Posts By: Andy Hillier

Getting to know the UK’s richest charity

The Lloyd’s Register Foundation arrived on the Charity Commission’s register two years ago like a super-tanker pulling into a port filled with ferries and sailing boats. Its income of £950m a year instantly made it made the largest charity in England and Wales, pushing the British Council into second place.

Read more on Getting to know the UK’s richest charity…

Why the Tories should keep their volunteering pledge

It looks increasingly likely that the Conservatives will ditch their pre-election pledge to allow staff in larger companies and the public sector to take three days of paid volunteering leave.

Read more on Why the Tories should keep their volunteering pledge…

Is the National Citizen Service worth the investment?

The latest independent evaluation of the government-backed National Citizen Service, which is delivered by a range of organisations including many charities, is a seminar in positivity.

The findings from researchers at Ipsos Mori reveal a highly popular youth scheme – no less than 97 per cent of participants who took part in 2013 would recommend the programme. It also shows the programme helped young people to improve a range of skills. Read more on Is the National Citizen Service worth the investment?…

I was taken aback by the panel on charity pay

I’ve learned from bitter experience from putting together judging panels for various magazine awards that there’s never an ideal panel. Choose lots of sector heavyweights and you’ll probably face accusations of the panel being too male, pale and stale; choose lots of less well-known faces and you’ll be accused of the panel lacking the necessary gravitas.

No matter who you choose, normally someone will pick fault. Read more on I was taken aback by the panel on charity pay…

Latest NCS impact measurement doesn’t go far enough

Last week’s report into impact measurement by Third Sector Research Centre made interesting reading.

The Third Sector Research Centre study concludes that there are growing concerns that funders and commissioners are shaping and dominating approaches to impact measurement in the third sector and expresses concern about a lack of comparability between sectors and “selective presentation” of results by organisations. Read more on Latest NCS impact measurement doesn’t go far enough…

Why companies should follow Nuffield Health’s example

It was pea and ham hock soup and fine wine at Nuffield Health’s annual general meeting held at The Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall on Wednesday.

And why not? The charity, which runs private hospitals and gyms, has had a very good year.    Read more on Why companies should follow Nuffield Health’s example…

I don’t have time for the Big Society

Earlier this week, Sir Stephen Bubb, head of the chief executives body Acevo, delivered another blow to the government’s big society

In a letter to David Cameron, the Prime Minister, Bubb pointed out that the concept was “effectively dead” because the government had struggled to communicate it properly or implement it consistently. Bubb’s letter largely focused on the government’s failure to involve charities more in public sector reform or to protect them and their beneficiaries from crippling cuts to public spending. Read more on I don’t have time for the Big Society…

Give independent schools their own register

Stephen Twigg, the shadow education secretary, has dared to raise the issue of removing the charitable status of independent schools.

Like many a Labour MP before him, it rankles with him that fee-paying schools benefit from the many perks of charitable status yet many appear to be failing to fulfil their charitable objectives. Read more on Give independent schools their own register…

My battle with the Charity Commission

Last September, Third Sector reported how Southwark Council had been forced to write off almost £70,000 awarded to a defunct drug and alcohol charity.

I was struck not only by the council’s lax checking procedures but by the fact that the federation had remained on the Charity Commission register until 2010, some eight years after it appeared to have closed. Wondering if this was just a one-off or if the case was indicative of wider problem, I placed a Freedom of Information request with the commission last September to find out just how many registered charities hadn’t filed their required documents for a significant period. (Late filing of accounts can be one of the first indicators that a charity has closed without informing the commission.) Read more on My battle with the Charity Commission…

Pre-school charity’s request for payment left me enraged

My son turns three over the Christmas period. It’s a significant milestone for families these days because it’s the age at which all children receive up to 15 hours of government-funded childcare each week.

Potentially, it should save my household around £200 a month – or so I thought. Read more on Pre-school charity’s request for payment left me enraged…