Third Sector at Large: Commission feels the bite of student unrest

The Charity Commission, Acevo and the Fundraising Standards Board are on our minds this week

The Charity Commission paid the price of sharing a building with the Conservatives when Millbank Tower was attacked during the student demo in London last week. Everyone was evacuated, and even the chief executive, Sam Younger, was not allowed back to don his tux for the annual dinner of the chief executives outfit Acevo that night. Minus bow tie, Younger told the assembled guests that the demonstrators might have trashed the entire commission office, but were doubtless deterred by the magisterial logo in the lobby: "Working at the heart of society for public benefit." Like a crucifix to a vampire ...

- Still on Acevo, its chief executive Stephen Bubb opened its national conference to the corny strains of Bridge Over Troubled Water, but spared the delegates the full karaoke. Earlier in the week he was cock-a-hoop about the new website Who's Lobbying?, which showed Acevo coming fourth after the CBI, the Local Government Association and the TUC in a list of organisations that secured the most meetings with ministers. Ungenerous comparisons were made with "that lot at Regent's Wharf" - which, as all metropolitan intellectuals know, is the address of the NCVO, the umbrella body that lobbies in a less flamboyant manner.

- Back to the Acevo conference, where there was an appealing duet from Martin Houghton-Brown and John Reiss, chief executive and chair respectively of Missing People, about how the vital relationship between the two had to be like a marriage: open about the money, honest about the feelings and all that jazz. At the last moment, however, Reiss rather undermined the whole spiel by confessing that both of them are divorced in their private lives.

- Just a hint of tension, perhaps, between the Fundraising Standards Board and the Institute of Fundraising? The FRSB has, for the first time, adjudicated against a complained-about charity, rounding off with a recommendation that the institute should review some of its codes of practice. This has caused some bristling and harrumphing at the institute about mission drift: whose codes are they anyway, etc? Which is actually quite a complex question, given that the institute draws up the codes up but the FRSB has to police them ...

- Mathew Little is away

Contact Third Sector at thirdsector@haymarket.com

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