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De-regulation for the sake of it?

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March 14, 2013 at 12:10

The Government’s ‘red tape challenge’ sounds like some sort of physical assault course; conjuring images of hapless workers wading through paperwork, red tape tied round their ankles, tripping over giant copies of the tax code and stumbling into open filing cabinets spilling over with old employment contracts.  Underneath the rhetoric, the implication is that the current state of ‘regulation’ hinders business and innovation; the Government wants us to tell them what bits to scrap.  Unless talking about bankers, the idea that regulation is a catalyst for fair business is all but lost.  This is despite the fact that we have […]

Transforming financial leadership – improving through improvisation

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March 12, 2013 at 15:56

When I tell people what my job is there can be a tendency for their eyes to glaze over a bit, and I can see them imagining a fairly routine (possibly dull) working life.  However  minutes into the conversation I’ve usually got their full attention and lots of questions when  I tell them that I work with fantastic people who are passionate about their causes and who want to make charities as a whole function better, to be more efficient, to make better choices and above all to  make a difference.  So why is it that finance professionals continue to […]

A pensions palaver

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March 7, 2013 at 18:16

Charity pensions have made headlines in numerous guises of late.  Before Christmas we had the story of People Can, a charity that went insolvent under the weight of its pensions deficits. In the new year, Barnardos announced plans to consult on its future pension plans and just this week we had the collapse of the NAVCA and Community Matters merger talks.  The common thread here relates to the long-term affordability of defined benefit  pension schemes. Charities are facing a situation common to all employers with pension obligations. Poor market returns, low gilt yields, creeping regulation and lengthening life expectancy have […]

How hungry are you? Re-thinking your charity’s risk appetite might be a chance worth taking

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February 22, 2013 at 11:56

Does your charity have a fully-functioning ‘risk strategy’? Is it integrated into the decision-making process at all levels throughout your organisation? No? Fear not, for you’re not alone – in fact, you’re far from it.  When a similar question was asked at Crowe Clark Whitehill’s 2013 INGO Conference last week, not a single hand was raised. However, an informative session by Pesh Framjee of CCW and Gaynor Miller of Christian Aid, highlighted why, at a time when charities are having to innovate to survive and the one constant is change, rethinking approach to risk is arguably more important than ever […]

Countdown to Charities Online: Gift Aid – Are your plans in place?

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February 4, 2013 at 15:44

Tania Cohen gives her take on the big changes in Gift Aid due this Spring… The changes From April 2013 a new system for claiming Gift Aid repayments will start replacing the current R68(i) claim process. The “print and post” repayment form will be replaced with three new options for charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs to claim payments, with the options available largely based on the size of the claims. Submitting claims electronically will have a range of benefits. Claims will get processed quicker, while saving postal costs. The new service will be more accurate, with built-in checks that will […]

‘Tell me what I have to do…’

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January 29, 2013 at 16:45

The Impact Leadership Conference, a new addition to the CFG calendar and a new collaboration with our partners NPC, promised to be challenging and exciting from the start.  Impact is highly topical, and following the work that has been done to cement some basic principles and ideas sector wide, it seemed timely to hold an event which would offer support to sector leaders that really want to take this on, to get better at it and to further develop peer learning. To say the least, there is varied understanding of impact in the sector.  There are those that probably believe […]

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

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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 […]

Public service delivery is risky business

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January 2, 2013 at 12:49

The end of the year saw government announcing a series of master classes to aid charities bidding for contracts to better understand the new public service delivery environment.  Due in Spring 2013, this complements the Commissioning Academy which aims to improve the relationship from the other side, helping commissioners understand how to interact with civil society. Both are welcome, much needed, and should help to improve understanding of the challenges and priorities for both parties – in particular informing their risk profiles. Although it’s a sweeping generalisation, it is fair to say that both charities and local authorities can be […]

Banking Standards Commission report sparks further debate on the banking reforms

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December 21, 2012 at 14:34

Today the long and messy process of reforming the banking sector to avoid another catastrophe got shaken up by the publication of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards’ report on the reforms.  A shake up which could also affect the way the reforms impact charities. The Commission was set up following the LIBOR scandals to look at standards in banking, and was also tasked with conducting pre-legislative scrutiny of the Banking Reform Bill, the Treasury’s package of measures (based on the Independent Commission on Banking’s recommendations) to reform the banking sector to increase competition, stability and integrity. The Commission’s scrutiny […]

FATCA: The facts (plus a few observations)

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December 20, 2012 at 10:50

Few people outside of the financial services industry have heard of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), and even fewer would expect it to have any direct impact on UK charities. However, the early signs are that this complex piece of US legislation will add another unwanted layer of red tape to UK charity regulation.  But before delving into what it might mean for charities, here’s a brief summary of the legislative beast that is FATCA: FATCA is new US legislation aimed at combating tax evasion by US residents using foreign accounts – an uncontroversial policy goal but with […]