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Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 20 December 2014 - 11:40am

The Charity Commission have issued their long-awaited opinion on Oxfam. Two issues were investigated: Oxfam's work in Palestine, and their ‘Perfect Storm’ Twitter campaign about poverty in the UK.
On the first point, Oxfam were exonerated completely. On the latter, I think, things got silly. The Commission concluded that “the tweet could have affected the views of those who received it and could be misconstrued by some as party political campaigning”.
Clearly, charities must stick to the rules. The public trust and value charities as independent organisations. The Charity Commission issues clear guidelines - its document ‘CC9’. They say charities may campaign politically, so long as they are not party political. This can be demonstrated by good governance and a transparent approach to decision making. So far, so good.

But there’s a serious ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 17 December 2014 - 12:06pm

Last night's Carols at the Royal Albert Hall proved as spectacular as always. Trumpets. A crowd of thousands and a brilliant choir and orchestra.

With Christmas holidays almost here, charity leaders and our organisations are thinking about 2015. Whichever way you view it, it's going to be a specially eventful year. Events in Russia this week might prove even more dramatic that what a British General Election can offer, but we're facing our own profound disruption and uncertainty in politics at home. Two elections perhaps. And all alongside further funding cuts that guarantee a hard time for the third sector - our country's other social safety net. But despite the many problems for charity leaders, there are perhaps some opportunities to hit the 'reset button' on our relationships across Westminster.

If these times are to be turned into an opportunity that will demand great leadership. Of biblical proportions, one might say.

So I was grateful for some wise ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 16 December 2014 - 10:35am

Well, another Carol Concert, this time at the House of St Barnabas, that wonderful charity in Soho which helps young people into training and jobs. The House is an elegant Soho Georgian townhouse which used to provide hostel accommodation for young girls. It was established in the 19th century by a religious order, so it comes complete with Chapel; an ideal place for a carol concert. Sandra Schembri, the CEO, is a valued ACEVO member and I like to show support. The house had to stop providing hostel accommodation because it became unsuitable, so Sandra came up with the great idea of turning the House in to a social leaders club, for which it is eminently suitable. It provides both  training and job placement for the young people they help. The Club generates revenue to support the charity. A brilliant place. Worth joining! 
Afterwards a lovely Christmas dinner at L'Escargot with my partner. 
Yesterday also saw the launch of the final report of the ACEVO Commission on ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 12 December 2014 - 3:03pm

I had 2 possibly competing events Wednesday - but they were united in one theme: the value and role of charity.
In the morning I was at a breakfast meeting ACEVO had organised for the leaders of Muslim charities. Many of our CEO colleagues talked about the challenges they face, in their work, dealing with the hostile environment of islamophobia. It was good to see Dianne Abbott MP who talked about the problems Islamic faith charities are facing in Hackney. We also had two senior staff from the Charity Commission, who made a really helpful contribution to the discussion. But the Commission still have many questions to answer, as I said at my appearance before the joint Commons and Lords Committee on the draft Protection of Charities Bill on Tuesday.
Then in the evening it was off to a carol concert at St Stephen's Walbrook, in the City. Organised by the London Air Ambulance, that great charity, and starring that great Prelate, Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London. ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 4 December 2014 - 10:00am

Yesterday’s Autumn Statement has completely dominated today’s news. Not a surprise.
But what is unclear about yesterday's Statement from the Chancellor is where cuts will be made in public spending after 2015. This morning’s FT makes clear that “renewed activity is failing to fill the Treasury’s coffers.” The situation is dismal: we have a surprising shortfall in future tax revenues, and the chancellor still aims to cut down the size of the public sector.
So cuts will continue, with few big tax rises in the offing. The BBC's head of statistics Anthony Reuben said public spending as a proportion of GDP would fall to its lowest level since the 1930s. Office for Budget Responsibility chairman Robert Chote called it a “very sharp squeeze”, of which around 60% is forecast to come in the next Parliament.
These cuts will have a profound effect on society, particularly the most vulnerable like the unemployed and people with disabilities. That in turn puts pressure on the ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 3 December 2014 - 3:07pm

Well, there not much about the Autumn Statement that had not already been announced. Underlying the Statement is the fact that over the next Parliament we face more massive retrenchment of public spending, against a darkening fundraising environment. Yes there are opportunities, but the money continues to be tight. And getting tighter.

