Charities Or Businesses : Which Is Which ? Another Rizla Paper Test ?

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
A timely reminder to all " Charities " out there ... exactly what are you in 2018 ?

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... -regulator

Charities need to stop slide in public trust warns regulator.

Groups risking censure, says Charity Commission, citing aggressive fundraising and betrayal of charitable focus.

Registered charities may not survive unless they behave with greater selflessness and stop the slide in public trust, Tina Stowell, chair of the Charity Commission is warning.

Lady Stowell, a former Conservative minister, is to set out a tougher stance over the regulation of the £74bn-a-year sector after a string of scandals, including the collapse of Kids Company in 2015, and the sexual exploitation in Haiti by a senior Oxfam worker, which emerged in 2018.

The UK’s 168,000 registered charities face censure unless they show they are “a living example of charitable purpose”, she will say on Thursday.

In a speech that also attempts to draw a line under criticism of the regulator’s own effectiveness, Stowell will warn that the “concept of charity” is under threat.

She will single out aggressive fundraising practices, the exploitation of vulnerable people, and single-minded pursuit of organisational growth at the expense of charitable objectives, as examples of bad behaviour that should cease.

The speech is likely to be seen in part as an opening salvo in a negotiation for greater government funding following several years of cuts which have weakened the commission.

Stowell will not mention cases by name but will tell charity bosses: “The public has seen questionable behaviour and concluded – you are not who you appear to be.” She will warn that charities no longer enjoy a monopoly on people’s altruistic impulses, with crowdfunding, peer-to-peer apps and social enterprises offering competition.

Last year, the regulator issued a damning report into the Presidents’ Club charity which organised men-only dinners at which staff reported sexual assault.

The number of serious incidents reported to the regulator increased 29% last year. Close to half of people polled in a recent survey for the regulator said their level of trust in charities had fallen in 2018.

“A charity, to inspire trust, must be more than an organisation with laudable aims,” Stowell will say. “It must be a living example of charitable purpose, charitable attitude and charitable behaviour.”

Peter Kellner, chair of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, said charities should support the commission’s approach. “The great majority that maintain those standards feel betrayed when a small minority fall short. Levels of trust have seen a modest decline. It needs to be reversed. To help achieve this NCVO will soon publish a code of ethics for the charity sector … NCVO accepts the challenge to help charities do more, and do it better.”

The commission is not calling for a change in the law governing charities but wants to reinforce the existing rules and be more vocal about wrongdoing. It is expected to demand an increase in funding from ministers following years of cuts.

Stowell will say charities should avoid extravagance, be transparent and show a “relentless focus on the welfare of your beneficiaries, rather than the interests of your own organisation”. She will add: “Being a registered charity will need to amount to more than it does today if that status is to survive let alone thrive.”

She will promise to issue punishments more quickly and to speak out against conduct that does not meet with what the Charity Commission believes the public expects.

Political thinktanks which are registered as charities remain controversial. The rightwing Legatum Institute, which has the charitable aim of advancing education for the public benefit “crossed a clear line” with its report, Brexit Inflection Point, last November which failed to meet required standards of balance and neutrality.

The regulator has also opened a regulatory compliance case into the Institute of Economic Affairs, following an undercover investigation showing it told potential donors it was in the “Brexit influencing game”.

Only five years ago the regulator was branded ineffective and “too passive” by the National Audit Office, although the office said it had since improved.

Stowell’s appointment in April was opposed by MPs who suggested she lacked experience of charities so her appointment could be seen as political.

Damian Collins, chair of the Commons culture, media and sport select committee, said they were “disappointed to receive answers that were often lacking in detail or relevance”.



A wake up call to many out there whose activities in 2018 bear little resemblence to their founding priniciples.

The Founders of many charities ... did they envisage a whole sector now being dominated by paid mercenaries as opposed to volunteers ready to carry out the wishes of the members to ease their plight ?

