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Regulators set out plans to ensure the charity accounting framework better serves the public

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The Charities SORP-making body has set out plans to change the way the charity accounting framework, the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP)*, is developed so that it better meets the needs of users of charity reports and accounts.

The group is introducing changes to the development process of the SORP following a comprehensive governance review, which recommended that it must change in order to meet “new public expectations”.

The review was led by Professor Gareth Morgan and its findings and recommendations are available on the SORP website

A new process for developing the SORP is intended to be in place from 2020. The process needs to ensure a SORP that is both technically correct for true and fair accounting and that produces a report and accounts that users can understand and meets their information needs. Changes being announced today include:

  • reforms to the SORP committee to ensure a stronger culture of constructive challenge, better stability, and better representation of small charities and funders with an interest in the impact charities have
  • the introduction of a new engagement process; 7 stakeholder groups will be set up to work in partnership with the SORP committee. Each engagement strand will involve individuals and organisations with an interest in financial reporting and the work of the sector, to ensure user needs are understood and considered early on in the process of writing the next SORP.

For more information go to the Government website

#youmadeithappen 2019

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Many of you will have been involved in last year’s NCVO  #YouMadeItHappen – an opportunity for voluntary sector organisations to say thank you to their supporters and to show them the difference their money and time has made, as well as showing the impact we make as a sector.

2018 was the first year of the campaign, and it was a brilliant success. Charities up and down the country, from small and local, to large national and international organisations, took the time to share with their supporters how their support was making a difference.

Building on the learning from last year’s campaign, NCVO want to make #YouMadeItHappen even bigger and better for 2019.

First of all, they are making the campaign a little earlier this year on 11th October 2019.

Everything else is just the same as last year – find out more here

  • Join them across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram all day on 11 October by thinking of the messages you want to highlight and using the hashtag #YouMadeItHappen.
  • The key is to make sure your supporters see you saying thank you. Get everyone to notice the hashtag and see the amazing organisations they and their friends and family are supporting, as well as the huge range of work charities do.
  • Focus on providing stories and statistics that illustrate the difference your supporters make. This is not about raising money or getting more volunteers signing up, it is about simply saying ‘thank you’ to those who have already donated their time and money, as well as showing them exactly what that time and money is achieving for your mission.

For more information go to the NCVO website 

CQC declare your care – campaign

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As part of their #DeclareYourCare campaign this month the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are encouraging young people to feedback on care.

Research reveals that young people (16-24) don’t raise concerns about their care because:

  • 36% of 16-24s have fears of being seen as a troublemaker
  • 44% of young people (16-24) or their carers didn’t raise concerns/complain because they didn’t think it would make any difference. (This is compared to 35% of adults and 21% of children under 16).
  • 27% of young people 16-24 have experienced poor care when using mental health services in the last 5 years compared with only 7% of adults aged 55+

For more information about the campaign, to download resources, and to see the full survey results, go to the CQC

Influencing Commissioners – a guide

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‘Influencing Commissioners’, a guide from the Tavistock Institute, has been developed as a resource for projects funded through the National Lottery Community Fund’s Women and Girls Initiative (WGI). It is the fourth public output produced as part of the Learning and Impact Services provided to projects funded through the WGI. The WGI was created by the Fund in 2016, in order to invest in services for women and girls across England.

This guide has been written, based on the keynote presentations given by Michelle Pooley and Fiona Dwyer during WGI Msterclasses delivered during 2018.

It is designed to support project staff when thinking about how best to influence those commissioning services and the commissioning process itself.

It covers the following areas:

  • What is commissioning?
  • What is public procurement?
  • Top tips for influencing commissioners

You can read the guide as an online pdf here


Homeless denied housing over fears they are too poor, study says

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From The Guardian

Homeless people are being denied access to affordable housing because social landlords are routinely excluding prospective tenants who are deemed too poor or vulnerable to pay the rent, a study has revealed.

Research by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) found that “screening out” of homeless applicants nominated for newly available lets was widespread as housing associations and local authorities increasingly rationed their shrinking stocks of social homes.

