Civil society plans ‘a timid, tick-box exercise’, says shadow charities minister

Steve Reed accuses the government of attempting to cover up its neglect of the sector

The government’s plan to develop a civil society strategy is a timid tick-box exercise, according to the shadow minister for civil society.

In a statement released this morning, Steve Reed accused the government of neglecting the sector and said it was attempting to cover this up.

Tracey Crouch, the Minister for Civil Society, today announced plans to develop a strategy through a listening exercise that will begin next year.

But Reed said charities would have little faith in the “timid” strategy, particularly after the government rejected the recommendations of Lord Hodgson’s review of the lobbying act.

“This civil society strategy is little more than a tick-box exercise to cover up the government’s total neglect of the sector,” said Reed.

“It doesn’t take a year-long review to find out that demoting the civil society brief from a powerful, cross-department position in the Cabinet Office was always going to leave the sector isolated.”

Gemma Walpole, chief executive of the small charity the Norfolk Family Mediation Service, welcomed the announcement that the strategy would explore how charities could collaborate.

“It’s really good news,” she said. “But small charities are already doing lots of collaborative work on how to be more effective together, so I hope that the strategy listens to small charities and takes into account work that has already been done, rather than duplicating it.”

Andrew O’Brien, director of policy and engagement at the Charity Finance Group, said it was important that the strategy was backed up by funding and a “beefed-up” Office of Civil Society to implement it.

“Without this, any strategy has the risk of becoming merely words on paper and having no impact on the operating environment for charities,” he said.

“Given the tough times ahead, we cannot afford to waste the potential of the sector.”

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the charity leaders body Acevo and the Association of Charitable Foundations all welcomed Crouch’s announcement.

Karl Wilding, director of public policy and volunteering at the NCVO, said: “Making sure voluntary organisations are valued and supported by the government will mean they can do even more across society.”

He said the consultative approach set out by the minister was right to get the best results.

Vicky Browning, chief executive of Acevo, said: “It’s good to see Tracey Crouch’s commitment to producing a civil society strategy that will protect the sustainability of the vital work our sector does.”

She said she hoped the strategy would “provide a platform to support and develop our sector and its impact in the years ahead”.

The strategy proposal has also been welcomed by those representing small civil society organisations.

Mandy Johnson, chief executive of the Small Charities Coalition, said: “I’m genuinely excited about it. Tracey Crouch has a track record, having developed a similar strategy in her role as sports minister, which seems to be going well.

“My only concern is that she is talking to the right people, not just those with the money, and recognises that 97 per cent of the charity sector is the little guys.”

Tony Armstrong, chief executive of the community charity Locality, said the strategy needed to focus on how government could harness the power of community by providing more support for community organisations.

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Income at the Alzheimer’s Society passes £100m for the first time

The charity was helped by a 12 per cent year-on-year rise in voluntary income, which was up to £65.8m

Annual income at the Alzheimer’s Society’s passed £100m for the first time last year due, the charity’s latest accounts show.

Its accounts for the year to 31 March 2017, which were published on the Companies House website yesterday, show an income of £103.6m, compared with £97.9m the previous year.

This was helped by a 12 per cent increase in the charity’s voluntary income, which rose from to £65.8m from £58.7m during the previous year.

The increase follows a rebrand by the charity earlier this year, which saw the introduction of a new logo in the style of a forget-me-not flower in an effort to make the charity’s branding seem warmer and more accessible.

The accounts show that the charity spent £109.5m in 2016/17, with research expenditure going above £10m for the first time and fundraising spending rising from £16.4m to £20.5m, which was down to extra investment as part of the charity’s expansion strategy.

The accounts also show total reserves fell from £36.1m to £35m, of which £26.1m was unrestricted. The charity says in the accounts that the fall in reserves “was conscious and controlled as we invest for future growth and innovation”.

The highest earner at the charity received between £150,001 to £160,000, the accounts show. This was paid to a long-standing staff member who was given a severance package during the year. 

A statement from the society said: “The top income paid to an individual fits into the £150,000 to £160,000 salary bracket. This includes the full annual salary and severance package paid to an individual, long-standing member of staff.

“Packages like these are entirely exceptional. They are only ever made in agreement with our board and subject to evidence that demonstrates the severance package is in the best interests of Alzheimer’s Society’s charitable purpose.”

The accounts show that the charity paid redundancy costs of £389,000, compared with £104,000 the previous year.

The accounts show that Alzheimer’s Society trebled its research funding portfolio to £30.5m – its highest level – including the creation of three centres of excellence in care and prevention research.

Of the research funding from the charity, £9.2m worth of grants were handed out to new research, the accounts show.

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Partnerships round-up: Waitrose gives £500k to Marine Conservation Society

Plus: Bethany Christian Trust in new alliance; Book Trust links up with four partners; and Chestertons golf day raises £3,000-plus for St Mungo’s

The supermarket chain Waitrose is donating £500,000 from its carrier bag fund to the Marine Conservation Society to help organise 1,000 beach and river clean-up events in 2017 and 2018. The events are expected to involve thousands of volunteers, who will remove rubbish from beaches and rivers. Many of the plastics removed will be sorted and recycled, which the company said was a first. The initial event will take place from 15 September until 18 September.

The Scottish homelessness charity the Bethany Christian Trust has been chosen as the official charity partner for the family-run Craigie’s farm and restaurant, based in Edinburgh. The company will raise money for and awareness of the charity by involving it in events held at the farm and restaurant.

