Charity Times – 25/02/2020

GOVERNANCE

Regulator to probe concerns about Alzheimer’s Society

The Charity Commission is to investigate a complaint about the Alzheimer’s Society which it didn’t respond to in 2018, following a report in The Guardian at the weekend. The newspaper said the charity has reportedly spent £750,000 on non-disclosure agreements to silence staff, according to a complaint from a whistleblower. The complainant contacted the Charity Commission but the watchdog admits it failed to act quickly enough on concerns over the charity’s handling of grievances. One source told The Guardian that CEO Jeremy Hughes had an “explosive temper” and displayed bullying behaviour towards staff. Helen Earner, director of operations at the Charity Commission, said: “We received a complaint about the Alzheimer’s Society in February 2018, detailing concerns about the charity’s approach to dealing with staff grievances . . . Whilst this was at a time when the volume of cases coming into us was high, nevertheless we should have followed up on the complaint, and that did not happen. We have since overhauled our handling of whistleblowing reports.” The regulator said it is now looking into the matter. Mr Hughes is due to take over at Samaritans in May, but trustees of the charity now say they are set to hold discussions about the appointment. A Samaritans spokesperson said yesterday: “Our board of trustees takes this issue extremely seriously and are currently in discussions about the situation.”

The Guardian, Civil Society, Third Sector

RISK

Charity is hit for £1m by ‘sophisticated cyber fraud’

A housing charity has lost nearly £1m after being targeted by criminals. Red Kite Housing was conned of £932,000 in what it described as “a sophisticated cybercrime.” The charity said criminals had “mimicked the domain and email details of known contacts that were providing services to Red Kite . . . Through this they managed to recreate an email thread that misled those who were copied into the email that it was a genuine follow up to an existing conversation.” Details of the incident have been passed to ActionFraud and police are investigating. No customer data was put at risk and Red Kite said its systems and processes are being strengthened. “We have continued to build additional security measures into our IT and to review completely all our processes in relation to payments in order to minimise the chance of a single point of weakness occurring in the future,” the charity said.

Civil Society

FUNDRAISING

Consultation on expanding the dormant assets scheme

The government has launched a consultation to gather views on its proposals to expand the dormant assets scheme to include new financial assets. The public consultation follows two industry-led reports which made recommendations on broadening the current scheme beyond bank and building society accounts to include assets from the insurance and pensions, investment and wealth management, and securities sectors. The existing dormant assets scheme has to date redistributed more than £600m to good causes. Baroness Barran, minister for civil society, said: “The dormant assets scheme is making a real difference to people across the nation . . . That’s why we are now seeking views on expanding the scheme to include even more unclaimed assets, in a way that continues to protect customers whilst potentially unlocking millions more pounds for good causes.”

GOV.UK, Civil Society

Legacy giving to grow more than forecast

Legacy income is expected to grow by £500m more between 2019 and 2024 than previously projected, according to Legacy Foresight. Last year, the legacy consortium said legacy income would likely increase by 3.3% year-on-year over the period, but now forecasts 3.6% yearly growth after adjustments to take into consideration the higher number of deaths forecast by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and for post-Brexit economic conditions. Meanwhile, legacy consideration grew 10% in the past year, according to research from fastmap and Freestyle Marketing. People are also increasingly inclined to write their Will online and residuary giving is becoming more acceptable, the research suggests.

Civil Society, UKFundraising

Platform enables donations to multiple charities in one transaction

DonatePal is a new online fundraising platform that enables donations to multiple charities simultaneously. The app incudes options for one-off, daily, weekly or monthly donations, and users of the platform can also opt in to Gift Aid. Shan Sheikh, DonatePal’s COO, says he wants as many charities as possible to register with the app, so giving users the widest choice. “We are especially interested in working with smaller charities that don’t always get much visibility with a wider audience,” he said.

UKFundraising

The UK’s ‘most loved’ charities

New research suggests Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK and Dog’s Trust are Britain’s “most loved” charities. The top ten in market research firm Savanta’s new BrandVue Most Loved Charities Report also features RSPCA, BBC Children In Need, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, British Heart Foundation, Royal British Legion, Help for Heroes, and Marie Curie. The report says people give more to the charities they “love” and loved charities also enjoy greater levels of public trust.

