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Claire Stradling

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Claire Stradling

Director | Interim & NFP Divisions

I head up our Interim and Contracts division, as well as the NFP team.

Our NFP team specialise in Executive, Finance, HR, Marketing and Fundraising within a wide range of NFP organisations. Our clients range from the largest registered charities in the UK, regulatory bodies, think-tanks, public sector and government bodies through to smaller charities and third sector organisations.

The interim teams cover all of our sectors in Finance, HR, Marketing, Tax and Legal, and our client base ranges from Big 4 professional services, Magic Circle legal firms, NFP, and C&I organsisations..

Born and bred, I am a proud Birmingham lass and in my spare time I am an avid Aston Villa fan and try to go to as many games as possible or watch on TV. I also enjoy rugby and tennis. I enjoy good food, wine and country walks as well as volunteering for charitable causes. I love getting away when I can and Peru, South Africa and Cambodia are next on my list!

claire's latest roles

  • Forensic Accountant (Snr)

    Up to £85648.00 per annum + a wide range of benefits

    Forensic Accountant (Level 4) - London £85648 Are you a fully Qualified accountant with significant depth and breadth of experience and expertise in forensic investigation. Expertise in managing complex fina...

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  • Senior Inspector (Banking)

    Up to £95423.00 per annum

    Senior Inspector (Banking) London £95423 To conduct audit file reviews and inspections of firm-wide procedures at big four, mid-tier, international and/or public sector firms, focusing on banking audits subj...

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  • HR advisor (6 month FTC)

    £35000 - £40000.00 per annum

    HR Advisor - 6 month FTC London £35000 - £40000 A large animal welfare charity are seeking an experienced HR Advisor to join them on a 6 month FTC. This role has a strong emphasis on ER/Employment Relations ...

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  • Project Manager - Education & Quaific...

    Up to £92920.00 per annum

    Project Manager - Education & Qualifications London £92920 Are you a fully qualified ICAEW/ACA Accountant (of equivalent?) with significant post-qualification experience or significant experience in a releva...

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  • Senior Forensic Accountant

    Up to £100192.00 per annum + a wide range of benefits

    Senior Forensic Accountant London £100192 Are you an experienced senior forensic accountant? Have you worked with or worked for FTSE top 350 companies? Are you ICAEW fully qualified (or equivalent?) Would yo...

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What people say about Claire

Claire at Pro Group is a star! Her professionalism and reliability is clearly without parallel . . . I found her recruitment skills to be of a high calibre, and her approach was very refreshing and personal and it made me feel confident in her ability to place me in suitable role...


Firstly thank you so much for being one of the best recruitment consultants, I have dealt with during my search, you are few and far between. Your professional approach with honest and responsive conversation, is exactly what a candidate like...


Claire recently supported me in my quest in finding a new senior HR role. Throughout the experience she was proactive, listened to feedback and worked positively with both her client and myself to discuss, if a role was truly right for me as a person...


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Companies Claire has worked with

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Parkinson's UK is a charity who empower and support thousands of people living with the condition, inspire health and social care professionals to help drive better care and steer ground-breaking research to improve treatments and to find a cure.

In October 2018 likeminded housing associations Metropolitan and Thames Valley Housing formally completed a partnership to form Metropolitan Thames Valley. Metropolitan Thames Valley provides housing at different levels of affordability for people living in London, the South East, East Midlands and East of England.

Travelzoo is a global media company with over 25 million members across 26 offices worldwide. They publish travel entertainment deals all over the world and have 500+ employees globally.

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claire's articles

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Introducing Neil Wild & Ray Moore - Payroll Recruitment Specialists

Posted by Claire Stradling

I am absolutely delighted to welcome Neil Wild and Ray Moore to the Pro-Family, specialising in Payroll recruitment. Ray and Neil have joined us with many years of experience within the payroll market. We see this as a niche and exciting area for us that sits comfortably between our existing HR and Finance brands, and will add further value to our extensive client portfolio. They will both specialise in recruiting:  Head of Payroll Payroll Manager Payroll Supervisor Payroll Consultant Payroll Analyst Payroll Officer Payroll Administrators Implementation Consultant Payroll Executives With a very strong network of both clients and candidates, this new area will also add Ray and Neil’s expertise to our existing clients. The market is strong currently and we are investing heavily into new service offerings for our clients and candidates this year including payroll and interim recruitment support. It's clear to see Ray and Neil's passion and enthusiasm for the market is infectious and they are already contributing to the team and business.  Here's what others have to say about Neil & Ray  Please do get in touch with Ray or Neil to discuss your Payroll recruitment needs. If you are an experienced recruiter interesting in discussing our growth plans this year, it would be great to chat. Contact me on 020 7269 6351 or email claire.stradling@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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Should Covid Vaccinations be Mandatory Before Returning to the Office?