Careers out of charity work ... on par with almost all other sectors ... paying the " Going rate " to attract outsiders in whose first priorty is to keep the weekly salary going ... at all costs ... no need to really know anything about the charity as it's not their job to do so ?

A mere token percentage of donations reaching the front ... the rest creamed off for " Expenses " ... some marathon runners ... run 26 miles in the name of a charity ... only 4 / 5 miles run actually reaches the front line ???

How many are now run by a small centralised group , brought in from the outside , to run some charities as if it were their personal fiefdoms ... with no regard for the views of the members ... said members only being used as cash cows ?

Some even have sugar daddies ... one very close to us being a prime example.

If there was one prime example of a charity , in our sector , that acts as a charity , rolling it's sleeves up and provides for the very people it's founding document specifies , look no further ... TRUSSELLS.

Donate a few cans of whatever , and the recipient receives a full can ... nothing skimmed off for expenses ... or £ 30k / 40k / 50k or even more for salaries paid to CEO's or other leading hierachy ... most of which a little more than paid mercanaries ... all for the cause one minute , new cause with a pay rise the next.

One almost needs a telescope to see the next in our sector ?
Charities should operate less like businesses, says Charity Commission chair.


In a speech to launch the regulator's new strategy, Baroness Stowell says charities should uphold their traditional values and work as the public expects them to.

Stowell warned that charities "do not have a natural, eternal monopoly over the channelling of our altruistic impulses" and said that new technologies, enterprise models and social changes were providing an alternative to the traditional charitable model.

All charities and the regulator, she said, should therefore take steps to promote what is special about charities and to meet public expectations or "risk being complicit in its decline".

Stowell said that a culture change was needed and told the story of a charity chief executive who she said did not compete to deliver contracts that were already being provided by another local charity.

"That leader understands that the charity’s purpose is to help their beneficiaries, not to grow bigger and stronger for the sake of it – or worse, at the expense of another, smaller charity," she said.

"And because they are aware that, as a leader of a charitable organisation, they have a wider responsibility towards the flourishing of charity as a whole, so more people benefit.

"That’s charitable behaviour," Stowell said. "That’s behaviour that separates a charity from a profit-making business – that’s the attitude, the ethos, the public expect."



WISE WORDS AND A WAKE UP CALL TO MANY OF THE " CHARITIES " OUT THERE !!!

FOUNDING PRINCIPLES OR PERSONAL FIEFDOMS ?

IF YOU HAVE TO ASK THAT QUESTION , YOU'RE IN THE WRONG JOB !!!
Charities working with Universal Credit claimants required to " Sign contracts to protect Esther McVey's reputation. "

Department for Work and Pensions denies they are " Gagging clauses. "


.... and NO , I will not ask CUK if they are affected by any gagging orders.

Would be somewhat embarassing if ever a reply was received ... perhaps " We plead the 5th. " ... and what would that tell us ... as if we didn't already know ?
Having a Sugar Daddy helps ?

The Rank Group PLC reaches £2m charity milestone.

Team members from The Rank Group Plc, which owns Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casinos, are celebrating today after reaching an incredible fundraising milestone of £2,000,000 for deserving charity, Carers Trust.



If I were CUK , tempting ... and no need for members ... or this forum ?

Salaries secure ... nice quiet life ... what could be better ?

Two birds for the price of one ... ?
TWO MILLION?!?! Where's my share???
Would it not surprise you that " The Sugar Daddy " is also a regular contributor to Conservative Party funds ?

So Carers Trust , free to make the odd adverse comment on Government policy ?

Even a " Charity " can do that ... how about you ?

Or will said Sugar Daddy tighten up his wallet ?

One doesn't bite the hand that feeds you !

A CLASSIC conflict of interest ?
An important article from today's Guardian ... a timely reminder for ALL charities :

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... new-report


Charities risk becoming irrelevant, warns new report.

Voluntary sector must stop chasing government contracts and go back to fighting for communities in need.

