, building diverse and vibrant boards, or turning around the most difficult of situations.” UKFundraising Partnership will develop safeguarding resources A coalition of 13 national umbrella bodies and organisations, led by the NCVO, is coming together to develop a suite of free safeguarding resources for the voluntary sector. The Safer Social Sector Partnership will develop safeguarding tools and advice to ensure all voluntary organisations are a safe place for beneficiaries, volunteers and staff. Elizabeth Chamberlain, head of policy at NCVO said: “Safeguarding is a key priority for everyone within the voluntary sector, regardless of the size of the organisation or the activity it carries out. The strength and breadth of this partnership is testament to how committed we all are to getting it right by coming together to drive improvement, creating environments that are safe for all.” UKFundraising Civil Society Charities urged to reveal how much Gift Aid they receive Charity tax minister Robert Jenrick says he would like to see “greater transparency” over fees charged by donation sites and has called on all charities to reveal how much Gift Aid they receive. Mr Jenrick, speaking to attendees at the Charity Tax Group’s annual conference, said improved transparency was “vital to maintaining public trust” in the tax reliefs provided to the sector. He also said: “I would like all charities, led by the largest ones, to publicly report the amount of Gift Aid they receive . . . I have asked the Charity Commission to consider how this could be done." Civil Society WORKFORCE Gender pay gap at largest charities dips 7% Analysis of government gender pay gap statistics indicates that the pay differential among the 50 largest charities has decreased by 7% this year. Marie Stopes International has the largest pay gap in the sector, with a mean gap of 44.7% in favour of men. Civil Society CAMPAIGNS Charities slam ‘inadequate’ clean air funding Green campaigners have criticised the government’s announcement of £3m in funding to support 28 local authority air pollution projects as inadequate given the scale of the problem. Air pollution, including gases and particulates, is linked to 40,000 deaths in the UK each year, and conditions ranging from lung cancer to psychosis. While environment minister Therese Coffey said the funding “demonstrates the government’s commitment to supporting the local momentum needed to continue to improve our air now and for future generations,” Areeba Hamid from Greenpeace UK said: “Air pollution is a national crisis, so throwing as little as £3m at the problem is about as effective as chucking your small change into a wishing well in the hope a solution will appear.” Public Health England has estimated the health and social care costs of air pollution as likely to approach £19bn a year by 203 5 withou t drastic action. The Independent All secondary pupils in Scotland to get CPR training A national campaign by the British Heart Foundation Scotland has achieved its aim of ensuring all secondary school pupils receive CPR tuition, after Moray, Falkirk and Fife Councils pledged to join the other 29 local authorities already signed up to provide the training. David McColgan from BHF Scotland said it was “fantastic news,” and that the charity had been “absolutely overwhelmed by the response we have received to our Nation of Lifesavers campaign and delighted to have achieved our ambition in such a short space of time.” The campaign started in May last year, with Glasgow City Council becoming the first Scottish local authority to sign up. The Scotsman Glasgow Evening Times Aberdeen Evening Express Thousands struggling with guarantor loans According to data from debt charity Stepchange, appeals for advice from people with guarantor loans who get into debt difficulties have risen 35-fold over the past six years. Stepchange said that 6.2% of clients last year had guarantor debts, up from 0.3% in 2012. For those with guarantor debts, they amounted to 36.3% of their total debts, up from 19.1% in 2012. Peter Tutton, head of policy at Stepchange, called on the Financial Conduct Authority “to keep a close eye on where this small but growing part of the market may be creating problems for consumers - whether they are the original borrower or the guarantor”. The Times​ Back to Charity Times archive >>