Posted by Claire Stradling

At the time of writing, over 24m of the UK population have already received their first COVID vaccination and Boris has pledged to all adults in the UK being offered their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of July. As a result, there is already a debate happening about whether employers can, or should, insist on employees being vaccinated. One of the knottiest questions is whether inoculations should be mandatory for staff before returning to work. Understandably, employers will see the vaccine as a means of protecting the health and safety of staff as it could help make the workplace more secure and give employees (and customers/clients) greater confidence about returning to work.  Not knowing which way the wider UK workforce would sway on the knotty question, I ran a poll to my Linkedin Network which closed at the start of March, and here is what I found. Things remain very undecided. Requiring an entire workforce to be vaccinated will be difficult to achieve from both a legal and employee relations perspective. The government is not currently introducing legislation to make the vaccination compulsory and therefore it will be for individuals to decide whether to or not to be vaccinated. The NHS is issuing ‘vaccine cards’ recording which vaccination an individual has received and reminding those receiving the vaccine to present for their second dose and medical records will, of course, record if someone has received the vaccine. However, whether the government will choose to issue vaccine passports or certificates is a difficult issue as it presents a number of novel, ethical issues.  Ongoing consultation with employees will be key to implementing any policies on Covid vaccination, and indeed on Coronavirus-related employment matters more generally. Here are a few things to bear in mind as part of this: Have an Open Approach  to Flexible Working Requests In the past, many employers were resistant to introducing flexible working for fear that it would lead to reduced productivity. With the pandemic, many employers will hopefully now have more trust in their employees and see that working from home or working flexible hours is the ‘new way of working’ and a very feasible option. It’s very likely that employers will receive a high number of flexible working requests when things return to “normal” so it would be sensible to consider how they might deal with these. Bear in mind that, given many employees have worked from home for the best part of a year, employers probably won’t be able to rely on blanket arguments that “home working doesn’t work” to turn down a request. At Pro, we’ve seen productivity increase, relationships are work are now even tighter as we continue to speak with our colleagues daily on Microsoft Teams. Counter any Misinformation Many employees may be sceptical of the vaccine, we live in an age where social media can cause misinformed judgements, so it’s important to make sure you, as an employer, are kept up-to-date with the correct information provided by the NHS and advise that your teams refer back to local GP who would be much better placed at providing information which may be sensitive to discuss in the workplace. Future Business Planning Consulting with your teams and colleagues should always be seen as a valuable opportunity. A discussion about appetite or concerns for the vaccine is naturally linked to questions about returning to normality and future work patterns. What do employees like about “the new normal” that they want to keep? Consider whether you want to return to the workplace as before, or whether this is a time to reimagine office life and adjust working practices and use of space as a result?  At Pro, we continue to build our future based on the opinions of our teams, using surveys and providing open forums for your teams to share opinions will build trust and develop a future of happy, retained, and ambitious employees who want to succeed with the growth of your business. So to conclude, employees and employers are very split in and amongst the debate of “Should COVID vaccines be mandatory before returning to the office? “ but it is certainly sensible to start thinking about what approach you might take, remembering that continued consultation with your teams will be key. If you would like more advice about returning to the office or the new working landscape, please do get in touch. I'd love to hear your thoughts, you can contact me on 020 7269 6351 or claire.stradling@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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Introducing: Petra Brown - Pro-Group Finance Interim & Contracts Specialist

Posted by Claire Stradling

I am absolutely delighted to welcome Petra Brown to Pro-Group as Managing Consultant – Interim Finance. With many years of recruitment experience, Petra joins us to bolster our finance interim and temporary recruitment offering. Interim and Contracts are areas we are investing heavily in this year, although the market it strong, it is also demanding a more flexible and agile workforce. As such we want to react to this demand and provide our clients and candidates with a dedicated interim division. People of Petra's calibre do not become available very often. She can offer recruitment expertise with a very strong network of clients and candidates to support her services, as well as adding extra value and expertise to our existing client base. We have a fantastic and loyal client base ranging from the large charities and NFP organisations, professional services and practice, commerce and industry and legal entities and we want to proactively extend our service offers to interim and contract within these sectors. A few days into her Pro-Group career her energy and passion for the finance interim recruitment market is infectious! Welcome to the team Petra - Find out more about Petra here.

