Time for budget bingo

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March 19, 2014 at 10:20

Today’s budget is one of three ‘fiscal events’ marking the countdown to the next election and will no doubt be driven by political posturing more than economic imperatives. Despite the usual early leaks, indications are that there will be a surprise announcement, a rabbit in the box, most likely targeted at Conservative voters.  The theme this year is set to be ‘resilience’ – the Chancellor has already taken to twitter this morning to tweet about a resilient coin to reflect a resilient economy – and while the economic indicators look like they’re finally going in the right direction, we’re likely […]

Why the role of the charity regulator matters – a look to Ireland

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January 20, 2014 at 13:27

I’ve been paying close attention to the unravelling story around one of Ireland’s leading charities in recent months. Breaking in the run up to Christmas, when the seasonal appeals were at their height, the ‘scandal’ (it’s had all the hallmarks of a classic Irish scandal!) has rocked the voluntary sector there, and hit trust and confidence in the worst of ways.  As happened on a smaller scale in the UK last summer, questions around executive pay and pay-offs are threatening to undermine public donations to charity. The main charity in the spotlight is the Central Remedial Clinic in Dublin, a non-residential […]

Panorama – moral dilemmas for the charity sector

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December 13, 2013 at 13:31

    It’s difficult to avoid noticing the fallout of Tuesday’s Panorama investigation into some of the UK’s leading charities. The documentary looked at a mixed bag of the sector’s perceived hypocrisies; complaints largely guided by the assumption that being charitable is synonymous with ‘moral’. There are a number of things which on initial inspection may appear to fit neatly into an ‘inappropriate for charity’ box. But it’s not that simple. Charitable status itself (granted on meeting the public benefit test) accommodates a wide range of moral values, expressed in a charity’s mission. These values may be inconsistent from organisation to […]

NAO report on Gift Aid: Evidence of a lack of evidence

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November 21, 2013 at 10:44

Today the first of three long awaited reports into charity regulation and tax reliefs was issued by the NAO. This particular report, called for by the Public Accounts Committee under Margaret Hodge MP in light of the Cup Trust affair earlier this year, looks at the value for money of Gift Aid reliefs to the tax payer. Overall the report states that there is insufficient evidence to conclude value for money but makes it clear that this statement relates to current form and implementation. CFG’s initial thoughts are as follows: Data, evaluation and policy focus: We are pleased that the […]

How are charities faring with auto-enrolment

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November 14, 2013 at 13:04

By the end of this year, almost 215 of the largest charities will have complied with the duty to auto-enrolled their employees. Another 25,000 will do so by 2018.  We’ve spoken to some of both groups to understand more about the sector’s experiences and readiness and to pull together some top tips. A key message in a recent DWP review of organisations that have already complied was to avail of opportunities to learn from others.  Our ‘how-to’ guide will help charities to do just that and walk you through the key steps.  So, what are the key lessons CFG are […]

We’re all in! Are you?

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November 12, 2013 at 10:52

‘In what?’ I hear you ask. No, I’m not referring to being in CFG’s new offices, what I mean is ‘in a pension scheme’ of course. Technically, at CFG we’re not all in yet but we will be in the next couple of years. Karren Brady happily tells us that she’ll be in too, as will a rapper named Rochelle, millions of workers and most of the 800,000 staff working for charities. So, in advance of us launching a new guide for charity employers on how to make sure they get everyone ‘in’ (look out for it this Wednesday), I […]

Digital giving and gift aid: Our response

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September 27, 2013 at 14:27

Gift Aid enthusiasts have had a lot to chew over the past few months, with proposals on the table from HMRC and the Treasury to make Gift Aid work better for online and text donations. As people increasingly use online and mobile platforms for donating, the current paper based system for Gift Aid is showing its age. Therefore we welcomed the Government’s consultation on Gift Aid and Digital Giving, which seeks to address this challenge and some of the wider cracks in the Gift Aid system. In our response, CFG and NCVO urged the Government to seize this opportunity to […]

The silver lining in the charity salary saga

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August 12, 2013 at 14:23

Another week and more headlines about charity executive pay. Given the focus on bankers, business leaders, senior civil servants and local authority chiefs of late, it was really only a matter of time before charities would end up in the firing line. And it’s no surprise it’s now, or that the story continues. August, holiday season for many, leaves plenty of empty column inches for the media to fill. But while it’s saddening to see our sector being dragged through the mud in this way, it also demonstrated the strength of public connection with the charity label and has been […]

The Gift Aid declaration – what’s the big deal?

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August 9, 2013 at 12:18

The Gift Aid declaration has long been a prickly issue for charities tasked with squeezing it onto fundraising forms – and one we have spent countless hours debating with HMRC at the Charity Tax Forum.  The declaration is needed as Gift Aid is a tax relief (rather than public expenditure) and HMRC need to be able to ensure that Gift Aid claimed on specific donations can be linked back to the donor’s tax affairs.   However, the length of the statement, requirement to collect  and reference to no less than four different forms of taxation (income tax, capital gains tax, council […]

Tweaking the annual return

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July 24, 2013 at 20:05

Our policy team recently took the unusual step of completing CFG’s annual return (AR).  As in most charities, this normally falls to our finance team, so this was relatively new territory for us, and a rather a novel way to get our heads around the Charity Commission’s latest consultation, ‘Developing the content of the annual return and information displayed on the register of charities’. While not the liveliest of issues we’re working on right now, this stuff matters – our members agree as over 150 of them took the time to send us in their thoughts.  Accounts, reports and the […]