UKFundraising

Charities are trusted on social care

A survey from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) suggests people in the UK think charities are the most trusted organisations to provide reliable social care services. But respondents to the poll didn’t believe that charities should be responsible for filling the gaps in provision. More than half (56%) of respondents to the survey said central government should be most responsible for providing social care.

UKFundraising

WORKFORCE

Charity concern about points-based immigration plan

The government’s plan for a points-based system for awarding visas to allow people to work in the UK could be “catastrophic” for the social care sector, representative bodies say. Rhidian Hughes, chief executive of Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), said: “These hugely concerning proposals by government will only exacerbate workforce shortages in social care. Employers are already struggling to recruit and retain staff due to chronic underfunding in the sector.” Nadra Ahmed OBE, executive chair of the National Care Association, observed: “This system will bring with it substantial challenges for our sector as we are currently facing a call for more social care not less, and yet providers are being forced to consider exiting the market due to the workforce shortages and funding issues.” Under the government’s “points-based” immigration system, overseas citi zens wou ld have to reach 70 points to qualify to work in the UK. Applicants gain points for their past work experience, earnings and educational qualifications under changes expected to be introduced in 2022.

Civil Society

RSPCA staff vote for strike action

RSPCA staff are to strike over a dispute with management over new contracts and performance-related pay for all employees. Unite members at the animal charity voted for strike action by 73%, and the trade union, which represents hundreds of employees, accused RSPCA management of a “bullying attitude.” Unite regional officer Jesika Parmar said: “Our members have voted overwhelmingly for strike action in protest at the arbitrary imposition of new ‘performance pay’ contracts without a proper consultation process. These new contracts are very detrimental to our members.” RSPCA responded: “Staff have been reassured that their base pay will not be impacted by the review. We are proposing that future pay increases should be based on affordability for the Society, linked to appropriate market pay and to recognise the contribution of employees.”

Charity Times, Civil Society

Retail safeguarding scheme is launched

Charity Retail Association (CRA) and Barnardo’s are partnering on the launch of a retail safeguarding scheme to encourage charity retailers to certify their shops’ approach to safeguarding. CRA chief executive Robin Osterley said: “This scheme provides an excellent framework within which charity retailers can operate their safeguarding processes, taking a big step towards ensuring there is even more focus on keeping staff, volunteers and customers safe. The scheme can be operated by any charity retailer, whatever its size, and thus offers the possibility of real consistency across the sector in terms of its safeguarding practices.”

Charity Times, Civil Society

CAMPAIGNS

Chocolate campaign to tackle loneliness

Cadbury’s “Donate Your Words” campaign, launched in September, has seen 30p from each bar of Dairy Milk sold in the UK donated to charity Age UK, in an effort to tackle the loneliness crisis among the country’s older people. In order to grab attention, the chocolate brand removed all the words from the front of Dairy Milk bar packaging. The campaign also encouraged members of the public to spend more time contacting older people in their communities and families.

The Daily Telegraph

Make ‘cyber-flashing’ a sex crime

A women’s charity has called for so-called “cyber-flashing” to be made a sex crime, after police figures showed such offences almost doubled in number last year. The End Violence Against Women Coalition said victims, who have explicit photos sent to their iPhones over its AirDrop feature should be afforded legal anonymity, and perpetrators should face being entered on the sex offenders’ register as a deterrent.

The Daily Telegraph

OTHER

PM urged to appoint minister for older people

Campaigners and charities have called on prime minister Boris Johnson to appoint a minister for older people, to help tackle the “scandalous abuse and neglect” of hundreds of thousands of elderly Britons. Dame Esther Rantzen, founder and president of The Silver Line, said the needs of older people “are being sliced up between departments.” “Look at the muddle of social care, still not sorted in spite of all the promises,” she added, “Older people are being blamed for being bed blockers in hospital and house blockers in communities when there is nowhere safe and economical for them to live.” Dr John Beer, chairman of Action on Elder Abuse, said a dedicated minister would have broad oversight, “and would hold the government to account.”

Daily Express