Charity Commission in recruitment drive
The Charity Commission has said it is planning to hire 85 staff after receiving a £5m increase to its budget. The regulator is contending with a significant spike in compliance cases and serious incident reports and a record number of applications for charitable status. The number of compliance cases opened by the regulator rose by more than a third last year. The commission’s annual report and accounts show 2,269 regulatory compliance cases were opened in the 12 months to the end of March 2018, up from 1,664 in the previous year. The increase was due in part to a large rise in the reporting of safeguarding incidents by charities as a result of the Oxfam scandal, which broke in February. The number of serious incidents reported to the commission by auditors and examiners soared to 287 last year, up from 54 in the previous year. The regulator also said the list of matters that are reportable by auditors and examiners had been extended in May last year and the regulator had been working with the ICAEW to raise awareness of the new requirements. “With the additional funding from the Treasury, to ease the pressure brought about by increased demand on our services, our key focus for the first six months of 2018/19 will be attracting, recruiting and inducting up to 85 new employees,” the report said.
Civil Society Third Sector
Presidents Club in breach of duties
A new report from the Charity Commission details the findings of an investigation into a men-only charity fundraiser in the City of London run by the Presidents Club Charitable Trust, at which the female "hostesses" were put on show and subjected to harassment and inappropriate behaviour. The regulator's report says there were ‘significant failures’ at the organisation and its trustees were in breach of a number of key charity law duties including a failure to comply with their legal duty to manage charity resources responsibly and avoid exposing the charity’s assets, beneficiaries or reputation to undue risk. “It is not the Commission’s role to determine whether any of the women working on the night were subjected to harassment or abuse. What we can say is that the trustees’ attitude towards their welfare in the name of charity fell short of what would be expected in the 21st century," said Charity Commission chief executive officer Helen Stephenson.
Charity Times UKFundraising
Acevo's new ‘member-focused’ strategy
Charity leaders network Acevo has announced a new ‘member-focused’ strategy to achieve goals around inspiration, support, connections, advocacy and skills. Meanwhile, Acevo chair Paul Farmer has stepped down and a successor to Mr Farmer is now being sought. Vicky Browning, chief executive of Acevo, said: “We are looking for a leader who can chair with an enabling and inclusive approach in order to bring out the best of board members and the executive team. We’d like to talk to candidates that have a depth of experience, but a lightness of touch."
City of London is more generous than ever
The UK’s financial and professional services sector gave £534.5m to charitable causes and contributed nearly one million hours of volunteering time last year, according to the City of London Corporation. Catherine McGuinness, the City of London Corporation’s policy chairman, said she hoped this work “will strengthen public trust in the sector and above all, support communities and make positive change,” adding “Firms are giving more back to the community and they should be commended for the progress they have made. The figures show businesses are putting in more effort to make the greatest impact, motivating staff to want to get involved and play their part.”
Comic Relief will focus on local charities
Comic Relief says it intends to partner more with local charities on the ground in the countries it supports instead of funding UK-headquartered international organisations. "We no longer think this is the most appropriate way to fund anymore . . . This marks a significant shift for our international application processes," Ruth Davison, executive director of impact and investment at Comic Relief, told an audience at the Institute of Fundraising Convention on July 4th. Ms Davison also said that changes to funding application forms were afoot as Comic Relief sought to eliminate time wasting and repetition in the applications process.
School minibus services threatened by ‘EU red tape’
Minibus services provided by charities, schools and clubs could be under threat from new plans by the Department for Transport to require community drivers to obtain a Driver Certificate costing more than £1,000. For more than 30 years a permit system has allowed charity workers and teachers to drive minibuses with a standard driving licence, and Whitehall officials insist they have been forced to change this because of legislation from Brussels. But charities and MPs have accused the Government of 'gold-plating' EU regulations, and capitulating unnecessarily.
Loneliness fund is open to applications
Charities and community groups in England can now apply for a share of almost £9m from the Big Lottery Fund to tackle problems around loneliness. Grants must be used for initiatives which reach out to people who feel lonely or isolated, encourage them to take part in activities, and help them to feel more connected. The available money is part of the £11.5m Building Connections Fund announced last month by Theresa May and Tracey Crouch, the minister for civil society. Ms Crouch said: “I encourage charities and community groups across the country to help us tackle loneliness. This fund will help improve people’s lives and build stronger communities.”
UKFundraising Civil Society
Project looks to provide 'virtual' help to vulnerable
The Jeanie Project, an access to justice charity, is looking to pilot a scheme that will see virtual assistants help food banks and community groups ensure poor and vulnerable people can access the law. The charity hopes to crowdfund £7,500 by August 9th to offer Riverview Law’s KIM technology. Scott-Moncrieff, founder and managing director of London firm Scott-Moncrieff & Associates, says it can be an important tool in an era of legal aid cuts.
Law Society Gazette
Campaigners want UC overhaul
End Hunger UK, a coalition of 73 poverty charities and faith groups, has called for an overhaul of Universal Credit (UC) to stop a surge in vulnerable claimants experiencing destitution, hunger and debt as they take up the benefit. The campaigners want a significant reduction in the time claimants have to wait for a first payment of the benefit, from a minimum of five weeks to two weeks.
New report calls for action on diversity
A new joint report from Acevo and the Institute of Fundraising says the charity sector must do more to address a diversity 'deficit' and calls on organisations to prioritise increasing diversity in their workforces to prevent groupthink, generate income, operate more creatively and attract top talent. Acevo chief executive Vicky Browning said: “Improving diversity and inclusion will not just happen, it requires a conscious, targeted investment of time and resource . . . if leaders do get it right then they will create stronger, more resilient and creative charities, which will better serve the people we work with." The two associations have identified eight leadership principles that they say will help create ‘stronger, more resilient charities’ including a commitment to learning about racial bias and how it affects leadership decisions and a pledge to recruit "for potential, not perfection."
Charity Times Civil Society
Overnight care workers lose back pay appeal
Mencap has secured a Court of Appeal ruling in its favour which means care workers who had to stay overnight as part of their job will not be entitled to back pay at the minimum wage. The charity had argued that a previous tribunal decision which compelled care providers to fund six years' back pay for overnight carers was unaffordable. Lawyers for the Local Government Association had claimed councils would face "very significant unfunded historic liabilities" if the charity's appeal was not allowed.
Charity Today Third Force News The Guardian The Independent Third Sector
New programme to fund smaller charities' website redevelopment
A new programme has been announced to help with funding of the development of new websites for small charities. The Transform Foundation's programme for charities with incomes between £100k and £350k follows on from the success of a website grant for charities with incomes above £350k.
Charity Digital News