Millions of people are being left behind, and the charities that help them are being shut out from David Cameron’s faltering Big Society project, according to a new report published today. The Big Society Audit 2013, released by think tank Civil Exchange, warns that a radical review of Big Society thinking is needed and says that, despite the rhetoric:
The Charity Commission welcomed the Cabinet Office consultation, published yesterday, on amending and extending its powers to tackle abuse and mismanagement in charities and says it supports the proposals. The regulator says it is vital that its existing powers are strengthened. The Commission is required under charity law to identify and tackle mismanagement and abuse in charities but weaknesses in its current powers are undermining its ability to be an effective regulator.
The charity Directory of Social Change has challenged the conclusions of a National Audit Office report on the Charity Commission. The National Audit Office released its report on the regulatory effectiveness of the Charity Commission, in the wake of the Cup Trust scandal and subsequent investigations by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee.
The UK is top of the developed world for giving money to charity, with 76% of Britons giving to good causes in a typical month. This increase in financial giving makes the UK the sixth most charitable nation in the world, up from 8th, in the World Giving Index, the biggest annual global survey of giving. The survey also found that Britons are becoming more generous with their time. Volunteering levels rose by three percentage points from the previous year to 29%.
Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd has launched a consultation on strengthening the powers of the Charity Commission. The consultation will run until 12 February 2014. It will examine how the Charity Commission tackles serious abuse and how the range of criminal offences that disqualify people from being a charity trustee could be extended. The proposed changes include: Extending the range of criminal offences which automatically bar a person from acting as a charity trustee
The Charity Commission is not regulating charities effectively, according to the National Audit Office’s report The regulatory effectiveness of the Charity Commission. The spending watchdog recognises that the Commission carries out important and necessary work and that its independent status and expertise are highly valued, but finds that there is a gap between what the public expects of the Commission and what it actually does. The NAO has concluded that the Commission does not do enough to identify and tackle abuse of charitable status.
The popular trend for judging charities according to the proportion of income spent on overheads is ‘useless’, according to a new report published today by NPC. In Keeping account: A guide to charity financial analysis, the charity think tank and consultancy explains how funders and others can gain a meaningful understanding of a charity’s financial position, and any risks it might be facing. The report talks about topics in the headlines this year—from charity chief executive pay and the importance of unrestricted income to charity survival.
UnLtd, HEFCE, universities and entrepreneurship support organisations across England will build a sustainable system of support for social entrepreneurs.The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) is today launching a £2 million programme to strengthen and broaden support for social entrepreneurship and social enterprise in universities and higher education colleges across England. The programme, part of the UnLtd SEE Change, Social Entrepreneurship in Education initiative, will be delivered by UnLtd, the leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs in the UK.
The Charity Commission has today published new Regulations and guidance for trustees on adopting a total return approach to the investment of the charity’s permanent endowment. New legislation, which comes into effect on 1 January 2014, will amend the Charities Act 2011 and allow the trustees of permanently endowed trusts to adopt a total return approach to investment without seeking prior permission from the Commission. The regulator has today published the Regulations which set out in detail the rules that charities must follow to adopt and operate a total return approach.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is today announcing a £7m of investment in two of the UK’s most wonderful buildings: Durham Cathedral and Peterborough Cathedral. Both are due to celebrate important anniversaries in the next five years. HLF’s investment will enable the display of original 13th-century copies of the Magna Carta alongside other artefacts in celebration of the 800th anniversary of the charter in 2015. The Monks’ Dormitory and Great Kitchen, some of the most intact medieval monastic rooms in England, will be restored to house an exhibition showcasing the history of the cathedral and its monastic community.
The UK public have already donated a DEC record of £6 million via tablets and smart phones to assist those whose lives have been devastated by the Philippines typhoon. The record-breaking figure has been donated over a much shorter time period than for previous DEC appeals, including the East Africa food crisis, and the total given now stands at £65 million. Donations from mobile devices have overwhelmingly come from Apple users, who have donated a staggering £4.4 million using their iPhone or iPad.
The Charity Commission has endorsed the latest version of the ACRE Good Practice Quality Standard quality system. The regulator's Quality Assessment Endorsement Programme aims to increase the governance standards and accountability within charities by encouraging umbrella bodies to develop a set of quality standards that their members commit to. ACRE is the national umbrella body of England’s 38 rural community councils, who make up the ACRE Network.
The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) today launches a public consultation on the future of the political party. As party membership continues to fall and people’s trust in politicians spirals ever downwards, the ERS is asking members of the public as well as party activists, politicians and experts to share their vision of the party of the future. The consultation consists of three questions: What are political parties for? What does the party of the future look like? What can parties do now to reconnect with people?
Contrasting sector evidence suggests the fundraising environment is tougher than it has ever been while other data suggests it is indeed tough but equally ripe with opportunity. Hugh Wilson unravels the debate
Andrew Holt searches through the maze that is the Big Society for meaning
Impact measurement is the current sector zeitgeist. Hugh Wilson finds charities embracing it to keep funders happy and arguments over the measurement of data, but ultimately, the benefits of good impact measurement are significant and the idea is here to stay
What is the role of charities? Are they unique? Or do charities increasingly ape what other organisations can do just as well? Hugh Wilson investigates
With morale in the sector at its lowest ebb, Duncan Jefferies asks what makes an effective leader and how charities can attract and develop the best management talent in the current environment