Liz Welton
Analysis

A commissioner's perspective on the Social Value Act

3 Mar 2015

Charities must recognise that local authority commissioning practice has changed fundamentally following the introduction of the Social Value Act, says Liz Welton.

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A commissioner's perspective on the Social Value Act

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The future is green

Gareth Jones hears how the Forum for the Future works with big business. While there remains a long way to go in the battle to save the planet, you don’t have to cast your mind back too far to remember a time when sustainability issues weren’t even on the radar of most businesses. Fortunately, this is no longer the case, and the credit for this enlightenment can be attributed in no small part to Forum for the Future. “I think we have helped to move major companies from thinking sustainability was something very marginal, that could be handled by a corporate social responsibility person somewhere in the PR team, to thinking of it as central to the strategy and how an organisation runs its business,” says chief executive Peter Madden.

Scouts honour

Gary Davis admits he would have laughed if someone had said five years ago he would be working for the Scouts. By Vibeka Mair. "knew nothing about scouting in the 21st century,"says Davis, "but when the finance director job came up I decided to explore it. I met the chief executive who told me what scouting was trying to achieve, where it was going and the challenges. It excited me and I decided to apply. now I talk with pride about my organisation. we are very relevant and work on a lot of challenges facing young people such as obesity, knife crime and gangs."

Tecnical briefing: Gas Safe Register to replace CORGI registration

From 1 April 2009, landlords and employers will need to ensure that anyone carrying out repairs or maintenance to gas appliances is registered under the new Gas Safe Register which will replace CORGI registration.

Technical briefing: HMRC compliance checks

Mathieu Mori discusses the scheduled changes to HMRC compliance checks.

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

Sunk without trace?

The global economy has blown up. Roger Nightingale reviews the immediate likely consequences and possible longer-term results. In the two and a half decades that followed 1980, the world economy seemed to most observers to be making excellent progress. GDP growth was reasonably brisk, and, probably more importantly, recessions were mild or non-existent. Inflation moderated throughout the period and so did unemployment. Asset prices, meanwhile, buoyed by the reality of low interest rates and the expectation of uninterrupted growth, rose quite sharply.

Improving investment

Income-hungry charity investors are casting around for improved returns. Ben Bennett explains the opportunities and risks with corporate bonds. Investors are currently faced with some important asset allocation decisions. Amidst volatile markets there has been a flight to quality with many investors seeking the safety of government bonds. However, with yields currently at historical lows they offer very little source of potential returns. At the other end of the spectrum, some investors are dipping their toes back into equity markets, hoping that the worst may have been seen. Those following this approach, however, are likely to contend with high volatility and uncertain dividend payments. But, the most popular choice at the start of 2009 has been the middle ground between the two: investing in corporate bonds. Figure 1 shows the respective yields available within different asset classes and highlights just how dramatic the shift in the relative value of corporate bonds has been during the latter part of 2008. One dilemma facing investors is the extent to which company shares can recover lost ground without an improvement in investment grade corporate bonds issued by the same companies. Risk-averse charity investors may take comfort from the attractive level of interest payments on bonds which rank ahead of uncertain dividend payments.

Year-end logjam

Many charities have March year-ends. Richard Weaver examines whether this really makes sense. Many charities have inherited 31 March year-ends. But is this the most appropriate date for your charity?

One Europe philanthropy?

Support the campaign for the creation of a European Foundation Statute, urges Gerry Salole. The European Commission (EC) has launched a public consultation to assess the level of demand for a European Foundation Statute. It has also published a feasibility study that explains the potential impacts of allowing foundations to be established and recognised at the level of the European Union. The European Foundation Centre (EFC) is convinced that the creation of a European Foundation Statute would bring considerable benefits to the public interest, by increasing the level and effectiveness of philanthropic activity in Europe

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