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The new Sorp misses a trick

It feels a long time ago now that the Charity Commission launched a consultation, in summer 2013, on a new draft of the Statements of Recommended Practice for charities’ accounts.

The not-for-profit sector has undergone some difficult times in recent years, and has changed a great deal in the 18 or so months since the consultation launched. So there’s certainly a debate to be had about whether the new Sorp is fit for purpose and whether it addresses the developments of the last two years, such as increased demands on public trust in the sector. Two of the biggest issues the public have in regards to the charitable sector – whether donations are reaching the end user, and whether donations are being used to fund large salaries at the top of the organisation – are firmly finance issues.

Infrastructure: the market takes the place of public service

There is growing evidence of an emerging crisis in the world of local voluntary action. Voluntary and community sector organisations are struggling to maintain their services at a time when the need for them has never been greater, and they are finding it increasingly difficult to access the resources to enable them to respond to this.

The future looks bright for charities controlled by councils

Earlier this month the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator released its review of the operation of arms length external organisations, or charities that are subject to council control or influence.

Although the report was initiated in response to concerns about potential risks to Aleos, it actually has a positive conclusion – namely that this type of charity has a lot to offer the sector, local councils, and the general public.

Transparency and politics in think tanks and charities

The Centre for Policy Studies came out last month with a report criticising larger charities for a lack of transparency over the extent of their public funding.

The CPS is the right-wing think tank set up by Margaret Thatcher and Keith Joseph to champion the rolling back of the state. It reveals its bias with talk of charities “refusing” to provide the information, even though they meet the Sorp’s accounting requirements. Beneath the report’s disingenuous concern about the sector’s viability lurks an agenda about outing the kind of public spending through charities that the CPS would hope to axe.

Does your charity do what it says on the tin?

In recent weeks, the news has been dominated by stories of A&E waiting times and pressure on the NHS. Pledges of additional funding and claims to be the only party who can tackle the problem are rife. But there is another side to the problem, which is the lack of funding for social care, which has crept in to only some of the media coverage and government debate on the issue. 

Why the new minister is good news for social enterprises

Rob Wilson, the new Minister for Civil Society, has now been in post since September but is he leading in the right direction for the sector and social entrepreneurs? I believe so.

Co-chairing: a win-win for charities?


For the last five years, we have co-chaired the charity Grandparents Plus. A national charity which champions the role of grandparents and the wider family in children’s lives, Grandparents Plus was founded by Jean with Michael Young – who had also founded the consumer charity Which? – in 2001.

Il Novembre dei baffi: the Italians are taking to Movember and other viral Anglo-Saxon oddities

This article by Ottavia Spaggiari was originally published in the November edition of the Italian magazine Vita, under the title ‘After the Ice Bucket Challenge and Sober October, here comes the November of the whiskers’. Translation by Sam Burne James.

After the Ice Bucket Challenge experience made for a long, hot summer for fundraising, viral crazes have continued to sweep the not-for-profit sector, in the Anglo-Saxon world in particular.

Time to talk about charity investment

A report on charity investment published by Acevo this week will doubtless prompt many of Third Sector’s readers to look again at how their charity’s reserves are invested.

In a financial world full of complex jargon and products, it is tempting for charities to leave investment matters to those board members and senior executives who are most comfortable with the professional investment arena. But this would be a mistake.

Why NCVO is wrong to oppose lottery deregulation

Over the past few years there has been a growing interest in society, or charity, lotteries. The Health Lottery brought the complex regulatory situation into wider consciousness. Our own report, A Chance to Give, researched sector and public views. Most recently the Centre for Economics and Business Research report looked at the economic case for deregulation. All this has resulted in an inquiry by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee and a soon-to-be-announced UK government consultation.