The five-minute policy manager – December 2013

So, what’s new in December?

eggtimer150x250From the NAO review of the Charity Commission, criticism of executive pay, to Panorama last night (see Karl’s blog), charities have been having a bit of a rough ride in the national press of late. How we respond in challenging times is important. Charities must continue engaging with their beneficiaries and donors on these issues, being open and transparent, and speaking up (loudly) for the great work that they do. For our part, NCVO is helping charities deal with the thorniest issues. We are developing new guidance on executive pay, a new gold standard for campaigning practice, and will announce further actions soon. See also this great video on explaining your overhead costs.

The Lobbying Bill is back in parliament next week

NCVO has worked closely with the Commission for Civil Society and Democratic Engagement to put forward our amendments to make the Lobbying Bill workable. Please put your weight behind these amendments as a package by speaking or writing to House of Lords’ Peers and telling them how important these changes are for charities.

Last week, the Chancellor delivered an upbeat Autumn Statement

Growth is taking off, but with further welfare and public service cuts on the cards, many charities will be worried about the impact on the communities they serve.  See our round-up of the key points and further analysis from the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation published its annual report on poverty

This shows that for the first time, there are more people experiencing poverty who are in work, than out of work. As Julia Unwin, their Chief Executive reflected: “Hard work isn’t working”. As part of our 2015 Election Project, we are asking members’s views about economic injustice and how it should be tackled – have your say here.

The government has published its response to consultation on making public procurement less bureaucratic for SMEs / VCSEs

The changes will not come into effect until later in 2014. Check out Paul Winyard’s post on procurement, which explains why the changes involve great ambition, small steps and a commissioning pie.

Cabinet Office published its social action plan

The report – “Encouraging Social Action” – highlights trends in giving, volunteering and community engagement as well as how young people are interacting with civil society. A useful piece for understanding the government’s thinking on civil society in the months ahead.

The CIC regulator has announced plans to change Community Interest Companies

If you lead a CIC, it will be important to note significant changes to CIC rules are on the cards – removing some of the current restrictions that are inhibiting growth and access to finance. We will host roundtables with our CIC members in the New Year on this – get in touch if you’d like to be there.

What are you reading this Christmas?

Finally -let me know what books you’d recommend for our Christmas reading list – coming soon…

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Charlotte Ravenscroft was NCVO’s head of policy and public services. Charlotte’s wrote about funding, public service delivery, and strengthening the evidence base for voluntary action. She has also worked at The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Education.

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