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The Rise of Interim and Consultancy Recruitment

Posted by Claire Stradling

According to ONS, there are currently over 1.4million temporary, interim or contract workers in the UK. Firms are now looking to hire temporary, interim and consultancy workers as business activity recovers.  Growth in Demand Short term demand for staff to complete operational tasks has been high and we’ve found organisations are more likely to hire interim and consultancy workers than permanent staff over the next six months as the demand for agency workers over the next year is likely to remain high. According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s latest Jobs Outlook report, Temporary staff are becoming increasingly important to businesses as they try to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In times of uncertainty, interim and consultancy work can be a real asset to both employers and workers – it allows firms to create jobs when the future outlook is unclear, and gives people a chance to get back into work, earn money quickly, and progress into a permanent position. REC research shows that interim and consultancy work is not only important for employers, but for workers as well. Two in five (39%) people in Britain have done temporary, contract or freelance work during their lives, and the majority do this by choice. One in three (36%) chose to do this to find work quickly, while three in ten (28%) used temporary work to earn money quickly. Many also use temporary work as a stepping stone and progress into permanent positions – two in three (68%) of those who have done interim and consultancy work in the past are now in a permanent role. An equally important incentive driving the number of interim and consultancy workers is the opportunity for organisations to ‘try before they buy’. In other words, rather than spending weeks or even months on the hiring process to later discover that the employee is not the right fit for the company, UK firms are hiring temp workers to evaluate the workers’ performance, attitude to work and their overall suitability for the role in question, without the financial burden of a permanent job offer. This proves equally beneficial for temp workers who can assess the company and job role before they decide whether the job is right for them. Join Us Here at Pro-Group, we have a strong Interim and Contract offering, and looking to build and develop our offering. We have long-standing relationships with companies across our key sectors - Tax, Finance, HR and Marketing, Communications and Fundraising - and the interim and consultancy market is stronger than ever.  You will be joining a passionate and diverse team who work closely together to ensure they can deliver results and act as an extension to the client’s own recruitment processes.   Our story is simple, “We want to establish a company that truly valued, respected and looked after its employees. After all, not only are we in a ‘people’ industry, but we strongly believe that happy employees make for a successful company. Our staff are our number one asset!” - Pat Keogh, Chairman at Pro-Group.   Autonomous recruiting brings big rewards If you’re looking to take control of your own work, or if you are an experienced recruiter looking to start in a new sector then we can offer you the opportunity to really put your own stamp on the role and business as a whole. We do not demand pointless and unachievable KPIs but work with you as an individual to set personalised objectives and the ability to manage your workload and desk in a way that works for you.  We offer a market leading commissionsion structure, it’s rewarded to you quarterly, offering you the opportunity to earn up to 40% of your billings with plenty of fantastic benefits to suit, including mortgage savings schemes, private medical insurance as well as training and a market-leading technology suite to help you achieve.  As an SME, the management structure is flat which is very different to what I am used to having worked for larger organisations, but I see this as a massive benefit. Your voice is heard, listened to and the owners sit on the floor with you. I have also seen massive and progressive changes in Pro-Group in my few years with the company. If I need a new job-board - no problem as long as I can show a business case for it. Want to set up a new division? Again no problem, just present a business case and you will be backed. No red tape or layers of management to convince. If you have a vision and plan, it will be backed. How we’re adapting to the Pandemic Due to Covid19, every employee at Pro-Group is working 100% remotely, and we have ensured that they have the equipment and IT infrastructure and systems to be able to do this.   We are adapting quickly and in response to Government Guidelines and our main priority is to keep all of our employees safe and well. At the moment we are not sure when (or even if) there will be a full return to the office and are regularly reviewing the guidelines, taking feedback from our employees and have fully embraced a true flexible working approach.  We are able to interview virtually and for new joiners to Pro-Group, we have implemented a remote onboarding process to ensure a smooth transition to join the Pro-Family. If you are interested and would like to find out more about joining Pro-Group, please do get in touch. Let’s have an informal discrete discussion, you can contact me on 020 7269 6351 or claire.stradling@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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Calls for a Job Retention Scheme in the Charity and Not-for-Profit sector

