Share

Saxton revives idea of admin cost index

Joe Saxton, driver of ideas, nfpSynergy and chair, CharityComms
News

Saxton revives idea of admin cost index3

Governance | Tania Mason | 26 Sep 2012

The prospect of a grading system for charities’ administrative costs has resurfaced in Joe Saxton’s newly-published strategic plan for building public trust and confidence in the sector, published today.

The idea of an admin cost index was hotly debated by the sector last year after then-Charity Commission chair Dame Suzi Leather mooted it at the regulator’s first-ever new-style public meeting.

At the time, the Charity Commission began examining how such an index might work in practice, but the proposal drew robust objections from some in the sector.  Later the Commission admitted that little progress had been made, though it insisted the plan had not been abandoned.

Now the prospect has been revived as a recommendation in Saxton’s new strategy, unveiled at the Charity Commission’s annual public meeting today.

He said that the sector needs to tackle the known “pinch points” that reduce trust in charities.  Some, such as fraud and maladministration, are already on the Commission’s hitlist, but others, such as perceived high salaries and admin costs, are not being adequately explained or justified by either the regulator or charities themselves.

Saxton, who is driver of ideas at nfpSynergy and chair of CharityComms, said: “There is considerable merit in looking at some kind of grading system to turn complex accounts into easy-to-understand metrics that the public can grasp.

“Up to now, the sector’s response to low levels of public understanding of how modern charities work is to keep its head down and hope for the best. This is how problems build up.”

Saxton published the strategy today because, he said, nobody else appears to have any sort of plan for raising trust and confidence in the sector – least of all the Charity Commission, even though it has a statutory duty to do so.

Other recommendations in the plan included:

  • Build a sector-wide trust steering group led by the Commission
  • Create a brand strategy for the Charity Commission that will turn it into a household-name brand.  Research has shown that people who are aware of the Commission have high levels of trust in charities – yet only around half the population have heard of it.
  • Establish a sector media strategy to increase coverage of charities in the mainstream media. There is currently no routine coverage of charities’ work. Says Saxton: “The challenge is that it isn’t at all clear who is the sector’s communications director. Which sector body or regulator has a director with the resources and mandate to try and change the way that the public sees charities?”
  • More non-statutory codes of practice should be devised.  The fundraising community has already grasped this nettle, now similar self-regulatory codes should be drawn up for finance, chief executives and communications.
  • Every charity should publicise its regulatory burden.  People nervous about how well their donation is spent can only be reassured by knowing that the charity is highly regulated – yet currently “most charities act as if they have no regulators”.
  • Charities must work out how to communicate their impact and importance in really simple sentences of 15 words or less.
  • Charities must proactively and transparently explain the endless dilemmas they face about spending and saving money.
  • Charities must do great work and tell the world about it.  The strategic plan concludes: “The power of great work by committed people that changes people’s lives and is broadcast to the world is, in the end, the most powerful tool charities have for building trust.”

Read the nfpSynergy strategy here.

 

Alan Gosschalk
Fundraising Director
Scope
27 Sep 2012

I'm nore sure Joe has suggested an admin cost index - he has said 'there is considerable merit in looking at some kind of grading system to turn complex accounts into easy-to-understand metrics that the public can grasp' which I think is different. I'm in favour of simpler accounts not an 'admin cost index'. The latter does ot matter, what the charity achieves does!

Stephen Pidgeon
27 Sep 2012

Cracking article and a report well worth reading, thanks Tania

Ged Simpson
Liverpool CVS
27 Sep 2012

Really agree with demonstrating impact in 15 words or less. Here at LCVS we have..................(sorry, ran out of words)

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Tags

Free eNews

Commission contacts Bradley Wiggins' charity over concerns about how it has spent donations

29 Aug 2014

The Charity Commission has contacted the trustees of the Bradley Wiggins Foundation after the charity...

Royal Institution rules out selling Mayfair HQ after reducing its debt

27 Aug 2014

The Royal Institution, the science communication charity, has said it will not have to sell its London...

Action for Blind People makes redundancies

27 Aug 2014

Action for Blind People has said it made nine redundancies in the year ending March 2014, following an...

Supermarkets donate profits from #icebucketchallenge to MND Association

29 Aug 2014

Tesco has announced that it will donate the profits made from an increase in sales of ice to the Motor...

Commission contacts Bradley Wiggins' charity over concerns about how it has spent donations

29 Aug 2014

The Charity Commission has contacted the trustees of the Bradley Wiggins Foundation after the charity...

EU data protection proposals would kill fundraisers’ mailing lists, says report

28 Aug 2014

Proposed EU data protection rules could destroy mailing lists relied on by charity fundraisers, and would...

EU data protection proposals would kill fundraisers’ mailing lists, says report

28 Aug 2014

Proposed EU data protection rules could destroy mailing lists relied on by charity fundraisers, and would...

Macmillan: We did not hijack #icebucketchallenge

21 Aug 2014

Macmillan has hit back against accusations on social media that it has hijacked #icebucketchallenge, saying...

Smart wristbands aim to increase charity giving

20 Aug 2014

A new wristband that will enable people to make faster donations with just a tap of a smartphone, is...

Join the discussion

Twitter
 
Training

Attending our one day courses is a highly effective way of ensuring new and existing trustees fully understand their role, responsibilities and liabilities.

>> Find out more <<