The real picture – what can we learn from the Whole of Government Accounts 2013-14?

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March 30, 2015 at 17:17

Are you a government spending anorak? If so, I am sure that like me you spent all night reading through the Whole of Government Accounts (WGA) 2013-14 which was published last Thursday. WGA consolidates the audited accounts of around 5,500 organisations across the public sector, to produce a comprehensive, accounts based picture of the financial position of the UK public sector. They are different from the National Accounts, because they use the International Financial Reporting Standards that charities and private sector bodies often use. So the WGA includes future spending to meet current obligations, PFI liabilities, pension liabilities and the […]

Budget 2015 – Missed opportunities and targeted giveaways

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March 18, 2015 at 14:56

The Chancellor has sat down, the media are pouring over the budget documents looking for stories to come out of the figures, but what has been the impact of the Budget for charities? A slight easing of austerity Looking at the overall picture, it seems clear that the impact of austerity is not going be significantly reduced at the start of the next Parliament, but will be a lot lighter towards the end. Ignoring the effect of inflation, this Budget has seen an easing of the cuts. In 2016-17, the Budget implies that the amount available to spend for departments […]

#volsecbudget – What should charities look out for?

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March 17, 2015 at 10:51

Tomorrow will mark the last Budget of this Parliament, and already a great deal has been trailed in the media from inheritance tax cuts to raising the personal allowance. Charity Finance Group coordinated a letter with other sector bodies at the start of the month to ask the Chancellor to tackle a number of issues such as Gift Aid, Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, VAT and capacity building for the sector. But what should charities be looking out for tomorrow when the Mr Osborne stands up at 12.30 after PMQs? Here are a few things that we think may interest […]

Can charities help end the ‘pushmi-pullyu’ of local government spending to support prevention?

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March 16, 2015 at 09:14

The recent Joseph Rowntree Foundation report on ‘The cost of the cuts: the impact on local government and poorer communities’ makes for fascinating reading. There is a lot of analysis and statistics on how the frontloading of government spending cuts on local government have hit services and communities, as well as the voluntary sector. While there are a number of worrying issues highlighted by this report, from the point of the view of charities and the sector’s finances, the most worrying was the squeeze on spending on preventative services and the lack of capacity of local authorities to undertake full […]

Fog of uncertainty makes post-election planning difficult for charities

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February 4, 2015 at 14:20

Today the Institute for Fiscal Studies unveiled its Green Budget 2015. The Green Budget is an attempt by the IFS to analyse the impact of spending cuts, tax rises and other policy decisions of the government and parties. It is well worth of a read (though perhaps not all 300 pages of it!), but I think that there are three key messages for charities. 1)  Government spending with charities is likely to be squeezed by more than we think There has been a lot written about the impact of government spending cuts on the sector over the past few years, and […]

Vision for sector post-2015. What did the politicians have to say at the CFG Annual Conferece?

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May 19, 2014 at 17:13

Following our overwhelmingly successful Annual Conference last Thursday, back at CFG-HQ we are now digesting the political nuggets that were debated in our closing plenary by the Minister for Civil Society (Nick Hurd) and Shadow Minister (Lisa Nandy) for Civil society, a key Lib Dem peer (Baroness Barker), the outspoken Rt Hon Margaret Hodge, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee and the CEO of NCVO, Sir Stuart Etherington. A year out from the next General Election, we asked them to tell us what they saw as the key issues that will face the sector post-2015, giving us the perfect insight […]

Managing in a Downturn Report Reflections….

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April 11, 2014 at 15:08

Yesterday saw the launch of the seventh ‘Managing in Downturn’ report – a survey series that we have run in partnership with the Institute of Fundraising and PwC since the start of the economic downturn in 2008. The launch event itself was a lively affair with reflections of the findings from: Andrew Sentance, PwC’s Chief Economist; Mark Astarita, the IoF Chair; and our own Jane Tully. Highlights included Andrew Sentance’s weather map of the global economic outlook for 2014 (sunny intervals for the UK!) and Mark Astarita’s optimism that the baby boomer generation’s large capital assets will have significant implications […]

A change in economic outlook- is your charity sinking or swimming… tell us!

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January 24, 2014 at 15:12

As the economy is beginning to show tentative signs of recovery, the most pressing question on the minds of many in the charity sector is how this will impact on their organisations. Whilst during the recession the charity sector has proven itself to be both resilient and flexible in its battle to cope with increased demand and reduced funding; the impact of the economic downturn has been significant with charities experiencing challenges such as cuts in frontline staff, closure of services and a drop in donations. The widespread effect of these tough economic times on the charity sector has been […]

Mergers during the recession; why weren’t there as many as expected?

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January 15, 2014 at 09:24

In the wake of the launch of our most recent survey in the ‘Managing in a Downturn’ series, we take a look at what the last five instalments have told us about the scale and form of mergers in the sector. The decision to merge in the for-profit sector is ultimately motivated by the fiduciary duty to maximise shareholders’ ROI. One might expect a similar logic to apply to the charity sector; mergers enable greater resource for maximising beneficiaries’ benefits. Indeed, in the heyday of the economic recession in 2008, many expected a larger number of charities to merge as […]

2014, politics, and charities

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January 10, 2014 at 15:15

I am trying to ascertain whether my current outlook for the year ahead is one of optimism or pessimism.  On the one hand there are huge challenges ahead, both for society and for the charity sector.  On the other, the economy is slowly recovering, unemployment continues to decrease and there is a World Cup, and that’s always fun.  I have come to the conclusion that I am somewhere in between the two. In 2014 there are some big issues that are going to carry on being thumped back and forth in a metaphorical political game (a bit like tennis, only […]