Health Connections Mendip (HCM) never set out to be a model for anything. However, this deceptively simple project in the small Somerset town of Frome is being talked about, not just as a blueprint for community revitalisation, but as a road to renewal for a UK charity sector struggling to maintain its relevance and public confidence in an age of great social upheaval and public distrust.

The work of HCM, based in a GP practice, has attracted attention mainly because of a startling research study which suggests that when people with health conditions are supported by community groups and volunteers, both they and the NHS benefit. The findings are provisional, but they show that over the three years of the study, while emergency hospital admissions in Somerset rose by 29%, in Frome they fell by 17%.

What’s striking is that there is no miracle element to what it does: no “innovation” or genius technology, no vast capital investment. There is no business plan, and no targets, no outcome measures, no big marketing pushes. HCM, an NHS body, employs a small team of community development workers and a small army of volunteer “connectors” to forge links between people who need help and those who can support them.

There is no magic, according to Jenny Hartnoll, the service lead at HCM. The energy, expertise and goodwill is already out there in the community. It brings people together; for example, through self-help groups for people with conditions like dementia and multiple sclerosis, by running “talking cafes”, or assisting people to find dog walking to debt advice. “We are often just a catalyst, the neural pathway of the community,” says Hartnoll.

The research study suggests a measurable impact. But Jenny Hartnoll, the service lead at HCM, argues that the benefits intrinsic to making social connections are just as powerful: creating friendships, reducing social isolation, building self-confidence and helping people to exert control over their lives. Social contact, it seems, makes people happier, healthier and more resilient.

Julia Unwin, chair of the independent Civil Society Futures inquiry, published this week, believes HCM’s approach should inspire the voluntary sector. The inquiry argues that, at a time of enormous upheaval, from Brexit to #MeToo, charities have not always responded well to the social changes. Too often they are regarded by a sceptical public as disconnected both from local communities and the people they exist to serve.

They have prioritised corporate expansion, becoming centralised and brand-obsessed. Some have become service providers, chasing – and in some cases becoming financially dependent on – contracts from local and central government. Getting too close to the state risks compromising charities’ advocacy role – not least where there are contract gagging clauses, says Unwin. Some organisations have lost sight of their overriding mission to fight for people in need. “If you sign a contract [to provide a state-funded service] that stops you speaking out, you are probably in breach of your charitable purpose,” she says. Unwin will not name names but some big charities, she says, are “losing the plot”.

The clever ones, according to her, are reconnecting with grassroots networks. She was struck, during hundreds of meetings and conversations over the two years of the inquiry, how many charities urged her to use it to make new demands of the government. Her conclusion is that this is the wrong way to look. The real campaigning energy is in communities – both in actual places and online – and that, not Westminster, is where change happens and mission, trust and legitimacy can be renewed.

Brexit was not a shock to neighbourhood community groups in Hartlepool or Hull, she points out. Local tenants groups highlighted the risks of dodgy cladding and landlord neglect long before Grenfell Tower went up in flames. Small refugee charities fought the injustices of the Home Office’s hostile environment for years before it became the Windrush scandal. A small group of parents and activists linked by social media, not a national charity, she says, won justice for Connor Sparrowhawk, and in doing so transformed the discussion about NHS neglect of people with learning disabilities. “The big challenge to charities is not whether they become more corporate or not, but whether they stay relevant,” Unwin says.

The government recently published its own civil society strategy, which, Unwin says, is welcome but rather depends on how far Whitehall is going to devolve real power, as opposed to simply talking about it. One of the many problems of the strategy’s forerunner, David Cameron’s ill-fated “big society”, launched in 2010, was the way it cast established civil society groups as effective agents of top-down government-directed policies, while at the same time shredding the local funding available to them.

