Below are news stories from NAVCA. Note: this is an automatic feed and KVA has no responsibility for the contents of these items.
NAVCA has published further findings from the Health and Care Voluntary Sector Survey, the largest charity survey of 2015. The survey was conducted by NAVCA and the Health and Care Voluntary Sector Strategic Partnership, involving more than 50 charities spanning the breadth and depth of the voluntary sector. The 610 charities that took part in the survey collectively work with almost 8 million people.
The findings cover four questions on topical issues for the charity sector.
- Charities are overwhelmingly against Charity Commission plans to introduce an annual charge. Asked whether charities should pay an annual fee to the Charity Commission, 77 per cent said no and just 9 per cent agreed.
- Charities favour stricter rules on fundraising. Despite the difficulty it could cause them, 59 per cent agreed that stricter rules are needed, 27 per cent disagreed.
- Charities overwhelmingly rejected the idea that they should be prevented from campaigning; 92 per cent disagreed that charities should be prevented from campaigning and just 4 per cent agreed.
- Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) said that charities suffer when grants are replaced by contracts.
Neil Cleeveley, Chief Executive of NAVCA, said;
“We were surprised at how much support there is for stricter rules on charity fundraising. I think this reflects just how important public trust is for charities and the damage done by a small number of charities. We will certainly reflect this in our contribution to the debate about the Fundraising Preference Service and other measures.”
“The Charity Commission should take note that the introduction of an annual charge is roundly rejected. It is time they accepted that what the Public Administration Select Committee called charity tax. The Commission should work with us to make the case for better public funding of its duty to ensure public confidence in charities.”
Download the report
NAVCA has warned against a simplistic assessment of the NCVO Civil Society Almanac 2016 that might view the overall increase in income as a sign of better times for charities. Whilst the Almanac shows and overall increase in voluntary sector income of 5.8 per cent to £43.8bn, the headline figures only give a partial picture. As NCVO have made clear, this increase is unevenly distributed across the sector. NCVO points out that big charities continue to grow as smaller charities struggle.
Neil Cleeveley, Chief Executive of NAVCA, said;
“The NCVO Almanac is essential information and NCVO must be congratulated for producing such authoritative figures. What worries me is how the overall figures are being misread. Anyone making the simplistic claim that this means charities are doing better really needs to think again.”
“It is a fundamental mistake to use income as a proxy for effectiveness or success. If you ask a charity what they do they would never reply by saying our income is charity would ever say ‘we earn £x million’.”
“IPPR North’s ‘Too Small to Fail’ report has highlighted the critical but often unseen role that smaller charities play in tackling disadvantage and supporting communities. This shows it is not about how much money you have but what you do with it. Simply looking at income also ignores recent research from CFG that suggests charities are often subsidising large contracts.”
“I’m really pleased that NCVO pointed out that smaller charities are not seeing the same rise in income that bigger charities are. It is also interesting to see that charities in some regions are faring better than others. Rather than look at overall figures and conclude that charities are doing better, I hope people will take a bit more time to look beyond the headlines and consider what this means for the people and communities whose lives are transformed by charities.”
NAVCA has responded to the Budget 2016, George Osborne’s eighth Budget as chancellor.
Neil Cleeveley, Chief Executive of NAVCA, said,
“Charities have consistently been told that there is no money. Maybe we should remind ourselves that this budget announced how the government will raise £716 billion to spend next year. We should be more assertive in calling for investment in the amazing things charities do to enhance our lives. For example more small grants for preventative work in communities that saves later costly interventions.”
“Previously the Chancellor said that local authorities funding will primarily be from will retaining business rates. Local authorities have been a major funder of smaller charities. Permanently doubling the Small Business Rate Relief and extending thresholds will cost £1.5 billion a year. We fear this will result in further cuts to local government funding, which is likely to disproportionately hurt smaller charities.”
“We welcome the money given to charities from the banking fines. The bad behaviour of bankers seems to be the gift that keeps on giving. As this funding is no longer the one-off funding that was expected we would like to see a more transparent process that could help increase public confidence in charities.”
NAVCA previously joined with other national umbrella charities to ask the chancellor to make this a budget for charities.
NAVCA has responded to the announcement by the Charity Commission that they will consult on proposals to charge charities an annual fee. The Commission announced at a public meeting in Southampton that there will be on a consultation on proposals that could raise £23million but a date has not been announced. NAVCA believes that charging is wrong and that the consultation will prove phoney.
Neil Cleeveley, Chief Executive of NAVCA, said;
“We are totally opposed to an annual charge. It would be an extra cost that charities could not avoid, in affect a tax on charities.”
“We are disappointed that the Commission continues to push charging as the answer to their funding issues. We appreciate the Commission’s work and its excellent staff but charging is not in anyone’s interest, especially the public who give so much time and money to charitable causes.”
“The Commission are being disingenuous in the way they are approaching this issue. I feel for sure the figures of up to £265 for small charities are deliberately unpalatable. They are setting up the consultation in a way that will allow them to say they have listened and then impose a lower charge. Probably the charge they had in mind in the first place.”