Charity Times - 02/04/2019

GOVERNANCE Guidance for charities linked with non-charities The Charity Commission has published guidance on charities with a connection to a non-charity following a consultation on its draft guidelines last year. The guidance seeks to help charities profit from partnerships with non-charities while managing the risks, and includes specific applications to fundraising including corporate foundations, charities with trading subsidiaries, and charities that fund or receive funding from a non-charity. Helen Stephenson, the regulator's chief executive, said: "Operating alongside other organisations should always be well considered and trustees must manage the risks that can arise carefully, and with probity . . . No charity should ever use or be used by non-charitable organisations to pursue uncharitable interests.” UKFundraising Charity Times Civil Society Most complaints to Fundraising Regulator in 2017/18 were upheld Most (81%) of the complaints made to the Fundraising Regulator between April 2017 and August 2018 were upheld, according to the regulator's Complaints Report, based on 78 investigations over the period. The regulator found 63 of the cases constituted a breach of the standards expected of charities in the UK and the most common type of breaches were about general principles and complaints, third party fundraisers and personal data. Gerald Oppenheim, chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator, said: “Our Complaints Report is vital to our understanding of fundraising standards in the UK and helps us inform our work. Complaints made by the public make an important contribution to the way we, charities and their fundraising partners learn from concerns and make improvements. We will continue to review and evaluate the complaints process and we look forward to working closely with charities to ensure high standards of fundrais ing prac tice are maintained.” UKFundraising Charity Times Good causes benefit following regulator's inquiry More than £13m has been distributed to charities following an investigation by the regulator into poverty charity Relief for Distressed Children and Young People. The probe by the Charity Commission identified breaches of trust and duty by trustees including the misapplication of funds and a failure to manage conflicts of interest. The charity’s former chairperson has been removed and disqualified from serving as a charity trustee or holding any senior management function of any charity in England and Wales. Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement at the Charity Commission, said: “Our inquiry has relentlessly pursued these funds so that a significant sum could be safeguarded and applied to good causes." UKFundraising Charity inquiry forces metal producer to delay results London-listed iron ore producer Ferrexpo has delayed the publication of its annual results for a second time amid an investigation into financial discrepancies at a charity it funds in Ukraine. The company said in February that it was carrying out an independent review because charity bank statements provided to Deloitte, Ferrexpo's auditor, contained "unexplained discrepancies." Last month it delayed its results after the independent review committee, working with advisers at BDO, also identified "a number of discrepancies on the application of funds by Blooming Land and its sub-funds, which indicates that the funds may not all have been used for their stated purpose." The Times STRATEGY Charities must ask themselves fundamental questions NCVO chief executive Sir Stuart Etherington has told the Council's annual conference that the charity sector must embrace change as its enters "a new economic phase" and he urged charities to ask themselves "fundamental questions" about how they operate if they want to stay successful. He told the audience gathered for his last annual state of the sector address at the conference that "Change can be uncomfortable . . . But change and renewal are part of life.," adding “Without change and renewal you will be overtaken by the world. That isn’t good enough for our sector. You must always seek to be in the driving seat, leading the way.” Civil Society LEGAL Government withdraws ‘myth busting’ guide The Department for Education has withdrawn a social care ‘myth busting’ guide after a legal challenge disputing its accuracy. Last month, children's rights charity Article 39 launched High Court proceedings against the government over claims the guide for local authorities "removes important statutory