Action for Children unfairly and constructively dismissed social worker, tribunal finds

Janette Coyle claimed she had been bullied and undermined by her manager at the charity’s Plymouth city centre office

An employment tribunal has ruled that Action for Children unfairly and constructively dismissed an employee who felt she had been bullied by her line manager.

Janette Coyle resigned from her role as a social work lead practitioner at the charity’s Plymouth city centre office in August 2015, after she had been made to work alone in small office with little natural light, which she said provoked anxiety because of an incident in 1997 when she had opened a door and the body of a person who had hanged themselves the day before swung into her.

She also claimed she felt bullied and undermined by her manager, Sally Kendrick, who compared her unfavourably to other staff and complained that Coyle’s team was not working quickly enough, according to the tribunal’s judgment, published last week.

The tribunal hearing took place in January, when the charity argued that Coyle had left because she was struggling with the demands of her role.

Coyle had worked for the charity since July 2014 when the charity took on the contract to run children’s centres in Plymouth, providing safeguarding and support for vulnerable children.

She had worked for the previous contract holder, Keyham Community Partnership, since September 2008 and had transferred to Action for Children when it took over.

The tribunal found the transfer of the contract had created a “significant backlog” of work for Coyle and her team and the charity had failed to resolve the problem a year later.

“The tribunal is satisfied that there was no evidence that the claimant was responsible for such issues,” the judgment said.

Anne Goraj, the tribunal judge, said in her judgment she did not believe that those managing Coyle had been made fully aware of her fear of being in the small space or of the traumatic incident with the body.

The judge said she did not believe Kendrick had deliberately intended to undermine Coyle on a number of occasions, but had been “clumsy and tactless”, which had been upsetting for Coyle, the judgment said.

The tribunal also found Coyle would “reasonably have felt distressed and undermined” by some of Kendrick’s comments.

It concluded that the charity’s management had failed to carry out a proper investigation into Coyle’s allegation of bullying and found she felt she had been shouted at by another manager, Susan Turle, in an investigatory meeting into her performance.

Before she left the organisation Coyle was being investigated over her handling of a difficult and potentially violent family, even though her actions in the situation had won her praise from Plymouth City Council’s welfare and safeguarding officer, according to the judgment.

It said the charity had been right to investigate the issue, but not to open a second investigation into the incident.

When Coyle was signed off sick with work-related stress in June 2015, the charity claimed to have found several problems in her caseload which needed to be investigated and suspended her, although it did not thoroughly explain to the tribunal what the accusations against her were.

The tribunal ruled that Coyle had been unfairly constructively dismissed and awarded her compensation, which will be decided at a later date.

It ordered an additional 20 per cent to be added to the compensation figure to reflect the fact that Coyle had not been subject to a formal disciplinary hearing when she left, had not been given full details of the accusations against her and the issue had been dealt with in an inappropriate way by the charity.

An Action for Children spokesman said: “We do not provide detailed comment on individual cases but can confirm that there was a legal dispute regarding termination of employment that was heard by an employment tribunal. These proceedings were progressed and concluded in July 2017.”

Third Sector was unable to contact Coyle for comment.

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MPs quiz government on social care back-pay bill

Social care charities have been given 15 months to repay an estimated £400m in back-pay for sleep-in providers

Conservative and Labour MPs have questioned the government’s position on the 15-month deadline for social care charities to repay approximately £400m in back-pay to sleep-in care workers.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, asked Greg Clark, the business secretary, whether the government would commit funding to social care providers to pay sleep-in care workers back-pay of up to six years.

Sleep-in care workers were originally paid a flat-rate, but two employment tribunal decisions last year forced the government to change its policy and make the workers eligible for the minimum wage.

This led to HM Revenue & Customs pursuing charities for back-pay, which Mencap claimed could cost the sector as much as £400m, and led to a new government initiative, the Social Care Compliance Scheme, being announced last week to address the problem.

The SCCS gives social care organisations a year to work with HMRC to identify the amount of back-pay they owe, and an additional three months to settle any outstanding sums with their workers.

Long-Bailey told parliament that the government’s proposals had been branded “inadequate” and many charities felt they were “writing their own suicide notes” if they took part.

She asked Clark whether the government would “commit the necessary funding in the Budget to avert a crisis in the care sector, which could see many businesses struggle to survive, impacting on already fragile care services, and leave thousands of care staff without the wages they are owed”.

Clark responded that the interim proposal had been made to ensure a “robust” solution to the issue of back-pay could be formed by the government.

