Citizens digital tools up for retirement

mySociety, the creator of various digital tools for citizens enabling them to take action, has announced that it is retiring several projects this year.

Pledgebank, where individuals can pledge to do something if others help, will stop accepting new pledges in February. Users will still be able to sign up for existing ones until the end of June, when the site will close.

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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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