In many cases nominees were refused a home because of the likelihood they would accrue major rent arrears after moving on to universal credit, or because the probability they would be hit by the bedroom tax or the benefit cap had made them a financial risk.

Others were rejected after social landlords identified they had unmet mental health or addiction problems, often because of cuts to local NHS and housing support services. Individuals with unmet support needs were regarded as “too high a risk to tenancy sustainment,” the CIH said.

You can read the rest of the Guardian article here

You can read the original article from the Chartered Institute of Housing here – (but you will need to register)

UK students waiting up to three months for mental health care

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From The Guardian

Students with mental health problems are being forced to wait up to 12 weeks for help from their university, prompting fears that some may take their own lives during the delay.

Undergraduates at the Royal College of Music in London had to wait the longest to start counselling last year, with the worst case being 84 days, figures collected by British universities show.

Sir Norman Lamb, the ex-health minister who obtained the data, said such long delays for care for conditions such as anxiety and depression could prove seriously damaging to undergraduates.

To read the full article go to the Guardian

Funding for councils’ child addiction services slashed

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From The Guardian

Help for children who are addicted to drink or drugs is being slashed in the latest round of cuts to public health services that ministers are imposing on councils.

Councils across England have made £2.4m of cuts to specialist drug and alcohol misuse services for children and young people this year. Spending is falling from £40.9m to £38.5m as part of steps taken by local authorities to cope with a £72m Whitehall cut to their public health grant.

The disclosure prompted warnings that highly vulnerable children with complex addiction problems are being denied the treatment they need at a time when under-18 drug use is rising.

Spending on public health programmes across England as a whole is falling from £3.31bn last year to £3.24bn this year – the fifth year in a row budgets that have fallen. Some of the biggest cuts have been in Stoke-on-Trent, down £1.4m; Shropshire, down £488,000; Northumberland, down £330,000 and Surrey, £323,000.

To read the rest of the article go to the Guardian

New funding to protect child abuse victims and track down offenders

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A £30 million funding boost will equip law enforcement with pioneering new tech and capabilities to track down more paedophiles operating online and safeguard children who have been abused, the government has announced.

The additional investment to tackle child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) will help target the most dangerous and sophisticated offenders who operate on the dark web.

Statistics from the National Crime Agency (NCA) show that last year 2.88 million accounts were registered globally across the most harmful child sexual abuse dark web sites, with at least 5% believed to be registered in the UK.

For more information go to the Governemnt website

Communities Secretary commits funding to tackle online hate

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Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP has confirmed £100,000 funding to stem the spread of antisemitic material online, as he underlined government’s commitment to tackling hatred in all its forms.

The additional funding will support the Antisemitism Policy Trust’s ongoing work to tackle the spread of racist tropes online and challenge harmful narratives about Jewish people. This forms part of the government’s wider agenda to tackle all forms of religiously and racially motivated hatred.

The organisation will use the funding to develop short, educative videos to counter, debunk, and undermine the proliferation of hateful antisemitic material online.

For more information go to the Government website

More victims able to challenge ‘unduly lenient’ prison sentences

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Criminals convicted of stalking, harassment, child sexual abuse and other sex offences could see their sentences increased if victims or the public think their punishment is too lenient.

Under plans confirmed by ministers on 17th September, the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme will be extended to 14 new offences – giving victims the power to query the sentences of a wider range of crimes.

The scheme gives anyone the power to ask the Attorney General to consider referring a sentence to the Court of Appeal for reconsideration – where it could then be potentially increased if deemed unduly lenient. In July, such an intervention increased the sentence of a mother who allowed her partner to rape her daughter from three to five years behind bars.

Crimes such as murder, robbery, and a range of terror offences are already covered, however the government has pledged to extend the scheme to further protect the public and make sure victims see justice done.

The move will bring offences including controlling and coercive behaviour within scope as well as further child sexual abuse offences, such as those involving the taking, distributing and publishing of indecent images of children and abusing a position of trust with a child.

For more information go to the Government website