The inquiry concludes that if civil society is to respond to the massive social challenges of the next decades it must learn to devolve and share power and control, earning public trust by “speaking up to politicians and corporations”. Accountability should be refocused on the people that charities serve rather than putting the government and funders first. “Too often in civil society, size, turnover and short-term measures of impact are seen as the best measures of success. But we have heard loud and clear that real, long-lasting success comes from the depth and breadth of connections with people and communities, and the opportunity for everyone to have power,” the inquiry concludes.

Shelter, the housing charity, has already unveiled plans to switch the focus of its efforts to local level, and to sharpen its campaigning edge. Its new 10-year strategy seeks to reconnect with its founding purposes, which were grounded in community activism: fighting exploitative landlords, helping people resist eviction and speaking up for the voiceless. The aim is to create a national movement using the energy of hundreds of local activists and supporters.

Shelter’s chief executive, Polly Neate, says many big charities – including her own – have become too disconnected from reality, and too centralised and self-limiting in their ambition. “We’ve all talked so much about the ‘housing crisis’ that we’ve stopped believing it can be solved. The phrase has become like wallpaper,” says the strategy. “But this is a national emergency, and one that demands fearless, ambitious action.”

Shelter will hire more community organisers, working out of its regional hubs (there are 12 in England and four in Scotland) and extensive shop network. Their job will be to help defend the right to a home and assist individuals in housing crisis. They will work with and for local people, sharing expertise and resources, and helping them campaign on local issues.

“There’s a growing sense in the voluntary sector that the obsession with Westminster and Whitehall, and a corporate approach to scale and brand, is not driving the changes we need,” says Neate. “We can’t do it any more, because it is not working.”


In essence ... back to basics and the grass roots.

Shelter ... wise move ... one of the only two major charities ... Trussells the other ... operating at street level.


One comment from the buzzing section that sums it up perfectly :
If this is to work we'll need another charity to help poor charity chief executives, cut off from the government millions they need to sustain their lifestyles.

Only when charities receive no government funding at all can trust be restored.
Can always rely on The Eye to come up with some goodies ?
Wage concern.

Charity Sector, Issue 1484.

Snouts-in-the-trough culture brings charity low.

WHEN oldie charities Age Concern and Help the Aged merged in 2009, most local branches came under the umbrella of the new national charity, Age UK. But one wealthy independent branch, Age Concern Slough and Berkshire East (Acsabe), with an income of around £3.5m a year, decided to continue to go its own way. Alas, a snouts-in-the-trough culture and bitter rivalries among senior managers have since brought the charity low – and its elderly clients have been the losers.

Back in 2014 Acsabe chief executive Tracey Morgan was suspended after accusing chairman Raj Dhokia and his board of poor governance and mismanagement. Morgan was unhappy at the board’s generosity to one London law firm, Freedman Green Dhokia (FGD) – of which Raj Dhokia was and is a partner. Dhokia was allowed by the board to pay his own company a retainer of £1,800 a month for “legal services”, whether FGD did any work or not. The arrangement brought FGD about £150,000 over seven years. In the financial year 2013-14 it raked in £54,000.

" Another beneficiary. "

A contract worth £100,000 was also awarded to Dhokia’s friend Satish Lakhani, of Harrow accountancy firm Lake and Company. Yet another beneficiary of Dhokia’s generosity was Gareth Pountain, recruited as a “governance consultant” on £1,000 a week for a three-day week, earning him some £150,000 over three years.

Dhokia and his loyal board of trustees decided to turn the tables on Morgan by accusing her of claiming £45,000 in unauthorised overtime. They took her to county court, a legal manoeuvre that prevented her from claiming “constructive dismissal” at an employment tribunal. They also paid £50,000 to an outside company, Conflict Management Plus (CMP), to investigate Morgan’s alleged misbehaviour and draw up a list of charges. But CMP dismissed all the allegations and Morgan was vindicated.