The Book Trust has entered into a four-way partnership with the retailer Sainsbury’s, the publisher Penguin Random House and Entertainment One, which owns the brand of the children’s character Peppa Pig. The four organisations will collaborate to publish Shop With Peppa, an interactive sticker storybook to encourage parents to read with their small children. Copies of the book will be available exclusively from Sainsbury’s stores across the UK from 21 August. The new project will complement the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Awards, held in August, which are also produced in partnership with the Book Trust and celebrate the best children’s books, encouraging parents and carers of young children to spend time together reading. The awards will be supported by in-store activity in Sainsbury’s shops to promote children’s reading, including special appearances Peppa Pig and her family.

The property company Chestertons has raised more than £3,000 at its annual Charity Golf Day for the homelessness charity St Mungo’s. More than 40 players, including Chestertons’ staff, clients and suppliers, attended Malden Golf Club in New Malden, Surrey, to take part and help beat last year’s total of £2,500. The company is aiming to raise funds for St Mungo’s through various initiatives including bake sales, quiz evenings, bowling competitions and wine tastings.

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MS Society получает 55 000 фунтов стерлингов для поддержки пациентов с MS в Уэльсе

Опубликовано: 11 июля 2017

Общество MS получило грант в размере 55 000 фунтов стерлингов для финансирования проекта, который будет поддерживать около 1300 человек, живущих с рассеянным склерозом (MS) в Уэльсе и страдающих от рассеянного склероза

My MS; Проект «Мои права, мой выбор» финансируемый Фондом крупных лотерей, начинается в этом месяце и будет защищать жизнь людей, живущих с МС в Уэльсе.

Этот грант будет финансировать важную часть проекта, Серию семинаров и курсов для самоуправлений и консультаций для людей с РС, которые также проводят специальные занятия для семей и лиц, осуществляющих уход.

В США насчитывается 4 900 человек с MS в Уэльсе и более 100 000 в Великобритании. Симптомы обычно появляются, когда люди находятся в возрасте от 20 до 30 лет, когда MS атакует нервную систему и может привести к боли, усталости, потерям зрения, недержанию и различным формам инвалидности.


MS Society Директор Cymru Линн Хьюз сказал:

Мы очень благодарны масонам Южного Уэльса за их щедрый грант, который позволит нам значительно улучшить жизнь валлийских людей с помощью MS, с конкретными сессиями, предназначенными для их семей и опекунов. Это поможет более чем половине людей в Уэльсе с MS, которые не могут управлять своим состоянием и не могут защищаться от своего имени из-за отсутствия информации, консультаций и поддержки.

Do Вам нужна поддержка?

MS Society предлагает бесплатную телефонную линию помощи – 0808 800 8000 – и информацию можно найти на их веб-сайте >>

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Mixed views emerge on Rob Wilson’s time as Minister for Civil Society

Wilson yesterday lost his Reading East seat to Labour on a surprising night for UK politics

Voluntary sector leaders have given mixed verdicts on Rob Wilson’s time as the Minister for Civil Society, after he lost his seat in yesterday’s general election.

Some praised Wilson’s handling of a difficult few years for the charity sector during his time in post, but another said his tenure had proved “a little bit disappointing”.

Wilson lost his Reading East seat to Labour last night in a dramatic election result that saw the Conservatives lose their overall majority in parliament.

Wilson, who became Minister for Civil Society in 2014 after the resignation of Brooks Newmark, had been the MP for Reading East seat since 2005 and had a majority of 6,250 going into the election.

But a 16-percentage-point swing to Labour meant he was defeated, with Matt Rodda becoming the new MP for the constituency.

Neil Cleeveley, chief executive of the local infrastructure body Navca, said that although Wilson’s tenure did have some positives, his time as charities minister would be regarded as a “little bit disappointing” overall.

Cleeveley said: “The focus he has had on small and medium-sized charities has been very welcome.”

But he added that this focus did not translate into useful measures to help local charities provide services to their communities, particularly when cuts to local authority budgets were taken into account.

“There has been a bit of an over-focus on the contractual relationship between charities and public services,” Cleeveley said.

More creative thought and the use of collaboration and grants would have been welcome in terms of helping smaller charities become involved in the provision of public services, he added.

On Twitter, Joe Saxton, co-founder of the consultancy nfpSynergy, welcomed Wilson’s departure.

Another person on Twitter reminded Wilson of his comment after the 2015 election, when he told somebody who asked him about homelessness not to be a “bad loser”.

But others paid tribute to Wilson’s work over the past three years, with many noting his role in leading the government’s response to the media backlash against charity fundraising practices in 2015.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said Wilson would be remembered as a minister who had led reforms to fundraising, such as the introduction of the Fundraising Regulator.

“He was instrumental in helping to achieve a sensible solution to the problems in fundraising that came to the fore in 2015,” said Etherington, who led the review of fundraising self-regulation and whose proposals Wilson accepted. “Through this, I believe his legacy will include helping to strengthen trust in charities.”

Etherington also praised Wilson’s interest in small charities and hoped his successor would continue to work on the relationship between charities and public services.

Vicky Browning, chief executive of the charity chief executives body Acevo, thanked Wilson for his work during a “difficult period for charities”.

She said: “Once a new government is established, it should look to fill this brief as soon as possible. Charities and social enterprises are the backbone of our society and ought not to be left long without representation at the highest level of government. We look forward to working with the new Minister for Civil Society once appointed.”

SEE ALSO Editorial: It’s time for some strong and stable sector policies

John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, thanked Wilson for his hard work as Minister for Civil Society, and praised his role in setting up the National Citizen Service and his support for the #givingtuesday campaign.

“We wish him and his family all the best for the future and look forward to continuing our positive working relationship with his successor,” Low said.

A statement from the Small Charities Coalition thanked Wilson for his “engagement on issues facing small charities” and expressed hope that work on making public sector commissioning work for small charities would “form the foundation for improving public sector contracting”.

Other charity sector figures paid tribute on Twitter to Wilson’s time in office:

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