Government misses chance to integrate civil society into policy agenda

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June 2, 2015 at 12:07

What’s a cabinet committee? It’s probably just politicos like myself that get excited by the appointments to Cabinet Committees, but they are far more important than the much more prestigious Cabinet where only top level discussions take place. These committees handle the day-to-day decision making of government and are where the policy agenda of the government is hammered out between the various competing departments. Those committees on Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Economic policy are the most important, but there are a number of small committees which work on particular topical areas, such as the committee that has now been […]

Gift Aid could be the key to encouraging a culture of giving

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April 8, 2015 at 10:21

Charities Aid Foundation has released its latest UK Giving report for 2014 which provides an excellent insight into the state of giving and donations in the UK. One of the key lessons that I believe that we should take from the report, however, is that more needs to be done to encourage a culture of charitable giving in the UK – one of the key asks from the sector in the latest Managing in a New Normal report. This is particularly important for young people. A lot has been written in recent months about the need for the sector to do more to […]

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 […]

A chance to restart the social investment conversation

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March 31, 2015 at 09:00

Last Friday saw the launch of the Alternative Social Investment Commission’s report. You can read the full report with its conclusions and recommendations here. As someone who has followed the social investment market’s development closely after the past few years, this report is a welcome breath of fresh air in a debate which appeared to have stagnated. The report starts, quite rightly, by looking at what social investment actually is. Over the years, there has been a tendency to radically extend the definition of social investment to meaning any money that the sector receives that isn’t a grant or a […]

The real picture – what can we learn from the Whole of Government Accounts 2013-14?

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March 30, 2015 at 17:17

Are you a government spending anorak? If so, I am sure that like me you spent all night reading through the Whole of Government Accounts (WGA) 2013-14 which was published last Thursday. WGA consolidates the audited accounts of around 5,500 organisations across the public sector, to produce a comprehensive, accounts based picture of the financial position of the UK public sector. They are different from the National Accounts, because they use the International Financial Reporting Standards that charities and private sector bodies often use. So the WGA includes future spending to meet current obligations, PFI liabilities, pension liabilities and the […]

Capacity building – a dividing line in 2015?

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March 10, 2015 at 10:16

Last week’s election hustings at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Civil Society and Volunteering generated a number of news articles. I attended the hustings, which were certainly lively and prompted a great deal of discussion and debate afterwards. There was the usual back and forth over the Lobbying Act and exchanges over Eric Pickles statement on grants to charities not being used for lobbying. However, the most interesting section (for me) was the on capacity building for the sector, and I think it revealed a subtle divide between the Conservatives and Labour positions.* When asked about capacity building the […]

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 […]

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 […]

The significance of the Spending Review

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June 25, 2013 at 13:38

In 2010 the Spending Review set departmental expenditure limits (DELs) from 2011/12 to 2014/15, outlining details of savings in the region of £86bn over that time. Tomorrow, nearly three years later and not much closer to eliminating the structural deficit, a new Spending Review will set DELs for the year 2015/16, aiming to achieve another £11.5bn of cuts. The next general election is set for 2015 and Labour has already said they will honour DELs set for the 2015/16 financial year.  The significance of this review is not necessarily the length of the period to which it refers though, but […]

FATCA: What charities need to know

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May 10, 2013 at 10:59

Eva Abeles and Melora Jezierska provide an update on the current status of FATCA legislation and its implications for the charity sector It is fair to say that FATCA (the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) has not been on the charity world’s radar as it is, after all, a piece of US tax legislation.  However, charities operating internationally should be aware of FATCA to ensure they are not inadvertently caught by the rules.  What is FATCA? FATCA is extra-territorial US legislation which seeks to combat US tax evasion in a rather heavy-handed manner.  It requires foreign financial institutions (‘FFIs’), e.g. banks, […]