Tristan Blythe: Despite shouting loudly, many feel charities still aren't being heard

01 Apr 2021 Voices

This month, we reveal the results of our Charities SORP Survey. Without wanting to give away too much here, there was a great deal of consensus in many areas about the SORP and how it should develop. The biggest differences in views tended to be between different sizes of charities, which is perhaps unsurprising.

Given that the process of updating the Charities SORP is underway and that engagement with the sector is ongoing, charities will be hoping that they are listened to and that the next edition of the SORP incorporates some of their wishes.

Many in the sector certainly did not feel they had been listened to by the chancellor of the exchequer when he made his budget speech on 3 March.

Although there were a few small wins and some targeted funds for specific charities, the budget fell short of providing the support that many felt the sector deserves and needs. Comments from senior figures and the umbrella bodies reflected this sense of disappointment.

The budget came after a year of operating in the most trying circumstances, with income down and demand high for many charities on the frontline or serving their communities. Some would argue that the government has not been listening, or listening hard enough, to the sector and its needs over the whole of this time.

Or perhaps the government has been listening but it doesn’t completely understand how the sector operates and the amount of vital work it does. Oliver Dowden has certainly said that Whitehall didn’t know enough about the sector at the start of the pandemic. The question is perhaps whether it knows enough now, one-year on.

However, even if the sector feels neglected in the corridors of power, its work must continue, which means making sure (as far as possible) that there is a financial safety net. With or without government support, the pandemic shone a spotlight on the importance of a strong reserves policy. This is another area we consider this month, as we look at how reserves policies have had to evolve.

Tristan Blythe is editor of Charity Finance  

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