From Civil Society
The government will give a new organisation £55m from dormant accounts to tackle the issue of high-cost credit. The Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport announced its intention to allocate the money to financial inclusion initiatives last year.
Fair4All Finance is a company limited by guarantee and was registered at Companies House last month.
In the Civil Society Strategy, the department then announced it would create an organisation responsible for deploying this money. Now, Fair4All Finance has announced its name and appointed Richard Collier-Keywood as its chair.
The organisation has yet to decide on a full strategy but it plans to partner with housing associations and social enterprises that have community lending programmes and well as private lenders. It also plans to work with charities that provide services for people who are in financial crisis.
This is a 12 week programme, run by Groundwork, that enables participants to learn to cook healthy affordable meals and to participate in taster sessions to improve their physical wellbeing.
Weeks 1 – 4
Participants will learn simple recipes that focus on developing healthier eating habits and building cooking skills. Each session will be user focused enabling them to identify their own barriers to healthy eating and learn recipes and tips to address these. Each session will have time to chat and build friendships
Weeks 5 – 8
The group will identify different types of physical activity they would like to participate in together that utilise free resources within their community – this could be a simple healthy walk that explores heritage or nature, walking netball, tai chi or exercise using local facilities such as trim trails or outdoor gyms – the choice is entirely down to the group
Weeks 9 – 12
Will focus on expanding their cooking skills further and supporting the group to continue their fitness journey. The aim is that by working with local organisations, the groups can also become sustainable supported by the hosts organisations in the future.
The course is aimed at 8 participants ideally and is free to organisations and participants. Groundwork will provide all food and resources for the duration of the 12 weeks.
They are particularly interested in
- Individuals living with mental health conditions
- Parents and carers of children with additional needs
- Those living with poverty or other vulnerable or disadvantaged groups
For more information contact Karen Tozer on 7963 028 560 or e-mail Karen.Tozer@GROUNDWORK.ORG.UK
From Civil Society
NCVO, Acevo and Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales have announced a new project to help smaller voluntary organisations bid for and deliver public services. The project, Rebalancing the Relationship, will explore why voluntary organisations struggle to win contracts and will examine how organisations of different sizes can work together to bid for and deliver public services.
It aims to create guidance about best practice in the sector. There have been concerns that smaller charities have been squeezed out of public service delivery partly because of the behaviour of larger organisations, as well as commissioning processes
To develop the research, the bodies will consult representatives from across the sector as well as undertake desk-based qualitative research
The research will conclude in autumn 2019, with a report published early next year. Lloyds Bank Foundation is providing a grant of £85,700. NCVO will receive £62,000, and ACEVO will receive £24,000. NCVO will contribute £22,000 in kind. This funding will cover staff time to deliver research and events, as well as associated expenses.
From Civil Society
The National Secular Society has published a report arguing that “the advancement of religion” should no longer be a charitable purpose and that scrapping it could help to restore trust in charities and relieve pressure on the Charity Commission.
In a report, For the public benefit?, published on 18th March, The National Secular Society has said that the advancement of religion is not an inherent public good, and that this purpose gives religious organisations a privileged position in society which can be misused. It has recommended that it is scrapped as a charitable purpose.
It has also written to the minister for civil society, Mims Davies, asking for a meeting to discuss its findings. The report found that 7% of total registered charities list the advancement of religion as their sole charitable aim. It also found that 25% of large religious charities only exist to promote religion
From Civil Society
Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day appeal has raised £63.5m, which is £9.5m less than was raised on the night in 2017, following a number of controversies this year.
Red Nose Day took place last Friday and included celebrities climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, a Danceathon and a sequel to Four Weddings and a Funeral titled One Red Nose Day and a Wedding.
Comic Relief expects more donations to come in over the coming weeks and the final total is typically about £10m above the amount raised on the night of the show.
The final total in 2017 was £82.1m, up from the £73m raised on the night.