“The Commission should forget about imposing this charity tax and instead work with charities to explain to Government why it is so important to fund a strong independent regulator.”
NAVCA believe that a charity tax is wrong because;
1) Regulation of charities is in the public interest and therefore it is not unreasonable for this to be paid for through general taxation. It would be absurd for the Government to be giving charities money through Gift Aid whilst clawing it back to fund the regulator.
2) The costs of collecting the money would incur substantial administrative costs, for charities and the Commission.
3) It will discourage organisations from registering as a charity and encourage existing charities to de-register. This is not in the public interest as more charitable organisation will be operating under the radar without the safeguards regulation provides.
4) There is likely that charging will just give the Treasury an excuse to reduce existing government funding.
5) Charging would impact on the impartiality of the Commission. Charging would introduce a new dynamic to the relationship, creating the danger bigger charities who can afford to pay the most get preferential treatment.
6) The Charity Commission is suggesting a charge many times higher than Companies House charge of £13 for online filing of annual returns. Is this fair?
And this is not just NAVCA’s view. The Public Accounts Select Committee were very critical of this idea when they examined it in 2012, calling it a “tax on charities”. They said it would be “block on the creation of new charities and the dynamism and charitable spirit of the volunteers working hard in their communities.”
Ten leading voluntary sector bodies have written to the Chancellor ahead of the Budget on 16 March to set out six proposalsto tackle key challenges facing the voluntary sector.
The Signatories are: Charity Finance Group, Lloyds Bank Foundation, NAVCA, Small Charities Coalition, Big Society Capital, Locality, Association of Charitable Foundations, Voice4Change, ACEVO and NCVO.
The signatories believe that it is vital that government invests strategically in the sector so that voluntary organisations can continue to meet society’s rapidly changing needs.
The proposals, aimed at small and medium sized organisations, are:
- Maintain mandatory charitable business rates relief at 80%- ensuring that this critical relief is able to support tens of thousands of charities and ensure money is directed to helping those who need support.
- Use windfalls, such as those previously directed from Libor Fines, to fund initiatives to increase the sector’s capacity including governance and commissioning – so that they address the key issues facing all charities and enable them to play a full role in public service transformation.
- Direct unspent Apprenticeships Levy funds from charities towards investment in voluntary sector skills – so that the Levy works for the sector and helps us to meet the needs of beneficiaries into the future.
- Introduce further increases in the National Insurance Contributions Allowance for charities, tapered in line with National Living Wage increases - maintaining a level playing field between voluntary organisations and the private sector on meeting the costs of the National Living Wage.
- Allocate 3% of the proceeds from government asset sales to support a Community Capital Fund – this will ensure that the sale of government land and proprieties leaves a long term legacy of stronger and more self-sufficient communities
- Engage the sector on the Dormant Assets Commission and set out how the government will ensure it is independent and has transparent decision-making processes.
Neil Cleeveley, Chief Executive of NAVCA, explained that
“These proposals show how a modest government investment in smaller charities and community groups will make a big difference to people and communities.”
Commenting on the proposals Caron Bradshaw, Chief Executive of Charity Finance Group, said
“It is important that the voluntary sector continues to be proactive in putting forward initiatives and policy proposals to ensure that our sector is able to meet the needs of the people and communities that rely on us.
Charities have already diversified their funding streams and have sought to streamline their operations. It is in the government’s interest to provide strategic investment in the sustainability of the charity sector – especially to small and medium sized charities that are best placed to deliver services to those most at risk.”
Kunle Olulode, Director of Voice added:
“The past few years have been a time of rapid change and economic uncertainty for Black and Minority Ethnic communities and the voluntary sector as a whole. Over the past decade, there has been an increasing acknowledgement of the role of the voluntary sector in discharging what were previously state responsibilities. For us at Voice4Change they include, but are not limited to, infrastructure services concerned with political engagement, offender management and rehabilitation; health – and in particular mental health and substance misuse; social enterprise and supporting people into employment and training. Whilst the term Big Society appears to be falling into disuse, its central strands of empowering communities, opening up public services and encouraging individual responsibility remain central tenets in the government’s arrangements for civil society. It is for that reason we have joined with our voluntary sector colleagues in supporting the six recommendations set out here.”
Tony Armstrong, Chief Executive of Locality said:
“The proposals we’re putting forward contain practical and pragmatic ideas which offer the government cost-effective ways to support communities and the people who live in them, and make the voluntary sector more sustainable and self-reliant in the long-term.
Investment via the proposed Community Capital Fund will build the capacity of community organisations to take on and run self-sustaining assets, boosting their ability to deliver public services and strengthening local economies, and ensuring that they are able to take advantage of the unprecedented release of local government assets expected over the coming years.
It is essential that the sector is brought into conversations with the Dormant Assets Commission about how these funds can be used to strengthen and support communities, including how investments can be directed to develop community resilience through asset ownership.”