Posted by Claire Stradling

30 charity leaders have written to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, requesting the need for  a job-retention scheme for the Charity & Not-for-Profit Sector. Civil society leaders call for the Chancellor to reassess decisions to ensure communities are supported, and fund  as the best way to recover from the pandemic. The letter highlighted that the sector faces a “critical dilemma” and calls for a tailored job retention programme.  The coalition is led by the Charity Finance Group and backed by over thirty other UK organisations, including the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, Association of Charitable Foundations, Acevo (the charity leaders’ body) and the Small Charities Coalition. They represent thousands of charities and social enterprises nationally across the UK.  The request for a time-limited scheme that enables organisations in the sector to furlough staff and allow them to volunteer their time and skills back to their not-for-profit, public benefit employer has been raised by the group for the Chancellor’s consideration. The letter highlights that the sector faces a “critical dilemma” and calls for a tailored job retention programme.  “The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was an exceptionally generous scheme which was welcomed by the sector and which charities and social enterprises have availed themselves of during its first phase,” the letter states. “However, as a scheme designed predominantly with private enterprise in mind, it had the perverse effect of incentivising mothballing of provision and not mobilisation. It finishes with, “It is counterproductive to be paying for a charity or social enterprise employee to stop working when our citizens so desperately need helplines, advice, support and guidance; whether on mental health, unemployment, homelessness or loneliness and isolation.”  From my perspective as a recruiter in the NFP and charities space, a delayed response for the need of support in the third sector space can be detrimental to charities delivering their services in these unprecedented times. It certainly is a ‘social dilemma’: Access the government’s job retention scheme to save on salary costs, and thereby closing or reducing vital services, or risk financial collapse.  The sector is so well served by those giving their time and skills on a voluntary basis, and yet employees who often work in the sector because of the cause and wanting to make a difference are unable to do so if they want too. Whilst this rule was undoubtedly made to stop rogue employers abusing the scheme and employee’s rights; should the charity sector be different?  I am interested in hearing your thoughts? Some have had the added cost of seeking short term, and part time interim flexible workers to help and we have certainly seen an increase in demand for part time and shorter term flexible interim workers. Please reach out on 020 7269 6351 or email me claire.stradling@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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My New Routine - Working From Home

Posted by Claire Stradling

COVID-19 has temporarily changed our working lives and routines. Most of us left the office a little less than two weeks ago and moved our workplace to our own homes ready to start at 8am the next morning. And with very little disruption thanks to the digital world we live in now. And in less than two weeks we have all had to learn a whole new vocabulary and world with terms such as “self isolation”, “social distancing“ and “the curve”.  As well as having to change our normal days beyond recognition, both in and out of work mode. Life is clearly very very different right now to how it has ever been before. I used to work from home a couple of times a month and found it great to be able to get my head down, inspect my division, and think about our strategy without interruptions. However, some people love working from home. I am not one of those people... Recruitment is a social job. We meet a wide range of clients and candidates and try and match them together. It’s also a tough job at times. When you need the support of those around you to get you the tough times... I love the buzz of the office and the energy of those around me. And I miss it, a lot. Here is how I'm changing my working routine to adjust to working from home: 1. I keep the tv/radio on quietly in the background. Not loud enough to distract me, but loud enough not to be lost in silence when I am not talking on the phone or interviewing online. It’s clearly not the same as working with over 50 friends and colleagues but it does help me. 2. To keep our strong team spirit, I build in regular phone and video calls with my colleagues throughout the day. Just to share news and check in with how we are all feeling. We also do this to try to have some fun, recreate the buzz of the office, and encourage normal social interactions. I have a virtual lunch with my teams at least a few times a week, and last week I joined a clients virtual pub quiz (sorry my general knowledge was so bad...). On a Friday, we have a team collective "cheers", where we all get a glass of wine or beer from the fridge at the same time, accompanied by a weekly update from our MD. It’s a reminder that we are still a team - both the charities division I head up and the wider team at Pro.  3. I try and dress for the office. Whatever your normal dress code for the office, try to recreate at home. We have regular meetings online via Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and MSmeet with external clients and suppliers. And we still have an image to portray. Also, just by putting on my work clothes, it’s a clear sign to me and those around me that I am at work. It just changes my mindset to a work one and helps my productivity throughout the working day. 4. Have tea/coffee breaks, go out for your exercise once a day, and take regular breaks from your laptop throughout the day. It sounds obvious, but taking lunch away from my workstation really helps me, as well as having set clear times when I work, and when it’s "my" time. I focus on the day-to-day only. None of us can be sure about what other changes will be happening in a weeks time, a months time, or 6 months time. So, I try and focus on what I can control right now by setting myself daily targets, rather than worrying about what is going to happen next week or next month. 5. My only C-19 news is Boris's evening updates! It’s a routine and whilst I want to know what the latest news is, I don’t want to be consumed by it throughout the day.  So Boris is my daily update on COVID-19, and I try not to read or listen to anything else about it during the day or evening. Life is so different and scary at the moment, so I try and keep myself up to date with what I need to know without it consuming my whole day and life. Who knows how long this is going to go on for? When the peak will be reached? And if the world of work will ever go back to how it was before this? But most of us will still have our health. And most of us will have adapted very quickly and in our own unique ways, just showing how resilient and strong we all really are. When we come through this, life will be very different for a long time in many ways. I still feel a little shell shocked, I must admit. But, we have seen both the worst and best of human behaviour in the last few weeks - mostly the best. And that also keeps me going. Stay safe all. For help with your recruiting needs or more advice on working from home, please contact Claire Stradling on 020 7269 6351 or claire.stradling@pro-recruitment.co.uk.