The government’s statement announcing the SCCS confirmed that it was talking with the European Commission to see if government support for the social care sector would contravene EU state-aid rules.

In questions to the business department, which also took place in the Commons on Tuesday, Peter Aldous, the Conservative MP for Waveney, said the SCCS “unfortunately adds to the uncertainty facing the social care sector” and urged the government to “get back round the table with the sector to find an acceptable long-term solution”.

Margot James, a business minister, said in response that the department was working with the Department of Health and the Department for Communities and Local Government to put pressure on the Treasury to provide a long-term solution to the back-pay issue.

Kevin Hollinrake, the Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton, asked whether it would be sensible “to consider revisiting the legislation in this place simply to return to the pre-tribunal position”.

James said even if the government changed the law, which she said it certainly would not, “it would not have any impact on workers’ eligibility for historical back-pay liabilities”.

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Social care charities given 15 months to settle estimated £400m back-pay bill

An announcement by the government says the organisations have a year to identify what they owe sleep-in carers and a further three months to pay the arrears

Charities that owe back-pay to sleep-in care workers have been given 15 months to pay up to six years’ worth of arrears totalling an estimated £400m, under a scheme set out by the government.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Department of Health and HM Revenue & Customs yesterday published the headline details of a voluntary scheme designed to encourage charities to pay back-pay to sleep-in care workers, which gives organisations a year to identify what they owe and a further three months to pay off the arrears.

But charities and lawyers criticised the announcement, with the learning disability charity Mencap warning that charities signing up to the scheme could effectively be “writing their own suicide notes”.

Sleep-in care workers, who are widely used in the sector to care for vulnerable adults, were typically paid a flat rate of between £35 and £45, with workers receiving either the national minimum wage or the national living wage for any hours actually spent providing care rather than being asleep, according to the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group.

But in the wake of two employment tribunal decisions last year, the DBEIS changed its guidance to ensure that the national minimum wage applied to sleep-in carers for the entirety of the time they are present.

Mencap estimated in the summer that the back-pay bill could cost the sector £400m and bankrupt many social care charities and providers.

Under the new Social Care Compliance Scheme, HMRC will begin writing to social care employers that have complaints against them for underpaying sleep-in care workers to encourage them to sign up to the programme.

Employers that choose not to take part “will be subject to HMRC’s normal enforcement approach”, the government said.

The statement from the government said it was looking at ways to minimise the impact on the charity sector, and was discussing with the European Commission whether any government support for the social care sector would contravene EU state-aid rules.

But the announcement has been met with fury from charities and representative bodies in the social care sector.

Mencap, which would owe £20m in back-pay and has said it would face closing 200 residential care homes and services and making 4,000 staff redundant if forced to pay, claimed the government’s announcement failed to provide reassurance to patients and staff.

Derek Lewis, chair of Mencap, said: “Three months on from the government’s commitment to seek a solution to the devastating £400m liability hanging over the sector, there is only the promise of further delay and no commitment, even in principle, to accept responsibility for a liability created by government changing the rules.

“Details of the scheme have not yet been made available. Many providers, particularly smaller ones, might be reluctant to take part in the absence of any funding assurance, concerned that they will be writing their own suicide notes.

“It is quite wrong that providers should be expected to subsidise the increased cost of on-going sleep-in care.”

Steve Scown, chair of the VODG, said the government had failed to consult properly with the social care sector, despite the VODG providing detailed analysis and advice to the Department of Health.

“The announcement raises lots of uncertainties and unanswered questions, which we shall be taking to government,” said Scown. “This situation risks yet more unintended consequences as the limbo for providers and personal budget holders continues.”

Rhidian Hughes, chief executive of the VODG, said: “Voluntary sector care and support providers are disproportionately affected by social care budget cuts because the people they mainly support are publicly funded. The sleep-in crisis is placing immense strain on the sector and we are calling on government to urgently identify a long-term and sustainable funding solution for social care.”

Martin Green, chief executive of the representative body Care England, said the government “needs to accept the responsibility for meeting the substantial costs of backdating sleep-in costs and take full account of the reality that the sector has been operating for years within very contradictory guidance”.

Matt Wort, a partner at the law firm Anthony Collins Solicitors, urged charities not to sign up to the SCCS until an appeal by Mencap about sleep-in care workers’ wages had concluded.

“This is once again an ill-considered move by government that could have a devastating impact on the UK social care industry,” Wort said.