The Chancellor has made some promising noises but he is guilty of one fatal error. He neglects the vital role of the third sector to building a healthy society and economy. His announcements on national infrastructure said nothing about local, community or third sector infrastructure. In his drive for a budget surplus, we are concerned that he will jeopardise already-decimated local services further. This will harm not only our nation’s sense of togetherness but our economic productivity as well.

As we stated in our 2015 General Election Manifesto, ‘Free Society’, charities are the nation’s ‘other social safety net’. The next government ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 2 December 2014 - 10:43am

After the frenzy, the scuffles and injuries of ‘Black Friday’, a more benign American import hits today: ‘Giving Tuesday’. It's is an antidote to the excesses of pre-Christmas consumerism. It encourages people, charities and businesses to give time and money to help others, or to speak out for a good cause. ‎A chance to show the real spirit of Christmas - not shopping but giving.
The Charities Aid Foundation says we’re the sixth most generous country in the world. Our magnificent charitable tradition is one of our greatest unsung exports to the world. And CAF are to be congratulated for bringing this tradition here to the UK. ACEVO is proud to be one of the founding partners. 
Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 to help promote charities and their work. The idea is spreading around the world – to countries as far apart as Canada, Australia, Mexico, Israel and Singapore. In the UK more than 750 businesses, charities and organisations have signed up as partners. 
The ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 26 November 2014 - 11:21am

Today, the report of the steering group I chaired looking at how to implement radical change to care and support for people with learning disabilities is published. You can download a copy from the ACEVO website or from NHS England.
The Winterbourne view scandal, exposed by the BBC’s Panorama programme, shocked the nation. It led to the Government pledge to move all people with learning disabilities and/or autism inappropriately placed in such institutions into community care by June this year. Not only has there been a failure to achieve that movement there are still more people being admitted to such institutions than are being discharged. This has caused anger and frustration.
In the light of the need to achieve progress Simon Stevens, the CEO of NHS England, asked me to consider how we might implement a new national framework,  ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 20 November 2014 - 4:37pm

It isn't often that I'm seen in the offices of the Daily Mail! But I was there this morning, talking to "London Live" - the new TV channel for Londoners. I was there to talk about the new ACEVO Manifesto for the 2015 Election, which is launched today at our Annual Conference. A taster appeared in today's Times, from Whitehall Editor Jill Sherman.
Last night we held our Annual Dinner at the Millennium Hotel in Gloucester Road. We had the pleasure of Rob Wilson as our guest speaker, the relatively new Civil Society Minister. Rob praised our new Manifesto (or at least the bits he liked, which seemed to be a lot). 

"Free Society" sets out a costed and implementable 36 point plan for ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 19 November 2014 - 11:15am

This morning’s Times carried my letter responding to Monday’s story about the Charity Commission and Muslim charities. A frankly terrifying piece that seemed to frame an independent report criticising the Commission’s effectiveness into a news story impugning the integrity of Muslim Charities themselves.
Whilst we can’t rule out the theoretical risk of charity funds ending up in the hands of ‘Islamic extremism’– and indeed some Muslim charities referred themselves to the Charity Commission to help audit some of their on-the-ground spending on aid in Syria – it is dangerous and counterproductive to continue attacking Muslim charities as a whole. My letter explains that on the contrary, the UK must make the most of our excellent Islamic charities as our best vehicles for building a common national identity and fostering leadership and purpose in Muslim communities to help combat the ...more