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Charity Times - 17/03/2020

Posted by Claire Stradling

FUNDRAISING Funders pledge support during coronavirus emergency An alliance of more than 30 grant makers have signed a joint statement pledging to support charities during the coronavirus emergency. The alliance has declared the pandemic to be an "exceptional event" that will "almost certainly affect charity staffing" and will necessitate extra support for beneficiaries. The funders said they will commit to 'four main ways of working' in support of charities during the outbreak. These are: adapting activities (acknowledging that agreed outcomes may not be achieved in set time-frames); discussing dates (not pressing organisations to meet tight reporting deadlines); financial flexibility (allowing organisations to use money differently); and listening (encouraging discourse between funders and grantees). A statement from the funders says: “We wish to be as helpful as possible during the coming weeks and months so that civil society groups can focus on the vital work of supporting some of the most vul nerable people in our communities. We understand that there will be times when staff and volunteers will not be available, when beneficiaries may need services to be provided in different ways, or when systems need to be flexible to ensure that needs are met.” Meanwhile, the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) has published a blog on what foundations need to be considering in the face of the threat, observing that one such area is “impact on the causes that foundations support.” Charity Times, UKFundraising, Civil Society London Marathon postponed until October The London Marathon has been postponed and rescheduled for October 4th because of the coronavirus outbreak. The event was scheduled to take place on April 26th. It is the first time the race has been postponed since its launch in 1981. "The world is in an unprecedented situation, grappling with a global pandemic of COVID-19, and public health is everyone's priority," said event director Hugh Brasher. Last year, the event raised a record-breaking £66.4m for charity - a new world record for an annual single-day charity fundraising. Brasher went on to say: “We know that there will be many, many questions from runners, charities and others and we ask you to please bear with us as we work through the detailed planning process to deliver the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon on its new scheduled date." Civil Society, Charity Times, BBC News A quarter of donors over 40 plan to leave a legacy A quarter of donors aged 40 and over plan to leave a legacy to charity or are preparing to do so, according to a survey of 1,000 adults commissioned by legacy consortium Remember A Charity. The share is a 6% increase compared to ten years ago. The poll also found that the number of people who are unaware of legacy giving has almost halved over the last decade, from 20% in 2010 to 11% last year. Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity, said: “We’re continuing to see growth in legacy giving over the long term . . .  It’s clear that there’s a real appetite for supporters to do something meaningful for good causes at the end of their lives, and that charities are communicating legacies well; creatively and sensitively, demonstrating how important they are in funding vital services." Civil Society Panic-buying hits food banks Food banks are running out of staple foods as a result of shoppers panic-buying. Donations at branches of Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have fallen to a quarter of their usual amount at one London food bank. Meanwhile, Third Force News reports that Edinburgh Food Project says donation baskets have had to be moved closer to staff at some shops in the city after items previously given to the charity were removed. A statement from the project, which manages seven emergency food outlets as part of the Trussell Trust, said: “You may have noticed that our donation baskets have either been moved or removed in some supermarkets . . . Unfortunately this is due to items being taken from our baskets by shoppers. They are now in a place more visible to supermarket staff to be monitored. The Guardian, Daily Mail, Third Force News Tampon Tax Fund opens for applications Charities supporting women and girls are invited to apply for a share of the £15m funding pot being made available from the Tampon Tax Fund. The money is raised through VAT on women’s sanitary products. The tax will come to an end in January 2021. Charities can apply for grants to fund projects which directly benefit disadvantaged women and girls, tackle violence and support mental health and wellbeing. Third Force News GOVERNANCE Charity was ‘reckless’ with its money Former trustees of the charity ANO were responsible for misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of the organisation over a period of years, the Charity Commission has found. One former trustee has been disqualified. The charitable objects of ANO are to relieve suffering via financial provision and medical aid in Leicestershire, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malawi and Turkey. Tim Hopkins, assistant director of investigations, monitoring and enforcement at the regulator, said: "Our inquiry found that the former trustees