At Oxford county court Judge Charles Harris lambasted Dhokia and his trustees for their “lax attitude” and declared that Morgan’s overtime must have been sanctioned by previous chairpersons, including Dhokia. Finding in Morgan’s favour, the judge said Dhokia had instituted retaliatory proceedings against Morgan because of her “whistleblowing”. The award of contracts to Dhokia’s company and his friend Lakhani were conflicts of interest, said Harris.

" Secret financial settlement. "

After a series of trustee resignations, the Acsabe board decided not to appeal the judgment. Both sides agreed a secret financial settlement to avoid bankruptcy. The total cost of the legal battle against Morgan is estimated to be well over £300,000 – easily swallowing up a recent legacy of £250,000 donated by a local benefactor.

Since the case was dropped, Morgan, who served Acsabe for 16 years and earned £66,000 a year at the time of her departure, has sold her house in Maidenhead and is running a business in France with her husband, Mark Stevens, who also worked for the charity. Dhokia resigned as chairman in June. As a result of the financial debacle, it has been decided that board members must in future be unpaid volunteers and cannot make any money out of the charity.

Meanwhile Acsabe has had to leave its HQ in Slough High Street and relocate to a trading estate. Slough borough council has pulled the plug on its £900,000 subsidy, which accounted for nearly 30 percent of Acsabe’s annual income. Turnover is down by £1.5m a year and services for old folk have dwindled. Seven of the 22 charity shops have closed.

Still, for Dhokia and his friends it was good while it lasted !
Snake-oil sellers must no longer be able to hide behind charity status

UK regulators are cracking down on charities that promote bogus treatments. But will it be enough, asks Tom Chivers.


Image


Perhaps a bigger question ... will said legislation extend to what many of them have to say for themselves ... as opposed to what the members are thinking ???
All in a good cause? How top charities spend £226m on fat-cat pay, spin doctors and other running costs - and claim it goes to frontline service.

Marie Stopes International and Save the Children International, report figures suggesting 100 per cent of their expenditure goes on " Charitable activities. "

However, they both pay their chief executives over £200,000 a year.

The findings have led to calls for a shake-up of charity sector accounting rules.


Britain's biggest charities stand accused of 'misleading' donors by including money spent on executive pay, public relations and support services in the sum they say goes to the causes they represent.

Critics say the practice – which is widespread, including at household names such as Save the Children, Cancer Research and Oxfam – lets organisations exaggerate how much of their income goes to frontline causes.

A Mail on Sunday investigation found that ten of the UK's largest charities included more than £225 million of so-called support and governance costs in £3.9 billion of 'charitable spending' in their most recent accounts.

In the most extreme cases, two charities, Marie Stopes International and Save the Children International, report figures suggesting 100 per cent of their expenditure goes on 'charitable activities' – even though both pay their chief executives over £200,000 a year. The findings have led to calls for a shake-up of charity sector accounting rules.

Under current guidelines, charities must publish data on the website of the Charity Commission showing how much of their income is spent on 'charitable activities'. Charities say they are abiding by the rules, which permit support and governance costs to be included in the figure. Such costs – which are partially broken down in the charities' annual reports, but not on the commission's website – include IT, financial management, human resources, public relations, staffing, executive pay and governance.

In some cases, these costs are solely attributed to the 'charitable activities' section of their accounts. In others, the costs are divided across expenditure categories, such as 'fundraising'.

The commission says good support and governance are a crucial aspect of 'delivering on charitable objectives' and so can legitimately be included in that category.

But critics argue that such costs should not be counted within 'charitable spending' and only serve to confuse donors who wish to see as much of their bequest as possible go directly to good causes. Gina Miller, a City investor and corporate governance expert who campaigns for transparency and tighter support costs in charities, last night called for an overhaul of accounting and regulation in the sector.

Miller, who is best known for a high-profile legal challenge to Brexit and for pushing through big rule changes in fund management, said: 'Well-run charities, like any organisation, need to spend money on running their operations in an effective and efficient manner. But I believe it is misleading to donors to roll up all these costs. It is clearly absurd that charities are allowed to hide large elements of their costs within their disclosed charitable spending number.

