Tony Armstrong looks at Devolution: working with local organisations to transform public services

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September 5, 2016 at 12:00

Public sector finances are under severe strain. Local authorities have faced increasingly tight budgets over the last six years, and the localisation of business rates, the phasing out of central government grants and the implications of Brexit, signal continued uncertainties to come – even with a potential ‘reset’ on the current path of austerity being hinted by Philip Hammond.

Devolution is our chance to advocate for the most vulnerable

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September 2, 2016 at 12:15

Kathy Evans, CEO of Children England highlights the important voice that the voluntary sector has and how they can use it to be a power of advocacy.

Hunting for the silver lining; the IFS, the economy and charities.

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February 12, 2016 at 15:07

This week I attended the IFS’s Green Budget 2016 event, which provides an essential commentary on the economic issues facing the current government over the next Parliament. The report comes at a pertinent time as the world economy faced a turbulent week in the stock markets. I’m going to look what this could mean for the charity sector by 2020.

VCSE review points the way to better commissioning

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April 2, 2015 at 12:28

The Joint review of investment in VCSEs in the health and care sector (VCSE Review) last month published its interim report, which you can read online. The interim report is well worth a read, and highlights many of the problems that charities have been raising with public bodies and Ministers for several years. However, here are three key things that I have taken away from this report: 1.        It’s time to really open up commissioning to the sector Something that is often forgotten in the discussion about public services is that charities are not only service delivery organisations. Charities carry […]

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 […]

Measurement: A double-edged sword for social value

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February 16, 2015 at 09:52

We’re all positivists now. Although there are a few ‘heretics’, generally, it seems that the march of the measurers has been a successful one. Nearly every charity that I speak with is interested in measurement and finding ways to report on its impact, though most are held back by the lack of time, resources or experience. Overall, this is a step forward. But we should also be cautious. Measurement is inherently idiosyncratic given the diversity of the sector and vast range of different outcomes that they are trying to achieve. This is not merely diversity by issue, but also diversity […]

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 […]

CEO pay – the wrong reaction?

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October 7, 2013 at 14:35

I used to work with a smashing guy whose wife applied to be on a certain reality TV programme, in which several individuals cook for each other and then mark the results. She got through to the last stages, at which point she was dropped because she was ‘too nice’ and her unwillingness to be horrid about others’ attempts would ‘not have made good telly’. Black and white positions, polarised views, angst and tension are all far more interesting than reasonableness. As a sector, we recently got sucked into perpetuating this approach on the subject of CEO pay. Whilst it’s […]

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 […]