were reckless with charity funds. Former trustees failed to carry out adequate due diligence on overseas operations and partners, operating in high-risk areas without adequate risk assessment, and cash couriering, a practice discouraged by the Commission. The reckless conduct of one former trustee warranted further action and they have rightly been disqualified. The charity now has a new truste e board who are working with the Commission to improve governance and financial management at the charity. The Commission will continue to monitor its progress." Accountancy Daily, GOV.UK Trustee operated without oversight at ‘inadequately run’ charity The Charity Commission has found the governance and financial management of the Ummah Welfare Foundation was inadequate, with the charity and its finances left under the sole control of one trustee. The Commission has since removed the trustee from the charity. Ummah Welfare, which is based in Oldham, aims to relieve poverty and sickness and advance education in the world. Amy Spiller, head of investigations team at the Charity Commission, said: "Charity can and should lead the way in taking public expectations seriously. This charity’s behaviour fell well below those expectations – with inadequate financial control and no oversight from trustees - a sole trustee made significant decisions alone and engaged in risky practices like cash couriering. It’s right that the trustee responsible has been removed. We expect the new trustee board to comply with our action plan in full." Civil Society, Third Sector, GOV.UK Regulator changes senior management structure The Charity Commission is changing its senior management structure after the departure of some of its directors last year, and is seeking a new chief operating officer. The COO will be responsible for key corporate functions, including HR, finance, governance, risk and assurance. The role is being advertised at a salary of £105,000 and will be based in the Commission’s main office in Liverpool. A Commission spokesperson said: “The Charity Commission is changing so that charity can deliver greater benefit to society. Like any organisation, we need to be open to continual change that ensures our systems and structures keep pace with, and serve, our purpose and strategic objectives. “Improving our senior management structure is part of that, and is aimed at ensuring we are as efficient and accountable as possible as we continue to deliver on our strategy and ambitious business plan.” Civil Society CAMPAIGNS Charities call for inquiry into welfare cut deaths Charities have called for an independent inquiry into deaths related to welfare cuts, following the death of a disabled man who had been told his benefit entitlements were being removed. Christian Wilcox, who reportedly suffered from schizophrenia and a physical impairment, was found dead in his home earlier this year, and was believed to have died in late November, after writing online that a disability benefits assessor had “ignored the sheer amount of pain” he was in. A joint statement signed by more than 20 charities, including Mind and the Trussell Trust, has called for an independent inquiry, with a remit to recommend changes to both government policy and internal Department for Work and Pensions processes. A National Audit Office report recently found it was “highly unlikely” that the DWP had investigated all cases where benefit claimants had died by suicide. The Independent, BBC News Cycling charity warns of pothole dangers Cycling UK has published a report which claims that just one in eight local authorities is meeting targets to fill potholes and repair other road defects on time. The data was based on freedom of information responses by 85 local councils. Separate analysis of Department for Transport figures found that at least 448 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in crashes involving road defects over a 10-year period. The charity says the research underlines a need for a long-term funding strategy to deal with the country's "pothole crisis". Last week the Chancellor announced £2.5bn over the next five years to repair up to 50m potholes as part of the government's "levelling up" agenda to upgrade infrastructure across the UK. Separately, Cycling UK chief executive Paul Tuohy is stepping down after five years in the role. The charity has credited him with transforming it into “a progressive, fearless campaigner for cyclists’ rights,” during his time in charge, reports road.cc. The Times road.cc Charities warn of free school meals loss Charities including Sustain, the Food Foundation, Church Action on Poverty, Magic Breakfast, the Soil Association and the Independent Food Aid Network have written to the government urging ministers to set out plans to feed children from hard-up families if the coronavirus shuts schools and so blocks access to free meals. Sustain chief Kath Dalmeny said: "About 1.5m children are eligible for free school meals due to families on a very low income. If schools shut to prevent the spread of coronavirus, families will struggle to be able to afford to feed their children at home, and will not be able to stockpile food supplies if they are self-isolating.” A letter from the group went to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick. Daily Mirror ​ ​​​​​​​​​Back to Charity Times archive >>

