Kelly warns of lessons from Heyday scheme 19/11/09

“Through their role in resource management, finance directors are part of the conscience of a charity”, said Sir Christopher Kelly, speaking at the Charity Finance Directors’ Group (CFDG) Risk Conference 2009: Securing Your Foundations.

Sir Christopher was speaking about the lessons to be learnt from Age Concern England's Heyday membership scheme.

He gave an insightful presentation on the strategic and operational failings of the scheme, and why they occurred.

In speaking about the role of boards and governance he said, “broadly speaking, charity boards need to be smaller in order to be effective; we should expect the same standards in the boards of large charities as in listed companies.”

Securing Your Foundations saw over 190 delegates convening at the Royal College of Surgeons, to discuss the pressing issues surrounding risk in the current climate.

The conference covered a wide range of topics, from insurance, audit and budgeting, to risk in particular arenas, such as international development, public service provision and collaborative working.

Many sessions focused on risk in the current economic climate, but some focused on the political environment. Rosie Chapman, director of policy and effectiveness at the Charity Commission, spoke on charities and political campaigning in the run up to the general election.

She reiterated that political campaigning was a legitimate role for charities and, for many, crucial to their success, saying it is 'fundamentally wrong to maximize the risks, although like any other activity they should be properly considered.'

She emphasized the need for charities to take a strategic approach and to stick 'single-mindedly' within their objectives when undertaking campaigning work.

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