Rob Wilson MP, minister for civil society
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A general election and a great capacity-building plan 1

8 Dec 2014 | Tania Mason

Two days after the Chancellor unveiled his latest plan to cut public spending and outsource large swathes of public services, the minister for civil society has outlined his ideas for boosting the capacity of charities and social enterprises to provide them.  Tania Mason reports.

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A general election and a great capacity-building plan

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The big asks - how to survive an economic downturn

Fifteen questions trustees should ask themselves to ensure they are fit for survival in the recession.

Rules of redundancy

Redundancies are a fact of life and need to be approached in a fair way says Julian Goulding. Let's be clear. Employers can legally make employees redundant but by the same token employees do not have to accept that they are redundant just because their employer says that is the case.

New ACAS codes

There's a new ACAS code for disciplinary and grievance procedures and a 25 per cent penalty for not complying, says Jane Klauber. The much criticised statutory dismissal and grievance procedures were abolished on 6 April 2009. In their place Tribunals will have regard to a new ACAS Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures and awards of compensation may be increased or decreased by up to 25 per cent if either party unreasonably fails to comply with the Code. However breach of the provisions of the Code by the employer will no longer lead to findings of automatic unfair dismissal which was the case under the statutory dismissal procedure.

Changing contracts

Sophie Whitbread examines the legal implications of alternatives to redundancy Many employers are looking ahead and realising that, in order to ensure their businesses can cope when the economy recovers, they need to retain the staff they have worked so hard to recruit and train. They are therefore considering alternatives to redundancy, such as flexible working, sabbaticals and pay cuts. While this is an attractive alternative approach, employers need to be aware that exploring these sorts of options can involve just as many, if not more, legal pitfalls as undertaking a redundancy exercise. So what should you do to ensure you stay on the right side of the law when looking at creative alternatives to redundancy?

The widely held view that charities should stick to doing good works and stay clear of campaigning is a recipe for social stagnation. The world has changed, charities need to change with it and speak truth to power about what it takes to solve root causes of societal ills rather than pussyfoot around problems.

» Liberal influence: Andrew Hind interviews Lord Rennard

Ways to save money

With funds under pressure, every penny counts. Here are four ideas to help you save money, while reducing risk and improving processes.

Payroll outsourcing

The charity sector is undergoing huge challenges right now as a result of the economic downturn. In times like these charities need to be able to focus on their core competencies and maximise efficiencies in the business. Tighter economic conditions prompt many organisations, including charities, to look for ways to reduce costs and outsourcing non-core activities such as payroll is an effective way to improve business efficiency and acquire a competitive advantage through partnering with a specialist provider.

Free HR audit

Recent published surveys have revealed that charities are at risk of costly tribunals due to lack of compliance with changes in employment legislation.

Using interim managers

Nearly a thousand charities in the UK shut between 2007 and 2008, according to a Charity Commission report published in March. In May, Russam GMS surveyed over 450 interim managers who work at a senior level in the UK charity sector to understand how the sector was faring in the recession. Of the respondents, 76 per cent reported that income levels have fallen in charities across the UK since the start of the financial crisis, 20 per cent claimed they were stable and just 4 per cent said they had increased. It is clear that a major challenge facing many UK charities is how to cope in light of reduced donations and tougher competition for funding, find new income streams and improve operational efficiencies to save costs. Another challenge highlighted by over half of interim managers was that key business projects have been put on hold, 20 per cent claimed that recruitment efforts have been frozen, 15 per cent said IT investment had been put on the back burner and 10 per cent said that marketing plans had been shelved. On top of that, 74 per cent of interims also said that job cuts had already been made in the organisations in which they worked.

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