Posts By: Sam Burne James

Crowdsourcing charity law, and crowdfunding the commission

Every day, goes the hackneyed phrase, you learn something new. Yesterday was a particularly successful day: I learnt two new things, both from the Charity Commission-commissioned report Trust and Confidence in the Charity Commission. First, most of the 1,001 members of the public surveyed think that charities should at least partly fund the commission, and, second, that an even greater proportion of the public has not only read through the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill, but approves of its contents.

Read more on Crowdsourcing charity law, and crowdfunding the commission…

Lessons from Evolve: think long term, hedge your bets and cross your fingers

I spent Monday at the National Council for Voluntary Organisation’s Evolve 2015 conference and subsequent dinner. Alongside hearing that fundraising self-regulation was “not working in its current form”  and that the Tories’ pledge to create a three-day volunteering leave requirement for larger companies “won’t be happening”, here are a few things that got me thinking: Read more on Lessons from Evolve: think long term, hedge your bets and cross your fingers…

It might be time to rationalise the regulation of social enterprise

The UK’s third sector is a complex beast. Alongside registered charities – and their excepted and exempted counterparts – community interest companies are becoming a prominent sub-sector, while social enterprise in its broad form is also on the rise and the rules around cooperative and community benefit societies (also known as bencoms) have recently evolved.

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The naughty brigade that flouts the political campaigning rules

It wasn’t the Brethren wot won it, but then what did they stand to lose?

After an unexpected Conservative election victory in 1992, The Sun famously claimed that it was they “wot won it”.

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Gagging to get rid of the gagging act?

I have spent a fair bit of time over the past few weeks speaking to people about the lobbying act, putting together a feature that begins on page 32 of the May edition of Third Sector, out today. A feeling I got from this, and previous experiences, is that a number of people are not really speaking their mind about the act.

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The sector hustings – now with added Ukip

As we come within touching distance of parliament’s dissolution, on Tuesday I attended the social leaders debate organised by Acevo and CAF, featuring Rob Wilson, the Conservative Minister for Civil Society; Lisa Nandy, his Labour shadow, Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, Nathan Gill, leader of Ukip Wales and an MEP for Wales, and Bill Rigby, chair of the Harrogate & District Green Party. Read more on The sector hustings – now with added Ukip…

Google Poetics: the charity edition

You might be familiar with Google Poetics – a website and Twitter feed showcasing ‘poems’ created by the autocomplete function in the Google search engine. The premise is this; if you type the word ‘David’ into Google, it’s likely to give you autocomplete suggestions like ‘Cameron’, ‘Beckham’ and so on. Try it with all sorts of things, and the resulting poems are funny, bizarre or even disturbing.

This is thanks to a tool called Google Instant Search, which predicts what you’re about to look for, based, Google says, “on what other people are searching for and the content of web pages indexed by Google” – i.e. you’re getting a sense of what the rest of the internet’s users have been looking for already.

Read more on Google Poetics: the charity edition…

Charity executive salaries: a century-old concern

In recent weeks, one topic has repeatedly cropped up rather quickly in conversations I’ve had at the various sector events, conferences and launches on which I’ve been unleashed. That topic is the feature Third Sector has put together on executive salaries in our March edition, out this week. Read more on Charity executive salaries: a century-old concern…

A full-on fortnight for the commission

As a professional commission watcher, it’s been a bit of a full-on fortnight what with all that’s been going on with the Charity Commission.

Headlines have been the release of the National Audit Office report on the commission and its resulting analysis by the sector, the appearance by Paula Sussex, chief executive of the regulator, in front of the Public Accounts Committee to be grilled both on said report, and on its action in the bizarre case of the Durand Academy, a school with a dating agency registered to the same address, and the reappointment of chairman William Shawcross. Read more on A full-on fortnight for the commission…

Social entrepreneurs: Lord Sugar wants you! (Probably)

It’s easy to mock the BBC TV series The Apprentice. Very easy indeed; so easy that even the BBC does it. That notwithstanding, it is perhaps the single most prominent showcase for entrepreneurship in the UK. Read more on Social entrepreneurs: Lord Sugar wants you! (Probably)…