Charities in crisis over Olive Cooke case, Shawcross says | Sector income from government fell £1.7bn in two years | IoF toughens fundraising rules

Plus: Animal charities overturn High Court legacy ruling | Labour peer urges FRSB membership for all £1m charities | BLF and European Social Fund open joint £175m fund

William Shawcross, chair of the Charity Commission
William Shawcross, chair of the Charity Commission

William Shawcross, chair of the Charity Commission, said the charity sector was in crisis after the outcry over the Olive Cooke case, and suggested that the regulator could be completely paid for by charging charities for its services.

The voluntary sector’s income from government grants and contracts fell by £1.7bn in real terms in the two years to 2012/13, new figures from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations show. The umbrella body’s UK Civil Society Almanac 2015 shows that the voluntary sector’s income from government in 2012/13 was £13.3bn, made up of £11.1bn of income from contracts and £2.2bn in grants.

The Institute of Fundraising said it would make it compulsory for fundraisers to adhere to all of its rules and charities would be expected to standardise the statements they use to allow people to opt out from receiving communications. The changes were among the recommendations made by the interim report of the Fundraising Standards Board’s investigation of the issues raised by the death of the poppy seller Olive Cooke.  

The Court of Appeal has overturned a High Court judgment that a man could inherit a £350,000 Hertfordshire home despite it being left to seven animal charities in the owner’s will. In July, the High Court found in favour of Kenneth King, who claimed he was given the house as a death-bed gift by June Fairbrother, his animal-loving aunt, in April 2011. But an appeal on behalf of the seven charities this week went in their favour, meaning they are expected to each receive an estimated £37,000, before costs.

The government should make it compulsory for fundraising charities that raise more than £1m a year to become members of the Fundraising Standards Board, the Labour peer Lord Watson of Invergowrie told the House of Lords.

Charities and social enterprises can apply for a share of grant funding worth a total of £175m to run 71 projects in England designed to improve numeracy, literacy, personal finance and other skills, provided by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.

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