Posts By: Kaye Wiggins

MP Chris Chope’s bill for volunteers shows how difficult reforms of CRB checks will be

Conservative MP Chris Chope has tabled a private member’s bill that he thinks will solve the problem of potential volunteers being deterred by the prospect of waiting for a criminal records check. The answer, he says, is simple: we should ask volunteers to sign a “fit and proper person certificate” saying they have no criminal… Read more »

Being a ‘royal’ charity might be old-fashioned but is a good way of keeping hold of public trust

There is a fairly obvious link between the three charities that came top in a survey of charities’ reputations that has been published this week: the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Royal British Legion and Royal National Institute for the Blind. It’s not the first time charities with the word “royal” in their title have been… Read more »

Smoke and mirrors on the new Work Programme

Employment minister Chris Grayling issued a triumphant-sounding statement to mark the announcement of the new Work Programme providers. It read: “For the first time, those charities and voluntary sector organisations across the country with the know-how to help people with real difficulties in their communities get back to work are being given the chance to… Read more »

Why are the unions so hostile towards the voluntary sector?

On Wednesday night I was at Lambeth town hall in Brixton, south London, where around 150 protesters occupied the council chamber during a meeting, forcing councillors to leave.   The council meeting was to pass a budget that contained cuts of around £79m over three years. Once the councillors had left (to hold a private… Read more »

The smoke and mirrors are getting annoying

Saying that politicians sometimes manipulate statistics is like saying that footballers sometimes fancy their teammates’ girlfriends. Not only is it an understatement, but it’s also one of those things that everyone assumes to be their modus operandi. And it only makes the headlines when a particularly audacious episode takes place.    But the latest trend… Read more »

The tune has changed for the big society

Back in October, when I went to the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, the big society was everywhere. It would have been physically impossible for one person to go to every conference session that had the phrase in its title. It was the buzz phrase of the conference, and was being used in a universally… Read more »

Chuggers should steer clear of the other salespeople

Grabbing a quick break in a busy day yesterday, I nipped to the less-than-glamorous destination that is Hammersmith Broadway, a small shopping arcade built around the entrance to the tube station.   During my roughly 100-metre walk through the centre, I was stopped three times.   The first was by a heavily made-up woman trying… Read more »

Hazel Blears risks stepping on Roberta Blackman-Woods’ toes

Hazel Blears is back, and she’s set her sights on the voluntary sector. The fiery readhead (now with a toned-down auburn hairdo) has been keeping a close eye on the government’s big society agenda, which she says it has stolen from Labour. And now she’s trying to improve it. Blears has tabled a private members’… Read more »

The commissioning reform green paper contains something that could alarm the sector

While flicking through the Office for Civil Society’s green paper on commissioning reform, I came across something that might alarm the sector. The document is looks at ways to make it easier for civil society organisations to bid for public service delivery contracts. Sounds uncontroversial enough. It even provides an innocuous-sounding definition of civil society:… Read more »

We survived the Homeless Hacks challenge…

On Friday night, my fellow reporter Sophie Hudson and I slept rough in Spitalfields Market.  No, it wasn’t because times are tough in the journalism business these days. It was a fundraising event held by the charity Action for Brazil’s Children.  We managed to smash our fundraising target of £150 each: so far we have… Read more »