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

Written by:

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 […]

Capacity building – a dividing line in 2015?

Written by:

March 10, 2015 at 10:16

Last week’s election hustings at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Civil Society and Volunteering generated a number of news articles. I attended the hustings, which were certainly lively and prompted a great deal of discussion and debate afterwards. There was the usual back and forth over the Lobbying Act and exchanges over Eric Pickles statement on grants to charities not being used for lobbying. However, the most interesting section (for me) was the on capacity building for the sector, and I think it revealed a subtle divide between the Conservatives and Labour positions.* When asked about capacity building the […]

Panorama – moral dilemmas for the charity sector

Written by:

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 […]

Flipping the coin: What Government could do to increase demand for social investment in charities

Written by:

September 10, 2013 at 12:46

Last week we responded to the consultation on a tax relief for social investment last week – the Government’s latest initiative to increase the supply of investment. As well as raising a number of concerns with various aspects of the relief, we also included some ideas for how the Government could stimulate greater demand for social investment, by more effectively engaging charities in their efforts. Here’s what we put forward: Positioning is key: First and foremost, we urged the Government to see social investment not as a solution to the charity sector’s funding challenges, but instead to recognise that it […]

CFG’s response to the social investment tax relief consultation: acceleration of “a great force for social change on our planet” or a missed opportunity?

Written by:

September 5, 2013 at 09:30

Why the social investment tax relief is potentially good news for charities… With the usual caveat firmly in place, that social investment is never likely to be appropriate for all (probably most) of the organisations in our sector, the concept of a tax relief for investment into social enterprises sounds great – five easy steps to a win-win-win situation: Step 1: As a keen supporter of charities I hear about social investment, and decide to discuss it with my financial advisor. Step 2: They tell me they don’t know much about social investment, but the limited options available seem quite […]

Ian’s insight: The world needs grown ups

Written by:

September 2, 2013 at 14:25

I am writing this article in mid-August – a week after the Wonga furore and in the midst of the charity salary ‘revelations’ – the silly season indeed! Fundamentally the stories relate to a worrying disconnect, fuelled by poor journalism, between public perception of how charities operate and the reality. The debate is not helped by the view that charities are homogeneous – that the challenges of leading a complex organisation such as Oxfam or Barnardo’s are comparable with those facing a local community-based charity. The public would not make the same assumptions about Tesco’s and a local family run […]

It takes two to tango with the social investment tax relief

Written by:

July 10, 2013 at 12:26

With social investment recently hailed by the prime minster as ‘a great force for social change on the planet’ you’d be forgiven for thinking there was rather more of it going on. Nonetheless, the deals do appear to be slowly catching up with the rhetoric – recent research suggests that social investment was up 22% to £202m in 2011/12, and several early guinea pigs have shown signs of success – reoffending is down at Peterborough Prison and Mencap’s £10m bond recently sold out sooner than anticipated. Following the launch of Big Society Capital, the Social Stock Exchange and Social Impact […]

Using your mouth as well as your money: charities investing for change

Written by:

January 4, 2013 at 16:00

One issue that we can expect to hear more of in 2013 is responsible investment. Now more than ever, charities are taking a holistic view of their activities and considering how they can use all of their assets in the interests of their mission and beneficiaries.  Using investments for social objectives is one way of doing this.  We debated this issue with some leaders in the responsible investment field towards the end of last year and a common theme which emerged was a growing appetite for using positive screening and corporate engagement as a campaigning tool to further the charity’s […]

Ethical investment: why it might be right for your charity

Written by:

September 28, 2012 at 13:48

One highlight of  this year’s CFG investment Conference for me was hearing Edward Mason, Secretary of the Church of England Ethical Investment Advisory Group, give a fascinating talk on ethical investment. Ethical (or socially responsible) investment (EI) is that which takes social, environmental or governance issues into consideration in investment decisions. A growing number of charities have adopted some form of EI policy in recent years, yet many others have not. Although I’ve interned and volunteered in charities for a number of years, I’m still relatively new to working in the sector and this was an aspect of charity that I had […]

Being charitable by what you spend, not by what you save

Written by:

September 4, 2012 at 10:59

Being charitable by what you spend, not by what you save Becoming a trustee of an endowed charitable foundation could appear intimidating to anyone that doesn’t have investment and finance expertise. In addition to general trustee duties, the ‘endowment’ aspect often cloaks the role in an air of mystery, complexity and technicality, where the focus is more on the performance of assets than charitable mission. However, a recent report by ACF ‘The governance and financial management of endowed foundations’, is a helpful reminder of the benefits of going ‘back to basics’ and keeping a clear focus on what the foundation […]