safeguards" for children. The charity has previously said that the guidance produced by the DfE's children's social care innovation programme features "numerous errors and misrepresentations of the statutory framework" on how social workers should support children in care. A joint letter detailing the legal inaccuracies in the document, which was signed by 50 charities and social work experts, was delivered to children's minister Nadhim Zahawi in September last year. The DfE said it had taken the decision to remove the guidance from circulation, rather than "divert time and public money to litigation". Children & Young People Now Community Care CAMPAIGNS Autism awareness campaign launched Third Force News reports on what charitable organisations in Scotland are doing during World Autism Awareness Week 2019. Inspiring Scotland is encouraging people to see autism as a different way of looking at the world instead of a disorder that can be cured. Celia Tennant, the charity's chief executive, applauded the Scottish Government's work to improve support for people with autism, saying: “We . . . welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to improving the lives of autistic people. These steps aim to increase society’s understanding of autism, to move away from stereotypes and to make clear the many strengths autistic people bring to society." Third Force News FUNDRAISING Taskforce will tackle sexual harassment in fundraising The Institute of Fundraising is setting up a taskforce to counter sexual harassment in fundraising. Amanda Bringans, the Institute’s chair, said: “Fundraising is a profession for everyone. We do brilliant things that raise vital funds for good causes. All this should be done in a safe and respectful environment. We will work to clamp down on unacceptable behaviour and ensure our fundraising community is a safe space for everyone.” The Institute said it could “name and shame” and then expel members who are found to have committed misconduct. "We want to actively encourage people to come forward and report complaints if they have experienced sexual harassment by a member of the Institute or at an Institute event, no matter when that incident happened. Those incidents will be investigated fully, even if the person complained of resigns their membership of the Institute," said Bringan s. UKFundraising Third Force News Charity Times £15m Tampon Tax Fund allocated to 10 charities The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has announced that the latest round of funding from the Tampon Tax Fund sees £15m awarded to 10 charity groups to focus on women's issues. The recipients of the fund are UK Community Foundations (UKCF), Homeless Link, Spirit of 2012, Gamcare, Crisis UK, SACRO, Southall Black Sisters, Changing Lives, Comic Relief and Youth Access. UKCF received the largest proportion of funding, with £3.5m. Civil society minister Mims Davies said: “It is absolutely right we invest money from sanitary products in projects to give more women and girls the help and support they need to address difficult challenges they face in society.” Civil Society HMCTS’ new legacy notification service - update The Institute of Legacy Management (ILM) and other professionals from the charity sector have attended the inaugural meeting of Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) working group on the new system which will alert charities to donations in wills. This comes after its announcement that Smee & Ford has been given notice on its contract. ILM reported that the consensus of the meeting was productive, while HMCTS confirmed its commitment to openness throughout the process. Ed Owen, Director of Communications at HMCTS, remarked: “We held a very positive and productive first meeting with representatives of the charity sector on this issue, and we are grateful to them for their insight on key issues.” Today’s Wills and Probate OTHER Taunton cancer centre plans anger locals Residents say they are angry and disappointed after plans to build a £5m cancer centre in Taunton on protected land were approved. Taunton Deane Borough Council approved the Maggie's charity plan to build the centre on land at Galmington Playing Fields, next to Musgrove Park Hospital. Campaigner Bev Fernandes said: "I'm very disappointed but the fight will go on." Other critics have raised concerns over the lack of parking facilities which already causes problems around Musgrove Park Hospital. The new building is expected to make matters worse, say protestors. BBC News ​ Back to Charity Times archive >>