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Charity Times - 10/03/2020

Posted by Claire Stradling

FUNDRAISING Charities advised to go ahead with planned events The Institute of Fundraising (IoF) has issued guidance in response to concerns about mass participation events amid the coronavirus outbreak. The guidance reiterates the current NHS advice to continue to go to work and public places as usual for the time being. The guidance states: “Of course, each charity will need to consider their own events, but at this stage we would anticipate events going ahead unless the official guidance changes . . . However, it is sensible for each charity to review their plans, put in place contingencies and provide appropriate information to participants/volunteers/attendees ahead of and at the event.” Charities in Scotland were last week warned against complacency amid a potential epidemic, with Scottish law firm Lindsays, which has many charity sector clients, warning employers in the sector that they must prepare without delay. Kate Wyatt, a partner at Lindsays, said: “We’re s eeing so me worrying signs surrounding lack of forward thinking which could cause issues in the medium to long term. No-one can afford to put their head in the sand on this and think they won’t be affected. It’s clear that every organisation - of every size - needs to prepare for a worst-case scenario, including staff being infected, others going into self-isolation and the prospect that they may have to close the doors of their buildings, to employees and clients." A major charity event has already fallen victim to the coronavirus outbreak. Hundreds of people had been due to attend the People’s Postcode Lottery charity gala at the National Museum of Scotland tomorrow, where Sir David Attenborough was to be the guest of honour. The gala has now been shelved “due to current health concerns relating to large public gatherings and travel." Third Force News, Third Force News, Third Force News Most female fundraisers experience gender stereotyping A report from the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) indicates that more than three-quarters of female fundraisers have experienced gender stereotyping at work. The report from the IoF - Missing Out: Understanding the Female Leadership Gap in Fundraising - found multiple issues with gender equality in the fundraising profession, including gender pay inequities and a lack of support for women who need to manage their career with care requirements. The report includes recommendations for charities, the IoF and individual fundraisers, including ensuring a work environment is suitable for those who need flexibility and greater recognition of how race and disability can affect career advancement. Dr Elizabeth J. Dale, co-author of the report, said: “This research calls on the entire sector, and society more broadly, to not only recognise women’s talent and leadership ambition but to rethink how to address tensio ns betwe en work and family and create additional supports so that more women can obtain leadership roles.” Dr Beth Breeze, who co-authored the research, observed: “Clearly, the current career ladders in fundraising are not supporting all of the talented people who aspire to reach leadership roles. I hope the recommendations are read and taken seriously by all who are committed to strengthening the fundraising profession and its positive impact on society. Together we can make sure that talent rises to the top.” Civil Society Fifty biggest charities had 18k fundraising complaints in 2018-19 Analysis by Civil Society shows that the UK's 50 biggest fundraising charities received 18,000 complaints in total in 2018-19 - a 17% drop on the previous year. The analysis of data gleaned from annual reports found that total fundraising complaints fell from more than 21,000 in 2017-18 to about 18,000 in 2018-19. Macmillan Cancer Support was the most complained about charity for a second successive year, but it also saw a substantive year-on-year decrease in complaints, going from 6,600 fundraising complaints in 2017-18 to 4,100 in 2018-19 (a 38% fall). Lindsay Grieve, head of customer experience at Macmillan, said: “We are extremely diligent in our reporting of complaints, for instance in 2017 we started to include any ‘expression of dissatisfaction’ on social media as a complaint. This was supported by the Fundraising Regulator as a rigorous way of logging complaints and something that not all chari ties adh ere to . . . The decrease in the number of complaints, from 2017 to 2018, is largely due to an issue with one of our suppliers, who we stopped working with in 2018, as well as general ongoing improvements based on this customer feedback." Civil Society WORKFORCE Long running industrial dispute is settled Social care charity Cornerstone and trade union Unison have agreed a new recognition deal that brings one of the Scottish charity sector’s longest running industrial disputes to an end. In 2018, the charity said it was de-recognising the union following disagreements over the implementation of its 2017 to 2020 strategic plan. Unison subsequently went to court to force the charity to recognise it. The Central Arbitration Committee (CAC), which heard the charity's appeal, is a state agency that can compel an employer to recognise and work with a trade union where more than