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Gift Aid without the paperwork… worth the risk!

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August 10, 2012 at 14:59

My edition of the textbook, ‘What Works’, has gathered a convincing layer of dust of late.  With a title reference to rhetoric on ‘evidence-based policy’, once a critical companion to my studies, the book now has a feeling of an old relic from the past.   Looking at recent proposals, many in the charity sector have asked whether we have lost something in terms of attempting to frame policy decisions within a sound evidence base.  It may sometimes be rhetoric, but surely it helps focus decisions on ‘what works’. Clear policy objectives and direction are difficult to identify among an untidy […]

Going global with charity reporting

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August 3, 2012 at 15:40

  Last month a CFG symposium, hosted by MHA MacIntyre Hudson, brought leading figures together to discuss whether there should be an international reporting standard for not-for-profit (NFP) organisations. Representatives from the international charity sector, including Oxfam and the British Red Cross, joined accounting bodies and standard setters hoping to pin down some of the growing number of ideas for greater commonality in not-for-profit reporting at an international level.  Acronyms aside (and there were many!), it proved to be a highly thought-provoking and constructive discussion. Currently, international accounting standards exist for both business and public sector and apply in most developed countries, […]

Banking reform shouldn’t put charities at risk

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July 13, 2012 at 14:15

Apart from the respite provided by expense-fiddling MPs and phone hacking journalists, banks have dominated the headlines as the UK’s biggest villains for the past few years.  Even now they’re back in the news for the wrong reasons. While individuals’ heads have rolled, since 2008 the Government has been under huge pressure to do more – to detoxify the banks and make our banking system safer and more stable.  In June, following recommendations from the Independent Commission on Banking, the Government laid out its plans for fundamental change in its banking reform white paper. Unfortunately, lurking in the white paper […]

Easing the pension burden on charities, just slightly…

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June 15, 2012 at 11:59

Having gone through one or more tough pension valuations in the last few years, many charities have put their schemes on a financially stronger footing by reducing benefits, higher contributions, long term recovery plans and the pledging of assets. Those facing a valuation in the last 12 months or in the near future could be forgiven for being disheartened for the deficit stubbornly refusing to reduce. The primary cause is nothing to do with investments as most asset classes have delivered some impressive performance over the last few years. Instead it is the valuation of the liabilities, which are based […]

Charity fraud – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

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June 8, 2012 at 13:12

Last week we launched our Charity Fraud guide, along with the Fraud Advisory Panel’s (FAP) Safer Giving guidance for donors, at a special breakfast seminar event.  We easily secured the first three speakers, from the FAP, National Fraud Authority (NFA) and Charity Commission, however the fourth speaker – a charity who had experienced fraud and was willing to talk about it – proved somewhat more difficult to find.  Few suitable names sprung to mind and even fewer that we thought might be willing to stand up and share their story.  Just organising the fraud event was indicative of the challenges […]

Foot-shooting policy making

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May 14, 2012 at 15:30

The tax relief cap policy is the latest example of charities (and their beneficiaries) suffering disproportionately as a consequence of badly thought through policies – in other words charity and our civil society being an after-thought and not the first thought. Decisions are being made as a result of simplistic politically charged arguments, without considering the wider picture – in a time where society needs it most, fostering a strong civil society has become the last thought.   This is essentially an example of poor policy making, and poor policy making often has damaging results.  In the example of the tax relief cap […]