Personal health budgets and charities
Technical briefing

Personal health budgets and charities

10 Nov 2014

Iam Hempseed considers how the expansion of personal health budgets affects charities.

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Personal health budgets and charities

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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.

Feeling the pinch

Diane Sim presents the findings of our inaugural survey of the finance function. It’s been a tough time for charity finance directors over the last year and the next 12 months show few signs of respite, according to the findings of Charity Finance’s inaugural survey of the finance function.

Trading while insolvent

Brian Johnson outlines the risks of insolvent trading and examines the signs to watch out for. Charities are feeling the pressure like never before. The credit crunch and subsequent recession has meant both private individuals and companies are giving less, while cutbacks in central Government budgets are also being felt. The 2012 Olympics is another factor impacting the funding available to charities, while, to top it all off, funds already under management have been savaged by global stock market falls.

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

Brand bandits

In modern marketing, brand recognition is all important but where does one brand start and another stop and what’s to stop you crossing that line asks Anthony Misquitta Brand banditry has been prevalent in the charitable sector for years. However, just as there is a technical difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion (and between expenses fraud and “the honest and mistaken use of a flawed system”) there is also a worrying trend emerging in which businesses and institutions, who should know better, justify what in most eyes is a brazen attempt to ride on the coat-tails of another.

Budgeting for one

A radical change in social care funding designed to empower recipients will challenge charity accounting systems, say Mark Brend and Brendan Smith. From 2005 onwards a number of central government policy initiatives heralded the most radical reform of social care for half a century. Notably, in December 2007 Putting People First established the principle of personalisation of social care services, giving people more control over their own lives and services. These initiatives will have a profound impact on the charity sector, as much social care is provided by charities that get most of their income from public money, allocated via local authority contracts.

Help to review

Gareth Jones examines the role of investment advisers for charities The Trustee Act 2000 holds that before exercising any power of investment, trustees must obtain and consider proper advice, unless the size of investment funds are so small that it would not be cost-effective to do so. It was the introduction of this provision coupled with the loss of funds by many charities in the bear market of 2003 which have led to the rise of the dedicated investment adviser, bridging the gap between the charity and the fund management community and offering an objective eye. While once this profession was mostly limited to advice on handling pension funds, now the role can encompass every element of the creation and implementation of a successful investment strategy.

A fresh pair of eyes

An independent operational property audit can highlight payment discrepancies and help charities recoup thousands of pounds, says Katie Beckett Property auditing is a specialised form of independent auditing that all charities with a property portfolio ought to be undertaking as part of their commitment to good governance and in line with their duties to trustees and beneficiaries. Experience has shown that oversights can easily occur in day-to-day property management, regardless of how expertly and efficiently the portfolio is managed and even with a full property team overseeing the management of the portfolio.

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