Assessing the lobbying law

The third report of the Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement sets out evidence of the impact of the Lobbying Act ahead of the start of the regulated period (from 19th September 2014). Drawing on evidence from 50 charities, faith and campaign groups across the UK, representing a wide range of issues, it shows that the new law was already limiting charities and campaign groups from speaking out on important issues ahead of the general election.

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Low levels of workers’ time to volunteer

A survey run by ComRes on behalf of the Charities Aid Foundation has found that fewer than one in 10 workers are given paid time off to volunteer.

The research also revealed that nearly six out of 10 people believe offering staff more paid volunteering leave would encourage them to give up more of their time for good causes. More than two thirds of people believe that having flexibility in terms of time commitment and using skills and knowledge for volunteering were also important factors in encouraging people to give more of their time.

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More help with new charity accounting standards

An example of the use of the new Charities SORP (accounting standard) under the Financial Reporting Standard for Smaller Entities (FRSSE) has been published on the Charity SORP website, at http://www.charitysorp.org/about-the-sorp/example-trustees-annual-reports/. The example is for a fictional grant-making charity trust, and is the first of two.

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Helping disabled people to volunteer

New on NCVO’s discussion pages, a good article on the benefits and difficulties of volunteering for disabled people. ‘Harnessing disabled people’s ability to volunteer’ http://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2015/01/26/harnessing-disabled-peoples-ability-to-volunteer/.

The Volunteer Charter mentioned in the article, created by Disability Action Alliance, can be viewed at http://disabilityactionalliance.org.uk/volunteer-charter/ – it is quite short. It was launched on 5th December.

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Wanted: ideas on residential care commissioning

Children England has created a ‘Re-thinking Care Commissioning web forum’ to host thinkpieces, recommendations and ideas from across the sector on how to improve service commissioning for children in care.

The rethink is needed as lack of funding, lack of leadership from central government and confusion about the role of the regulator have left the system in a crisis that the next administration will inherit.

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Growing a movement to transform sector tech use

An update to our previous January article ‘Positive digital disruption in the third sector‘.

New Philanthropy Capital is inviting input from charities or social enterprises interested in exploring “in the field” practical use of digital processes, scanning the emerging technology space for new tools to deliver services, or those already doing it.

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Starter guide to social investment

A new ‘Social Investment Toolkit’ produced for the Children’s Partnership is of relevance to voluntary organisations and social enterprises in general.

The toolkit maps out how an organisation can ready itself for social investment, putting in place a robust business plan alongside a theory of change to ensure social targets are met. The common types of social investment, key elements and checklists for a good bid are all included in the twelve page guide.

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