half of the workforce are members. The union won its right to proceed at the CAC and meetings were also held with health secretary Jeane Freeman. There has now been a signing-off of a new voluntary recognition agreement. Mike Kirby, Unison Scottish secretary, said: “This agreement establishes new working relations with Cornerstone. We look forward to a const ructive engagement which will benefit Unison members and the whole workforce, will contribute to the development of the organisation and ultimately enhance the service to users and carers.” Andrew Lockhart, Cornerstone chair, said: “We look forward to working with Unison towards a common objective that drives the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of the organisation whilst promoting security of employment and advancement of employees and workers." Third Force News GOVERNANCE Charity mismanaged workplace harassment complaints The Charity Commission has criticised Save the Children UK over failures in its response to complaints about its former bosses. The regulator's report highlights "serious weaknesses" in the charity's workplace culture and its failure to handle complaints about the allegations of workplace harassment amounted to “mismanagement.” The Charity Commission said the charity should have been more transparent with the regulator, its own trustees and the public when complaints were raised in 2012 and 2015, and were subsequently made public in 2018. Helen Stephenson, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said: "Charities should be distinct from other types of organisations in their attitude and behaviour, in their motivations and methods. The public rightly expect that; so do the majority of people working in charities, who deserve a workplace culture that is healthy, supportive, and safe. Creating that culture is not just about putting the right systems and processes in place; it also requires leaders who model the highest standards of behaviour and conduct, and who are held to account properly and consistently when they fall short." Kevin Watkins, the charity's CEO, has admitted that the organisation failed to take sufficient action against former bosses Brendan Cox and Justin Forsyth following accusations of sexual harassment made by female employees. Mr Watkins said: “We were too defensive and ended up using too many lawyers when it wasn't necessary. Even more seriously, we hurt the women who had already been victims of the actions we were investigating.” GOV.UK, Civil Society, Daily Mail, UKFundraising RISK Charities report 102 data breaches in Q3 2019-20 The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) was informed of 102 data breaches at charities between October and December 2019. The ICO received 2,795 reports in total; the charity sector accounted for 3.6% of all reports received. The majority of the incidents involving charities were classified as “other non-cyber incident” (31), followed by “loss/theft of paperwork or data left in insecure location” (19) and “phishing” (12). Meanwhile, an insurer has warned that charities are complacent about cyber-crime and only half of organisations have an adequate plan to deal with a cyber-breach. Research by Ecclesiastical Insurance found that just over half (52%) of organisations have a cybersecurity plan in place, and fewer have a specific cyber-risk management plan (42%) or cyber-insurance (42%). Angus Roy, charity director at Ecclesiastical, said: “Many charities still don’t se e themse lves being at risk of cyber-crime, or if they do, they think they can transfer the risk to their IT provider. The fact is that charities are an increasingly attractive target to cyber-criminals and if they are victims of a cyber incident, it will be them and not the IT provider that has to deal with the reputational fallout." Civil Society, Third Force News LEGAL Regulator wants charities’ views on criminal convictions data The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) wants charities' opinions on regulation around vital safeguarding information available through criminal convictions data. The ICO survey closes this Friday and is focused on Article 10 of the EU privacy law known as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Article 10 relates to a register of criminal convictions of those involved in an organisation. “If you are a controller and you process Article 10 data, we want to hear from you,” says the ICO, adding “We are currently seeking input from individuals representing the HR, retail, building, transport and charity sectors. However, no matter what sector you represent, if you deal with personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences on a regular basis we would like to hear from you.” Charity Digital OTHER Charities have celebrated International Women’s Day 2020 Civil Society reports on how various charities celebrated International Women's Day (IWD) 2020. Refuge, for example, partnered with women to donate their Twitter names to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline. Women who took part included Little Mix, Lorraine Kelly and Miranda Hart. Elsewhere, RSPB in Northern Ireland posted a blog highlighting some female "birders" who fly in the face of certain stereotypes about the hobby. Civil Society ​​​​​​​​​Back to Charity Times archive >>

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