Finance service launched

Charity information service GuideStar UK has launched a specialist service for financial institutions, finance professionals and charity finance directors.

The paid-for Financial Intelligence Service offers institutions such as banks information about potential charity clients. Searches of 168,000 charities are available. So far, six banks have subscribed, at a cost of £10,000 each.

David Brocklebank, chief executive of GuideStar UK, said the service provided information that was in the public domain, but hard to find.

"It allows financial institutions to find charities with particular issues or characteristics," he said.

Charity finance directors are not expected to sign up to the whole package, but Brocklebank said they might subscribe to individual features, such as a facility that allows charities to benchmark themselves against their peers. Financial and governance reports will also be available.

GuideStar UK is working with the Charity Finance Directors' Group to develop the finance ratios for the service. To this end, the two organisations are setting up a focus group to solicit the input of charity finance experts.

The Financial Intelligence Service is the third paid-for service GuideStar UK has developed. It established the Local Government Intelligence Service in 2006 and the Legal Intelligence Service earlier this year.

Last week, after a merger with Civil Society Systems - the company that promotes GuideStar programmes all over the world - GuideStar UK announced the creation of a community interest company, GuideStar Data Services, to administer its paid-for services (Third Sector, 19 September).

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