'If a charity receives £100 and after overheads £50 is available for spending on the genuine end charitable activities, donors should be told this rather than misled.'

Lord Wallace of Saltaire, a former Liberal Democrat Minister who worked on charity laws, said: 'It would be far better to separate out support costs and staff costs from charitable activities. Then you get a sense of what proportion of their income is needed to cover support costs. If it's only 5 per cent, they're doing incredibly well. If it's 10 per cent, that's probably normal. If it's up towards 40 or 50 per cent, there is something definitely wrong.'

He added: 'There are a few charities that manage to spend far too much on administration. The Charity Commission's staff is far too small to check these accounts, and they don't usually intervene until someone questions them.'

The Mail on Sunday investigated the accounts of Britain's ten largest mainstream charities by income – Save the Children International, Save the Children's UK arm, Cancer Research UK, the National Trust, Oxfam, the British Heart Foundation, Sightsavers, Barnardo's, Marie Stopes International and the British Red Cross.

Of the ten, the National Trust recorded the highest 'support service' cost. Some £61.9 million of such expenses were included in charitable spending of £533.7 million. This includes expenditure on governance, human resources, legal activity, IT, administration and finance.

A spokesman said: 'Every year we spend millions of pounds protecting nature and historic places. We simply wouldn't be able to do this without our support systems that allow staff and volunteers to do their jobs, as well as ensuring visitors have the best experience.'

Save the Children International claims, via its Charity Commission page, that 100 per cent of expenditure goes to charitable activities. But its accounts show its $1.3 billion (£1 billion) of charitable spending includes $36.8 million 'support costs', which in turn includes $6.2 million associated with 'leadership and strategic investment'.

Its chief executive, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a former Danish Prime Minister, was paid $299,136 last year, while 18 members of staff were paid $195,000 a year or more.

Save the Children Fund, the charity's UK arm, logged £42.9 million of costs in its £370.5 million of charitable activities spending, breaking this down into £18.5 million spent on management and administration and £24.4 million on support.

Marie Stopes International, a birth control charity, also claims that 100 per cent of its £299.4 million-a-year expenditure was charitable. But this includes £13.2 million of support costs. The charity's highest paid employee – thought to be chief executive Simon Cooke – took home £300,532 last year, and 15 employees were paid £150,000 or more. A charity spokesman said: 'We are committed to transparency, which is why we also publish a clear and detailed breakdown of our income and expenditure in our annual report, free to view at the Charity Commission website and our own.'

A spokesman for the National Council for Voluntary Organisations defended charities' figures, saying that they are merely following the commission's rules.

He said a breakdown of 'charitable activity' costs is in the organisations' annual reports, adding: 'Charities spend prudently on things like IT or office costs, but can't do their work without them. They follow approved accounting standards, and provide full details of their support costs in their publicly available annual reports.'

The commission said the accounting framework was changed in 2014 to 'create a single figure for charitable activities that included governance and related support costs'. She added: 'This reflects the fact that good governance is essential for a charity to operate effectively.

'Our annual return in 2018 requires more information than ever before, including chief executive pay. We will be reviewing in the coming year what information charities should submit and how this can best be displayed.'



A charity ?

Quite simple ... THE TRUSSELLS TEST.

Donate a can of anything to a food bank and the recipient receives the whole tin.

Anyone else ... how much food is left in the can before our recipient receives it ???

( Sponsored marathon running the " In thing " nowadays ... how many miles needed before the first 1p reaches the front line ? )


Some charities need to raise £ 200 / £ 300 / £ 400,000 ... even more ... just to cover their FIXED costs before even 1p is used on their front line !

Even fixed assets like property ... why needed in today's world of technology ???

The front line ... that's all that matters !!!

And , in that respect , Trussells are light years ahead of everyone else !!!