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Charities: growth or sustainability – why it matters for their pensions

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December 3, 2013 at 13:29

As the House of Lords conducts the second reading of the Pension’s Bill today, there are many valuable points being made by industry and stakeholder representatives. These include the ‘unrivalled opportunity’ to create single-tier state pensions; more changes to auto-enrolment legislation; further discussion on pensions charges and a look at adapting legislation concerning fund transition to take into account the current transient workforce. (Our own recent and upcoming work on some of these issues is covered in our latest blogs on auto-enrolment and our consultation response to pension’s charges) However, while these high-level debates rage around us, CFG are concerned […]

Pension charges: Is transparency enough?

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December 2, 2013 at 20:21

‘Hands off our pensions’ they cried… WHICH Campaign ‘Don’t dumb down pensions’ she qualified… Ross Altman BBC Today Program ‘Don’t mess with our free markets’… Various industry bodies Amongst these battle-cries, where does CFG stand on governments recent ‘fairer workplace pensions: a consultation on charging’? First off, why is it important? There are approximately 25000 charity employers, 22000 of whom are small employers who must comply with auto-enrolment legislation from 2015 onwards. We have been working to support the sector through this new legislation as it threatens to prove costly for many employers who have limited experience of pension schemes. This […]

Research questions to get our teeth into on Gift Aid

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December 2, 2013 at 09:57

The National Audit Office has released a report on HMRC, Gift Aid and other tax reliefs on donations.  Overall it estimates the cost to the exchequer of these tax reliefs to be around £2bn, around half of which goes to charities.  One of the main findings the NAO has stressed is that there is not enough data to ascertain a causal link between Gift Aid and changes in giving behaviour.  Subsequently there is little to determine the value for money of the scheme.  Despite this, most in the sector would argue the success of the Gift Aid brand and the […]

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 […]

Accounting for different charity structures

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November 15, 2013 at 12:22

The legal and reporting framework anchors the values shared by charities, while still allowing flexibility where there is divergence in business model. The guidance for financial reporting in charities, or the SORP, provides part of the anchor, but should also enable innovation.  That’s where references in financial reporting guidance to new age concepts like social investment can come in.  But it’s not just about the newbies; old chestnuts such as how to account for trading subsidiaries are also critical to innovation.  Charity trading has developed immensely, from something previously aligned with running a few charity shops, to contracting out services, selling […]

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 […]

Celebrating the trustees who SERVE us!

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November 6, 2013 at 16:41

So, another successful trustees’ week is well underway! With a range of activities currently taking place and our imminent members’ meetings looking at specific issues related to trusteeship, I thought I’d share some thoughts with you on the subject. The standard stuff you’ll have heard is how much you will personally enjoy being a trustee, what you will learn from the experience, how it will enrich your life (and CV) and how great it is to have your skills valued. What you might not hear so frequently is the strategic importance of this service: that being a trustee is about […]

CFG has its say on the Charities SORP consultation

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November 4, 2013 at 11:28

The Charity ‘Statement of Recommended Practice’ (SORP) is the principal document informing charities on how they should report income, spending and activities to the general public. A new version, not updated since 2005, was finally put out for consultation in July and has understandably been a major focus of CFG’s work ever since. We estimate that over 250 of our members have actively contributed to our response which we published today.  We’ve been trying to emphasise the significance of the SORP in sector accountability, ensuring consistent and proportionate levels of transparency.  Hopefully some of this work has paid off, but […]

Why charities need to respond to the SORP consultation

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October 17, 2013 at 12:11

Fraud, pledges and legacies represent just some of the key issues where the charity voice needs to be heard, says Richard Bray, Cancer Research UK. The Consultation period for the Exposure Draft of the new Charity SORP is nearly over.  This is now the crunch time as respondents finally decide what they will say in response to it.  But I can’t help but feel that far too few charities will respond.  Why is this? Perhaps it is because we feel that this is all too complicated for us and we will leave it to others and, in particular, professional firms […]