Mental Health at Work

Did you know that 91 million working days are lost each year in the UK, due to mental ill-health? This includes stress, depression and anxiety. This figure outweighs more than any other illnesses in the UK. It is evident that problems surrounding mental health in the workplace have been prevalent for a long while, with shocking findings revealed in the “Thriving at Work Report” commissioned by Theresa May back in December 2017. One in four people will experience a mental health problem each year, and as many as 300,000 people a year lose their jobs due to long-term mental health conditions, costing the UK’s employers over 42 billion pounds annually. So what are the reasons behind these worrying statistics? According to mental health campaigners, evidence suggests it is due to a lack of support and understanding from our employers, and these figures really got me thinking about how we can improve the state of the country’s mental health, particularly in the workplace. Having moved to Pro-Group from another recruitment company, I considered the reasons why I chose to join Pro. Other than the obvious reasons in terms of the role itself, a huge part of my choice came down to personal happiness. Pro seemed to follow the philosophy that a happier workforce is, indeed, a healthier and more productive one. So where can our employers find inspiration to make the workplace happier and hopefully, as a result, healthier? Rather than simply focusing on the UK workforce, my mind wandered to the rest of the world. I was interested to find out which countries are home to the happiest people and why. What could the UK learn from these countries? Could we be doing something differently? Or, thinking like a stereotypical Brit, could it simply be a matter of sunnier climates further afield that make a country a happier place to live and work? For a nation who famously would rather talk about the weather, isn’t it time we opened up about the issues that are really getting us down? Why is mental health still such a taboo subject for us Brits? Whilst considering this, I came across something called “The World Happiness Report” (Yes, that’s really a thing!) This landmark survey was conducted by The United Nations and released in March this year, and focused on happiness and community: how happiness has evolved over the past dozen years and how information technology, governance and social norms influence communities and the happiness of individuals. Professor John Helliwell, co-editor of the report, has said that 'how communities interact with each other whether in schools, workplaces, neighbourhoods or on social media has profound effects on world happiness.' When it came to the results of the report, Europe dominated the happiest countries globally and Nordic countries dominated Europe - with Finland scoring first place but all five Nordic countries making the top ten. Perhaps surprisingly considering the socio-economic and political climate the UK has witnessed in recent years, we climbed to 15th position this year! I wondered how closely happiness and a healthy mind are related, particularly in this day and age and interestingly, it appears that in the wealthiest countries in the world, mental health was considered an imperative factor in the personal happiness of the country’s population. More so, even, than income, employment, or physical health. Famous for his outlandish and often pioneering concepts, Sir Richard Branson recently announced that he would be offering his staff “unlimited annual leave”. His reasons for this being that it would improve productivity, creativity and employee morale. Indeed, recent research conducted by the CIPD supports this idea, with the majority of UK workers saying flexible working was important to them. More and more companies are beginning to offer extended holiday allowance and flexible working arrangements to their employees, and countries like Germany and Sweden have even experimented with shorter, 6-hour working days and have reported a reduction in sick days and an increase in productivity. Something which is becoming increasingly popular, particularly in smaller companies, is allowing pets in the office! 34% of those who work in an office which permits pets were found to be happier and healthier, and 86% say pets at work reduce stress. Somewhat closer to home, mentioning no names of course - we have an employee suggestion forum here at Pro-Group. One idea recently pitched, was an annual “duvet day” allowance, so that staff could simply call in a rest day if they felt they really needed it. Madness? Or a necessary progression to suit our modern times? Are these ideas something we seriously need to consider in order to improve our mental health as a nation? Going back to the figures I mentioned earlier – mental health-related issues are costing the country’s employers a massive amount each year. Bearing a large amount of the responsibility of advising on these matters, are very often the UK’s HR professionals. As a specialist recruiter in the HR market, I’m interested to find out what challenges HR professionals are facing in relation to this topic and what their recommendations would be for employers to improve the mental health of their workforce. Let’s put our minds to some positive use and start talking about mental health in the workplace. For more information about this article, or to speak to Claire about your recruiting needs, contact her on 020 7269 6351 or email


Charity Times - 26/03/2019

STRATEGY 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.” Civil Society 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." Charity Today 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. The Guardian LEGAL ‘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”. Third Sector FUNDRAISING 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. Charity Digital News UKFundraising Civil Society UKFundraising 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. Charity Digital News 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. Yorkshire Post SUPPORT 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 CAMPAIGNS 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?’". WessexFM 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." Yorkshire Post 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”. Daily Mail OTHER 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 ​Back to Charity Times archive >>