“Local authority and NHS commissioners won’t have funded providers sufficiently for the shifts in question to compensate this shortfall. Forcing care providers to pay for its own mistakes and leaving essential services at the mercy of HMRC is both unethical and nonsensical.

“Businesses and individuals must not sign up to this self-assessment scheme until they have further clarity. Mencap’s forthcoming court of appeal case, due to be heard in March 2018, could change the position as to whether sleep-in carers are entitled to the minimum wage.”

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Big Lottery Fund offers £4.5m funding to support local social action

Under the Place Based Social Action programme, organisations can apply for an initial £5,000, which could become as much as £500,000

The Big Lottery Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport are offering £4.5m of funding to projects that will support social action in local communities.

The Place Based Social Action programme, which has opened to expressions of interest, is offering up to £500,000 of funding to partnerships that will help people improve their local areas.

Guidance on the scheme provided by the BLF, which will provide funding until December 2024, says this could include activity such as helping people and organisations to take action on issues that matter to them or encouraging new ways of working so that local people have more influence over and ownership of local services.

The guidance says that applications should come from local partnerships, which could involve community members, local charities or business, or representatives from the local authority.

Each application must be endorsed by the relevant local authority and only one application can be made per local authority area.

Up to 20 applications will be selected for initial funding of £5,000 to create plans setting out how social action can help respond to local priorities.

From those successful applications, 10 will be chosen to apply for phase two, when funding of up to £240,000 will be available for each scheme.

Five of those will later be selected to apply for phase three, when an additional £255,000 will be available to each project.

Tracey Crouch, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said: “People know what are the most important matters in their local areas, and this joint funding will help communities come together and drive the change they want to see. I am looking forward to seeing the positive impact this investment will have.”

Expressions of interest can be made until 28 November.

For more information, click here.

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Social Investment Business appoints new chief executive

Nick Temple, deputy chief executive at Social Enterprise UK, will take up the role in January

Nick Temple has been appointed chief executive of the Social Investment Business, the organisation has announced.

Temple, who is deputy chief executive of the umbrella body Social Enterprise UK, will take up his new role in January.

He will replace Jonathan Jenkins, who left SIB earlier this year to become chief executive at London’s Air Ambulance.

Temple, who has been at SEUK for six years, was previously an independent consultant working with organisations including the British Council and UnLtd. Before that he was director of policy and communications at the School for Social Entrepreneurs. 

SIB has not disclosed what Temple’s salary will be, but Jenkins earned between £100,000 and £109,999 in 2016, according to SIB’s most recent accounts. 

“I am tremendously excited to be joining SIB and cannot wait to get started,” said Temple.

“I am joining at a very important time. We need to make social investment work for more charities and social enterprises and SIB is brilliantly placed to test innovative approaches and explore new partnerships that can help tackle the big challenges we face as a country.”

Hazel Blears, chair of the SIB, said: “Nick’s knowledge and understanding of social enterprise and social investment is second to none and I am absolutely delighted that he will be our next chief executive.

“I am looking forward to working with Nick to take our business from strength to strength as we move into a new phase of development and use more of our own money to test new approaches to social investment that help more organisations improve people’s lives.”

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Social investment should not replace public funding, says shadow Treasury minister

Anneliese Dodds, MP for Oxford East, tells the Labour Party conference it should not replace statutory services that should be carried out by the public sector

Social investment should supplement, not replace, public sector funding for youth services and there is a “clash of cultures” between social investment and the charities it funds, a shadow Treasury minister has told delegates at the Labour Party conference in Brighton.

Speaking at a fringe event about social investment in the youth and community sector, Anneliese Dodds, the MP for Oxford East, said social investment was part of a “mixed economy” but should not be used to replace statutory services that should be carried out by the public sector.

“Where I am concerned is that sometimes some of the rhetoric seems to suggest this could actually shift into some statutory services, and for me the whole point is that it should be operating in areas where there is such a high level of risk that local authorities and public funding can’t cover it,” she said.

“I don’t think it should be moving into areas where ultimately we should have proper public provision and where we really need to have that stability of service quality, especially around statutory responsibilities.”

Dodds also highlighted a “clash of cultures” between the predominately business-oriented language used by the social investment sector and the actual role youth charities play in society.

“Even the language we use is really interesting,” she said. “We use the language of social entrepreneurs, but we are not talking about profit seekers but about people who are efficient in their use of constrained resources to get really good outcomes. Why do we attach the label ‘entrepreneurs’ to that?”

