Charity Times – 18/02/2020

GOVERNANCE

Fourteen members appointed to SORP committee

Fourteen members have been newly appointed to the Charities Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) committee. The move is part of an attempt to make the accounts of charities more user-friendly for the public, funders and others, and to make preparation easier for smaller charities. For the first time, the committee will include organisations which work closely with charities and have a working knowledge of charity accounts, as well as greater membership from smaller charities. Civil Society highlights that ten men and four women have been appointed to the new committee, with those involved in the hiring process acknowledging a lack of diversity in the appointments and saying they will be seeking to widen the pool of applicants in future. Laura Anderson, joint chair of the SORP-making body and head of professional advice and intelligence at OSCR, the Scottish charities regulator, said: “When the SORP-making body next meets, we will discuss a strategy for engaging with people from diverse backgrounds in the SORP-making process, including through engagement partners. We will also reflect on how we can reach out to a wider range of people when we next recruit a SORP committee.”

GOV.UK  Foreign Affairs  Civil Society

London charity is probed over financial concerns

The Charity Commission has launched a statutory inquiry into The Everlasting Arms Ministries, a South London-based charity, over serious concerns about its financial management. The regulator is particularly concerned about the 2016 sale of a property on the Old Kent Road in South London. The proceeds of the sale do not appear to be adequately reflected in the charity’s accounts for the following years. The Commission is also concerned about payments made to individuals connected to the charity, including its trustees. The charity’s bank accounts have been frozen by the watchdog, and the trustees have been ordered to provide information to the inquiry, which opened on December 30th 2019.

GOV.UK

Misconduct claims at LGBT charity

Scotland’s charity regulator has taken action against the Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual Community Project Limited following claims of misconduct. An independent party has now been appointed to run the charity after its remaining trustee stepped down. A spokesperson for the regulator said: “OSCR has appointed an interim judicial factor to manage the affairs of the charity. This action was taken following notification that the only active charity trustee of the charity had resigned. As a result of our inquiry it appears that there has been misconduct in the administration of the charity and that it is necessary to act for the purposes of protecting the property of the charity.”

Third Force News

FUNDRAISING

Institute of Fundraising to get Royal Charter status

The Institute of Fundraising (IoF) has been granted chartered status by the Queen. The charter becomes legally effective once the IoF receives the Royal Seal, which CEO Peter Lewis said is expected to “happen within the next few months.” The Institute will legally become the Chartered Institute of Fundraising upon its receipt of the Royal Seal. Chartered status symbolises an enhanced recognition of the profession of fundraising at government level. The IoF observes on its website: “Fundraisers have often felt that fundraising is not recognised as a profession, either by the public or the organisations for whom they work. This is changing gradually, but many still feel some people outside the sector don’t see fundraising as a credible career, profession or even a proper paid job. Becoming a chartered body will give fundraising the external recognition it deserves as a respected profession that delivers public benefit here and abroad.”

Civil Society  UKFundraising

Charity receives €10m legacy

The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) has benefitted from a €10m legacy for its work in Galway in the Republic of Ireland. The bequest from Maureen O’Connell was initially received in 2007 and at the time was worth €7.73m. This sum has grown to €10.5m through accumulated bank interest and other income. Harry Kenney, chairman of the Maureen O’Connell Bequest Committee, said the investments made by the charity, including capital projects, “would not have been possible without the kindness and generosity of the late Maureen O’Connell for which we are very grateful.”

UKFundraising

MANAGEMENT

Action for Children chief resigns

Julie Bentley is stepping down as chief executive of Action for Children after 18 months in the role. Bentley, who said she had resigned for personal reasons, joined the charity in August 2018, and had previously been chief executive at Girlguiding. She will hand over at the end of this month to Carol Iddon, the charity’s deputy chief executive, who will lead the organisation until the appointment of an interim chief executive. An Action for Children spokesperson said: “[Bentley] has been an incredibly visible frontline chief executive inspiring staff across the UK and during her time, she’s led the work to develop a new brand, vision, mission and values as well as pioneering the launch of our Choose Childhood campaign.”

Civil Society  Third Sector

WORKFORCE

Charity workers’ strike ballot over holidays

Unite union members at Dundee Independent Advocacy Support (DIAS), an advocacy service part-funded by Dundee City Council and the NHS that provides support for vulnerable adults, are voting on strike action. The dispute centres on an enforced change to terms and conditions affecting union membership. Unite regional industrial officer George Ramsay said: “The changes will result in the removal of holidays which were given instead of an annual pay increase. The newly appointed DIAS board has decided to withdraw these holidays. To make matters worse, the organisation has refused to talk with Unite in order to listen and respond to our legitimate concerns.” The union ballot closes on Thursday.

Third Force News

GOVERNMENT

Oliver Dowden is new DCMS secretary

Oliver Dowden is the new Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the department overseeing charities. He replaces Nicky Morgan in prime minister Boris Johnson’s reshuffle. Meanwhile, Baroness Barran has been reappointed as minister for civil society.

Charity Times  Civil Society

CAMPAIGNS

Charity coalition demands Home Office respects rights of asylum seekers

A coalition of charities which includes the Scottish Refugee Council, JustRight, and Shelter, among others, has urged the UK government to “cease to use destitution as a policy tool.” The group’s report, published this week, also outlines nine other recommendations for local, national and UK governments to prevent extreme poverty in immigrant communities. These include calling on the Scottish Government “to ensure lock changes are unlawful” in the wake of the Scottish Court of Session ruling that Serco evictions were legal in November last year. Other recommendations include restoring asylum seekers’ right to work, extra protections for people who face barriers to return which are beyond their control, and that the Scottish Government and local authorities ensure the anti-destitution s trategy announced in the recent Budget does not fall short.

The National  The Herald

More support urged for young carers

Action for Children has released a report which details the lives of young carers. It is calculated that they are spending an average of 25 hours a week looking after loved ones, with the unpaid work the equivalent of £12,000 a year on a part-time carer’s wage. Describing this as a “hidden child workforce,” the charity said the amount of responsibility being placed upon children is “appalling”. It wants the government to ensure all young carers have access to respite services, the current provision of which is deemed “patchy.”

BBC News  Daily Mirror

Charity gives £200,000 to promote bagpipes in schools

The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT) is giving more Scots youngsters the chance to learn the bagpipes in schools by donating more than £200,000 to its national lending service. The charity has loaned 305 sets of pipes to schools, councils and community groups across Scotland since launching its service in 2015. Sandra Taylor, music service coordinator at Fife Council, said: “An increase in piping provision in Fife in August 2014 was warmly welcomed and was greatly supported by the loan of 50 sets of bagpipes from the SSPDT.”

The Sunday Post

OTHER

The most peculiar items donated to Mind shops

Mental health charity Mind has shared its latest list of the most peculiar items donated to its shops in the last year, including a set of false teeth, a used toilet seat (both thrown away), and a see-through pair of men’s trousers and matching shirt. Andrew Vale, Director of Mind Retail, nevertheless observed: “We are so grateful that people across the country donate to Mind shops … Last year thousands of donations were made to our 167 Mind shops, allowing us to help over 118,000 people through our helplines.”

UKFundraising