Third Sector at Large: Replacing Dame Suzi in a welter of daisies and bunnies

The chairperson role at the Charity Commission is downgraded, doorstep face-to-face fundraising and the government's charity tax U-turn are on our minds this week

This is what happens when the government does a U-turn
This is what happens when the government does a U-turn

- The government's squeeze on public sector appointments makes it no surprise that Dame Suzi Leather's job at the Charity Commission is being downgraded. She leaves the chair at the end of July and her successor will work two days rather than three - and be paid the equivalent of £481 a day, compared with her rate of £519. Dame Suzi, of course, did two days when she began but was soon bumped up to three. Will reverting to two mean more power to the executive and less influence and scrutiny by a level-headed representative of the wider world?

- The endless ministerial delaying and signing-off that's involved in such appointments means that the job has been advertised far too late for a seamless handover and probably too late for the start date of October specified in the advert. Even if someone is appointed as planned in July, they could well be on three months' notice. In fact, At Large is considering putting a grubby fiver down at William Hill to back a post-Christmas start for the new Dame Suze, by which time the natives at Millbank will probably be revolting.

- Some wrestling among members of the Fundraising Standards Board about what constitutes a 'contact' in doorstep face-to-face fundraising: in 2009 and 2010, it was the number of people spoken to - 22 million and 31 million respectively. But a few charities felt their figures couldn't be accurate and persuaded the FRSB last year to use the more definite measure of the number of sign-ups - which of course pushes up the rate of complaints significantly. The rest have now reasserted themselves and so we'll be back to the other measure in this year's figures.

- Sir Stephen Bubb set the tone of magnanimous approval for much sector reaction to the government U-turn over its proposed cap on tax relief for charitable donations, declaring on his blog that it took guts to climb down. There were curmudgeonly sceptics, of course, but one blogger - we'll spare her blushes - was so excited she welcomed "a beautiful charity sector bombshell that explodes to release daisies, bunnies and hundreds of happy charity umbrella body lobbyists". Not much you can say to that, except perhaps: whatever she's on, can we have some?

- Red faces at sector consultancy NfpSynergy, which conducted a poll about how "Scottish devolution" would affect charity giving and sent out a press release. Er, didn't devolution happen in 1998? OMG, they said, we meant independence - we'll have to do it again. Didn't stop one sector website publishing the story, though.

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