Posts By: Sam Burne James

My day with the vain, corrupt, and unmerged

There was a sense of excitement as the outspoken Sir Tim Smit, the co-founder and executive vice-chair of the Eden Project took to the stage at the Acevo Annual Conference 2014 yesterday. Smit is never backwards about coming forward (appropriate really, since ‘Tim Smit’ is a palindrome), and started his speech/rant – he admitted that… Read more »

Talking points from the Trustee Conference

With a keynote that was well argued and well received, with attendees nodding their approval, Philip Kirkpatrick was perhaps the highlight of Monday’s Trustee Conference, organised by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and supported by Kirkpatrick’s firm Bates Wells Braithwaite, which marked the start of Trustees’ Week. Here’s a buffet of the other things that piqued… Read more »

Charity is right to join the debate on Ched Evans

The public discussion over the future of Ched Evans, the footballer released on Friday after serving two and a half years in jail for a 2011 rape, has been understandably heated. The rehabilitation of offenders and the ability to forgive are complex topics, especially in a society where attitudes of victim blame and male entitlement… Read more »

Are marathon charity causes out of step?

The leaves are falling off the trees and it’s party conference season: that can only mean one thing – it’s time for the London Marathon to send me Sorry! magazine, as once again luck was not on my side in the ballot for a place next year.

The Manchester Dogs’ Home tragedy takes charity back to basics

Extraordinary. I don’t use this word lightly, but the public response on JustGiving to the fire at the Manchester Dogs Home last night has been quite literally extraordinary. And not just under the allegedly controversial newfangled definition of the word “literally”, either. The total raised for the charity running the home was £130,000 when I… Read more »

First impressions of the new charities minister

Ask tricky questions, went the instructions at an event hosted by St John Ambulance on Wednesday, where I had my first opportunity to met Brooks Newmark, the new Minister for Civil Society. “But please be polite when you do.” That instruction wasn’t for me, but the dozen young people present – St John Ambulance volunteers… Read more »

Check the Green Cross Code before considering a tribunal

The Green Cross code – that’s ‘Stop, Look, Listen, Think’ for the daredevil types among you – has served me pretty well in life. I wonder if the same maxim could stand charity trustees considering a charity tribunal appeal in good stead. The First-tier Tribunal (Charity) in England and Wales, and its Northern Irish and… Read more »

Transparency and trustworthiness are not the same thing

Apparently there’s some sort of teacake and dog festival starting in Scotland this week – but the big north of the border event as far as I’m concerned has been the publication of the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator’s annual report. The most significant announcement in the report is the news that the OSCR… Read more »

Is the regulator’s bread-and-butter approach working?

This might not be the most surprising of revelations, but I must say that yesterday’s Charity Commission public meeting in Manchester didn’t really get my pulse racing. For the most part it was an afternoon of bread-and-butter stuff – literally so in the case of the first item on the agenda, a sandwich lunch. There… Read more »

Bad news might be better than you think

Here are three headlines that you didn’t read on in recent weeks: ‘Police take swift and appropriate action after charity discovers serious crime’; ‘Charity Commission steps in to stop abuse of charitable assets and sector’s reputation’; and finally ‘Researcher reveals issue charities must understand in order to improve its standing’. You might, however, have… Read more »