Little at Large: Who said the sector was slow with its accounts?

A slap on the wrist from the Charity Commission for charities that are tardy in submitting their accounts has become as familiar as free pens in mailshots in recent years. So it's interesting to note that there are hares as well as tortoises in the sector.

 At the end of May, the commission opened a facility that allows charities to send in annual reports online. It took a mere 16 minutes for the first completed entry to appear.

It's not known who placed this metaphorical apple on the regulator's desk, but the commission cannot itself match such alacrity. Government departments have their own competition to see who is the first to despatch their annual accounts to Treasury overlords. This year, the commission didn't even make the top five.

- Spiralling oil prices, rising inflation, the return of the dole queue - some commentators think today's economic woes bear an uncanny resemblance to those of the 70s. But it appears that one charity believes it is still living in that glorious decade. Fund manager CCLA was intrigued to receive a letter from a charity client bearing a four-and-a-half-penny stamp from 1974, commemorating the centenary of Winston Churchill's birth. "I'm not sure if it's a sign of the credit crunch that someone raided their collection to find a stamp, or if they had just been spring cleaning a drawer," said a CCLA insider.

- 'Savvy Chavvy' looks like a candidate for the most politically incorrect charity project of the year. But the social networking site for young gypsies, which was singled out for praise from Gordon Brown, can actually point to a sound etymological reason for its name. Chavvy is the Romany word for 'youth'.

Mathew Little, freelance writer mathew.little@haymarket.com

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