Other speakers at the event highlighted problems with the perceived complexity of social investment and about people’s understanding of how it worked.

Anna Smee, chief executive of UK Youth, said that acceptance of social investment was growing, but in the main because of charities’ problems in getting grant funding.

“Three or four years ago, people didn’t know what social finance was,” said Smee. “It was a really big and scary thing and seemed like this crazy David Cameron idea that would never happen.

“Now we are seeing much more acceptance of it, mainly because people have no choice – they’ve been driven down such a challenging funding route they were willing to consider everything.

“But most of the youth organisations we’ve spoken to still don’t know where to go. They’ve never heard of the key fund, they’ve never heard of Big Issue Invest, never heard of Nesta and all the infrastructure that has grown up over the past five years. They didn’t see it as something for them.”

Smee said that youth charities had typically struggled to collect good data and this needed to be improved. Best practice should be shared, she said, to help attract social investment.

Leigh Middleton, managing director of the National Youth Agency, said that many organisations were put off by the “significant complexity” of social investment agreements, and funders were still reliant on data and key performance indicators being met rather than more qualitative evidence about youth charities’ work.

Barry Williams, director of the youth charity membership body Ambition, said cynicism about social investment “is still out there” and he was concerned that some charities were hanging on for the return of grant funding rather than exploring alternative finance models.

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Social media opportunities widen as LinkedIn launches video

Although it is late to the party, the networking platform’s latest application could prove useful for charities

Charities have a new social media element to capitalise on following LinkedIn’s announcement that it is introducing video to its platform.

The new feature will allow users to upload a video to the site, via LinkedIn’s iOS or Android mobile app and follows a limited release and testing earlier this year. There is no live streaming capability but that will be rolled out shortly.

Primarily used as a business tool for networking or finding a job, the company hopes that video will attract more users and increase engagement. LinkedIn made the announcement in a blog post in which it also revealed that users will have audience insights such as companies, people’s job titles and locations of their video viewers, as well as well as how many views, likes, and comments the videos are receiving.

“With these insights you can begin to understand if you’re reaching the people and companies that matter to you,” a statement from LinkedIn says. “You can find audience insights in the dashboard section of your LinkedIn profile on both mobile and desktop.”

Video has become an increasingly important aspect of social media platforms with Facebook and Twitter in particular pushing the medium to drive content and engagement while Snapchat made video its primary driver from launch. LinkedIn, sometimes criticised for being behind the curve with such developments, might be late with user-generated video on its platform, but with more than 500 million registered members across the globe, including 23 million in the UK, the potential is huge.

In a move which perhaps shows it is not catering for the social media-savvy crowd, LinkedIn has also provided a guide advising users on how to share video, what sort of video to share and best practice for creating videos.

With more and more charities harnessing the potential of social media and video to a greater extent, there may well be opportunities on offer. But Kirsty Marrins, a digital communications consultant, believes charities will need to think carefully about how to use it and advises that what works on Facebook might not necessarily translate to LinkedIn.


“As with all social media content, charities will need a clear strategy for how they will use video on LinkedIn,” she says. “Charities should consider video on LinkedIn as a way to engage with employees of a particular company where they are up for a charity of the year partnership and need to secure votes or if they want to showcase the impact that a corporate partnership has had.

“Other ideas could be to engage with high net worth individuals through a specific capital appeal campaign or the use of video to help recruit talent to the organisation. For those on LinkedIn who have had early access to this new feature, they are reporting an increase of 20x in engagement so it could be a very powerful feature for charities, if used strategically.”

Marrins says that a logical next step for LinkedIn would be to add of live video streaming to the platform so that organisations can live stream events, talks and Q&As.

“LinkedIn has always been late to the party and trails behind other social platforms when it comes to introducing new features. If they want to be innovative – and be first for once – they could introduce video chat,” she says.

Liz Sables, web marketing managing at The Brain Tumour Charity, says she could immediately see two areas of potential for the platform in the charity’s work.

“We have effectively used video in our communications on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and there is great potential for this success to translate to LinkedIn,” she says. 

“The new social media element will allow our corporate partnerships team to put out more personalised and creative content, thanking our existing partners, generating support and canvassing staff votes for new partnerships.

Sables also identifies potential improvements to the charity’s recruitment process, saying: “It would be great to see an applicant showing their enthusiasm for their specialist subject in a video or a time lapse of a project they have done which is referenced in their CV.