This year Comic Relief has had to contend with criticism from a number of sources. Earlier this month it was accused of promoting a “white saviour” narrative when the documentary maker Stacey Dooley posted a photo of herself with a child on social media while filming in Africa.
Meanwhile in January it was criticised over the working conditions of people making its fundraising t-shirts. Workers at a Bangladesh factory which made the #iwannabeaspicegirl t-shirt were reported to have been paid just 35p per hour.
A new civil order that will help protect victims of stalking received Royal Assent on 15th March, and is included as part of the government’s wider commitments to tackle violence against women and girls.
The Stalking Protection Bill will see the introduction of new Stalking Protection Orders – a civil order that police can apply for that will enable them to tackle so called “stranger stalking” sooner and more effectively.
The orders will have the flexibility to impose both restrictions and requirements on perpetrators and will carry a criminal penalty for those that breach them. The police will apply for the order, so the burden of going through the process does not lie with a vulnerable victim.
Charity umbrella bodies have warned that the proposed changes to probate fee structures could be “detrimental to charitable giving” and have sought “urgent action” from the government.
The government plans to abolish the £215 flat-rate probate fee (the cost of administrating a deceased person’s estate or will) and replace it with fee bands. Estates valued at less than £50,000 will be exempt from fees and estates worth more than £50,000 would pay between £250 and £6,000.
Four charity bodies – Institute of Fundraising, Remember a Charity, the Institute of Legacy Management (ILM) and NCVO – have written to the Ministry of Justice to express concerns about the plans to increase probate fees.
Charity leaders are concerned that when people leave a percentage of their estate to charity, the amount of money charities will receive will decrease, because of the increases in probate fees. They have said that 87 per cent of legacy income presently comes in this form, and not as a fixed sum.
A Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) probe into investment strategy advice accessed by pension schemes found trustees were often denied clear information which would help them when weighing up options – hitting retirement incomes.
Now the government is acting to:
- improve competition in financial advice services used by trustees of both defined contribution (used by the majority of pension savers) and defined benefit pension schemes
- ensure better disclosure of fees and performance
- encourage closer trustee engagement when buying such services
- enable more effective monitoring of compliance by The Pensions Regulator
Certain commercial organisations must publish an annual statement setting out the steps they take to prevent modern slavery in their business and their supply chains. This is a requirement under Section 54 (Transparency in Supply Chains) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
Who needs to publish a statement?
A commercial organisation is required to publish an annual statement if all the criteria below apply:
- it is a ‘body corporate’ or a partnership, wherever incorporated or formed
- it carries on a business, or part of a business, in the UK
- it supplies goods or services
- it has an annual turnover of £36 million or more
Organisations are responsible for determining whether the legislation applies to them. You may wish to seek legal advice to decide if your organisation needs to produce an annual statement.
Charities must publish an annual statement if they meet the criteria. When deciding whether a charity meets the turnover criteria, you should include income received from business activities, such as the provision of goods and services for a fee.
Donations, legacies and grants, where the donor receives no service or benefit, are generally not considered to be derived from business activities so do not need to be included when deciding whether a charity meets the £36 million turnover threshold.
Occasionally, grant income might be seen to be derived from business activities. Charities should think about whether the grant giver will receive benefit in return for the grant or whether there are any specific conditions as to what the charity can use the grant for.
A new network for LGBT+ people working in the charity sector has launched and is planning its first event later this month.
The Intercharity LGBT+ Network is a community of charity people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or any other identities in LGBT+. It was set up last autumn after consulting charities such as CRUK, Uprising, Diabetes UK, CLIC Sargent and Stonewall and establishing that there was enough demand in the sector.
The Network will hold its first event at Diabetes UK’s London offices on 28 March. The event is free to attend and organisers said: “We welcome any LGBT+ people working in the sector to hear from a keynote speaker, have some wine, network and meet some new people”. You can register here.