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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

CFG Policy Highlights 2013

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December 23, 2013 at 12:27

As 2013 comes to an end, we wanted to take this opportunity provide you with you a brief summary of some of our activity and a sneak preview into what lies ahead for 2014. Take a look to remind yourself of the role we have played in shaping and responding to changes in: The economy; tax; pensions; SORP; investment and social investment; scrutiny of the Charity Commission; impact; small charities; and much more; all in representation of the sectors’ finance professionals. Our members and corporate subscribers support has been invaluable this year and we look forward to working closely with […]

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 […]

Caron Bradshaw reflects on CFG’s year with Christmas cheer

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December 13, 2013 at 10:19

It has suddenly hit me that 2013 is nearly over. I cannot believe how quickly the year has gone! Well, they do say that time flies when you’re having fun. I am taking this time of year as my one opportunity to look a little inwardly and indulgently at the past year – and a lot of things have been happening for us… To start with, we embraced a new vision and purpose: ‘inspiring 
the development of a financially confident, dynamic and trustworthy charity sector’. I believe this is the final piece in the jigsaw in terms
of articulating what CFG […]

Oh the weather outside is frightful… but in here it’s Autumn, delightful!

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December 4, 2013 at 13:43

Before you’ve had time to open door 5 of your advent calendar tomorrow the Chancellor will be standing up to give his, ahem, Autumn Statement.  Unlike previous years he may be able to strike a warmer tone from the start with this one.  The usual downscaling of economic projections will most likely be swapped for an altogether more positive summary of the economic position; growth figures, for once, may be bigger than expected. Reason for the Chancellor to celebrate?  This will certainly help Osborne to back up his plan to stick with the plan.  It might also give a bit […]

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 […]