RSPCA's most senior staffer quits suddenly, Social Investment Scotland secures £16m for social growth fund, Charity Commission to revamp its register

Plus: First eight 'readiness fund' ventures have secured deals worth £35m, Shawcross says Charity Commission's financial situation is 'unsustainable', half of charities say they have improved transparency

John Grounds has left his role at the RSPCA
John Grounds has left his role at the RSPCA

John Grounds, the RSPCA's director of marketing and campaigns and deputy chief executive, has stepped down with immediate effect less than six weeks after the sudden departure of the charity’s chief executive Gavin Grant. Grounds was the most senior member of the leadership team, having joined the charity in 2012. 

The third sector lender Social Investment Scotland has secured £16m for a new social growth fund which will provide investment for Scottish charities and social enterprises. SIS successfully bid for £8m in funding from Big Society Capital, and the investment has been matched by £8m in funding from the Scottish government.

The Charity Commission is to launch an updated version of its online register of charities after Easter. The revamped register will look different and include extra information on charities, such as whether they are members of the Fundraising Standards Board.

A government-backed fund has helped eight charities and social enterprises to win investments and contracts worth £35m. The Investment and Contract Readiness Fund, which is managed by the Social Investment Business on behalf of the Office for Civil Society, was launched in May 2012 and has so far provided 94 social ventures with £8.9m in grants to buy specialist support, including legal advice, financial management and public service commissioning.

The chair of the Charity Commission has described the regulator’s financial situation as "simply unsustainable". William Shawcross made the comment in response to a damning Public Accounts Committee report published in February, which accused the commission of lacking a coherent strategy and failing to possess the ability to adequately address its shortcomings.

Almost half of charities say they have improved their transparency after negative media coverage of the charity sector over the past year, according to a new report produced by the Charity Finance Group, the Institute of Fundraising and PwC. The two most popular areas for which charities said that they would be trying to improve transparency in the forthcoming year were administration and governance costs and fundraising costs.

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