Healthy Work-Life Balance - Advice For Employers

Maintaining a good work-life balance can be difficult, but there are ways that you, as an employer can make sure that pressures of the UK’s work culture don’t negatively affect the lives of your employees outside of work. Creating a good balance between time allocated for work and leisure is important to our overall wellbeing and happiness, yet research has shown that almost one-third of UK employees feel they don’t have a good work-life balance. The recent sophistication in personal technology has blurred boundaries between the office and home life, and this combined with the expectation in some workplaces to remain “switched on” makes it more difficult to “switch off” from work mode and have a separate life outside. However, there are various ways to achieve a positive work-life balance - we’ve listed some helpful tips in this short read below! 4 Tell-Tale Signs Of An Unhealthy Work-Life Balance Regularly working long days and feeling unhappy about the time you spend at work A study by the Mental Health Foundation found that as weekly hours increased, so did the unhappiness of employees, with 27% of respondents reporting feeling depressed, 34% feeling anxious, and 58% feeling irritable. Neglecting aspects of your life outside of work The same study also found that nearly two-thirds of respondents experienced a negative effect on their personal life as a direct result of work, including physical and mental health problems, poor relationships and poor home life. Regularly taking your work home with you If you find yourself or your employees checking work emails regularly at home, or working on the weekends this could be a sign of a poor work-life balance - research even found that 44% of employees did some form of work while on their annual leave. Constantly feeling physically or emotionally drained A noticeable increase in both physical and emotional fatigue and in your intake of caffeine, alcohol or nicotine could indicate being overworked and unable to concentrate properly at work or relax in your spare time. 4 Things You Can Do As An Employer Work-related stress costs Britain on average 10.4 million working days per year! Here are just a few examples of things that employers can do to ensure employees are maintaining a good work-life balance. Encourage activities that promote a healthy work-life balance Offer discounted gym membership or promote group lunchtime exercise to encourage employees to exercise, or encourage relaxation or meditative activities to relieve stress. Encourage a culture of openness about workload and responsibilities If employers encourage communication between themselves and employees regarding time constraints and workload, they can ensure employee’s jobs are manageable and avoid unnecessary work-related stress. Develop policies specifically related to work-life balance Consider providing better training to managers so they can spot stress and poor work-life balance, and allow staff members to attend counselling and support services during working hours (as they would for other medical appointments). Additionally, the number of companies offering flexible working arrangements to best suit employees has increased significantly in recent years, and this can make a huge difference! Last but not least, promote messages of maintaining a good work-life balance If employees are shown that a healthy work-life balance is important, employers may well find that people are happier coming to work, productivity is boosted, and people’s overall wellbeing is improved. Here at Pro, we believe a healthy work-life balance is key and we offer everyone in the Pro family flexible working arrangements as well as countless benefits, while encouraging everyone to pursue a good work-life balance. As a result of getting the environment and the culture right at Pro, the by-product is happy employees and company-wide success. For more information about this article, or to speak to Ellie about your recruiting needs, contact her on 020 7123 5058 or


6 Point Checklist: Keeping Your Staff Happy

There are six needs a human has in order to be happy, if you are an employer and you want your staff to stay, simply put, keep them happy! Otherwise, you run the risk of them leaving – maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but they will. So I wanted to run through these needs with you in hope that you can assess and reflect on how your employees are treated. Hopefully, you can improve internal conditions and retain your staff for longer. 1. Certainty It goes without saying that everyone needs to feel stable to a certain extent. With this being said, you need to ensure that your staff feel their job is secure. Making sure that they are aware of how well the company is doing is important and putting any negative rumours to bed is paramount. Reassuring your staff of their value to you and the company are all key duties of an attentive and successful employer. 2. Variety Variety is the spice of life! It is necessary to expose staff to new areas, for example, working with different organisations or taking on new duties. It could even be a secondment to another division or a chance to get involved in a unique project, all of this can really make a difference to your staff’s happiness. 3. Significance Everyone loves to feel important! We like to think that our actions have an impact in the world and that we add real value. If someone is doing a good job, ensure that they know about it. Making sure that people know that they are valued will go a long way in the company. This can be reflected by pay rises, job titles or simply heaping praise on someone in front of others. No member of staff should be made to feel like an unnecessary cog in the machine. 4. Connection Team rapport is essential for any company to be successful. Team building activities, nights out and regular meetings are all great ways to ensure that your staff are bonding and the change of scenery can only add to this positive feeling. This is something many companies miss out on and it really does make a difference. The Team here at Pro is so well bonded and this has a hugely positive effect on our work and morale. 5. Growth People like to feel that they are growing/progressing in life. In order to achieve growth, they must be challenged, do not let someone stagnate! One of the top reasons people move to another organisation is because they feel they are not challenged and not learning. Push your staff and let them grow! Targets and goals leading to promotions/pay rise, regular performance reviews and one to ones are vital in order to fulfil the need for growth. 6. Contribution This is really tied in with several other points in this blog post, you need to constantly remind your staff of how they're contributing to the company and how well they are doing! In summary, there are a lot of points above that feel very obvious but I’m aware of a huge number of companies that do not implement the simplest of these policies. It’s essential to take a step back sometimes and ask yourself how happy your staff are. Are you meeting all of their needs? If not, why not!? Our market is service based and customer driven, it is vital to keep your staff happy and not just to retain their efforts but to deliver a good service. Richard Branson springs to mind: Clients do not come first, employees come first. Look after the employees and they will look after the clients To speak to Pat about ideas on how to motivate your teams or to discuss your recruiting needs or jobs in London or Nationwide, contact him on 02072696311 or



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