By using new digital tools to market themselves, it gives applicants an added edge, helping them stand out and allowing us to recruit the best talent.”

Athar Abidi, social media manager at the British Heart Foundation, acknowledges the advancements LinkedIn has made but is more circumspect about to move forward with the platform.

“LinkedIn has certainly learnt from other platforms in recent years, and updated their newsfeed with an improved ability to surface more interesting and relevant content for their users,” he says.

“With this in mind, we intend to develop a revised LinkedIn content strategy for our professional audience this year. Video is becoming central to how we communicate our charitable activities to our varied audiences, so we look forward to trying out this new functionality when the time comes.”

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Big Lottery Fund renews social entrepreneurs funding with £2.6m grant

The Big Lottery Fund has given the School for Social Entrepreneurs a grant of £2.6m, renewing its funding for social entrepreneurs.

The grant will support 1,300 social entrepreneurs over the next five years with grants of up to £10,000, building on the 1,300 already supported through BLF’s work with the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme, in partnership with SSE, since the programme was launched in 2012.

Students also attend a year-long SSE learning programme to help them start up, grow or scale their organisation, and receive mentoring from Lloyds Banking Group.

James Harcourt, grant making director for England at the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Collaborations like this allow us to maximise the impact of our funding, and the entrepreneurial aspect of the programme aligns with our commitment to putting people in the lead and having a positive impact in communities across England.”

The sixth cohort of the programme will begin in October 2017. People interested in applying can register their interest at

The local charities support organisation Localgiving is to host a series of webinars in the build-up to the launch of this year’s match-funding Grow your Tenner campaign.

The campaign begins on 17 October and runs until the match funding runs out or on 16 November, whichever is sooner. The focus of the 2017 campaign is monthly giving with Localgiving aiming to help charities and community groups attract long-term supporters.

Donors will be able to support a Localgiving charity or community group by either making a one-time donation which will be matched up to £10 or setting up a monthly donation. After a donor’s first six donations, the following six will be matched up to £10.

Localgiving said it will run four webinars for its member charities: Grow your tenner 2017 – an introduction; Reaching new audiences online; How to make the most of a match fund campaign, and; How to attract regular donors online between 21 September and 12 October.

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Clore Social Leadership наградила почти £ 500 тыс. BLF за улучшение лидерства

Средства будут поступать из Фонда «Достигнутые сообщества BLF» и будут потрачены на сферы взаимодействия, понимания, руководства и инноваций

Clore Social Leadership получил грант в размере около 500 000 фунтов стерлингов из Большого лотерейного фонда, чтобы помочь улучшить лидерство в добровольном секторе.

Клору, который руководит целым рядом программ развития для существующих и стремящихся лидеров благотворительности, будет предоставлено 498 744 фунтов стерлингов в течение трех лет с января, чтобы Клоре «стать ведущим для лидерства в секторе добровольных, общественных и социальных предприятий в Англии », Говорится в заявлении Клора.

Благотворительная акция сообщила, что средства, которые будут поступать из Фонда «Достижения общин BLF», будут проводиться в четырех ключевых областях: привлечение, понимание, руководство и инновации.

Они были идентифицированы с помощью опроса Clore в прошлом году, в котором было установлено, что многие лидеры изо всех сил пытались инвестировать в развитие лидерства из-за нехватки времени и денег и отсутствия ясности в отношении лучших вариантов обучения.

Чтобы помочь удовлетворить этот спрос, Клор сказал, что будет использовать финансирование для диверсификации программ, которые он предложил, чтобы привлечь больше лидеров сектора.

Представитель Clore сказал, что средства, потраченные в сфере взаимодействия, будут сосредоточены на подключении лидеров и создании региональных одноранговых сетей по всей Англии, которые «способствовали бы обучению, сотрудничеству и великому лидерству».

Она сказала, что Клор также проведет исследование в течение трех лет, чтобы изучить, как сектор занимается развитием лидерства, каковы потребности и где могут быть обнаружены пробелы на рынке.

Шакс Гош (Shaks Ghosh), исполнительный директор Clore Social Leadership, сказал, что грант означает, что Клор может привлечь больше организаций, чтобы обеспечить добровольному сектору лучшее руководство для поддержки своих бенефициаров и более широкого сообщества.

«Лидерство для всех – от руководителей крупных организаций до руководителей местных групп под руководством местных сообществ», – сказала она. «Мы хотим стимулировать участие в руководстве, чтобы сектор был оснащен, чтобы вести и двигать изменения».

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