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Community Learning Network

Sandwell Adult and Family Learning (SAFL) is calling all community adult learning providers across Sandwell and other areas within the combined authority, to a Community Learning Network. The aim is to improve provision and access of community adult learning opportunities. The plan is to meet on a termly basis.

Please join SAFL on Wednesday 20 September 2017, 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm at Hateley Heath Further Education & Training Centre, Huntingdon Road, West Bromwich B71 2RP. Telephone 0121 556 7426.

The Sandwell Community Learning Network will work together to underpin and promote community learning opportunities around Sandwell, whilst encouraging new development across all adult learning providers in the area. SAFL will also share information on funding.

Expressions of interest are sought from agencies that would like to be involved in the network and have within their remit adult learning, community learning, family learning and lifelong learning.

Please reply to Linda Matthews on 0121 556 7426 or email by Friday, 1 September 2017.



Government Commits to Strengthening UK Data Protection Law

In a statement of intent the Government has committed to updating and strengthening data protection laws through a new Data Protection Bill – a move that will have an impact on the charity sector and how it manages data.

The new bill, the government says, will provide everyone with the confidence that their data will be managed securely and safely. Research shows that more than 80% of people feel that they do not have complete control over their data online.

Right to be forgotten
Under the plans individuals will have more control over their data by having the right to be forgotten and ask for their personal data to be erased. This will also mean that people can ask social media channels to delete information they posted in their childhood.

The reliance on default opt-out or pre-selected ‘tick boxes’, which are largely ignored, to give consent for organisations to collect personal data will also become a thing of the past.

Businesses will be supported to ensure they are able to manage and secure data properly. The data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), will also be given more power to defend consumer interests and issue higher fines, of up to £17m or 4% of global turnover, in cases of the most serious data breaches.

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital said: “Our measures are designed to support businesses in their use of data, and give consumers the confidence that their data is protected and those who misuse it will be held to account.

“The new Data Protection Bill will give us one of the most robust, yet dynamic, set of data laws in the world. The Bill will give people more control over their data, require more consent for its use, and prepare Britain for Brexit. We have some of the best data science in the world and this new law will help it to thrive.”

The Data Protection Bill will:
• Make it simpler to withdraw consent for the use of personal data
• Allow people to ask for their personal data held by companies to be erased
• Enable parents and guardians to give consent for their child’s data to be used
• Require ‘explicit’ consent to be necessary for processing sensitive personal data
• Expand the definition of ‘personal data’ to include IP addresses, internet cookies and DNA
• Update and strengthen data protection law to reflect the changing nature and scope of the digital economy
• Make it easier and free for individuals to require an organisation to disclose the personal data it holds on them
• Make it easier for customers to move data between service providers

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

Thousands More People To Get Online Thanks To National Lottery Funding

A pioneering initiative that supports people to improve their digital skills is being extended for a further three years thanks to £4m of National Lottery funding from the Big Lottery Fund.

The programme, One Digital, aims to support people to get online or to develop their basic digital skills through the help of Digital Champions, who have been trained to provide one-to-one support. This second phase of funding will be used to expand the programme and transform digital skills. It aims to reach another 40,000 people through 4,000 Digital Champions, improving the digital skills of those who can benefit most.

Results from the programme’s first phase found that of those surveyed, more than 80% said they have more confidence in their basic digital skills, a better understanding of the benefits of digital technologies, and increased motivation to use them.
One person said: “It has changed my life. I had no confidence in myself. But once I learned to use the iPad, to get in touch with people, I actually started to do things that I have always wanted to do but have never had the confidence to do. I am learning to swim! And I have joined an art class. All because I got a bit more confidence in myself through going to the computer sessions.”
Together, One Digital will benefit young adults seeking work, over 65s, charities and the people they support. Having better digital skills and more confidence will enable people to access essential online services, search and apply for jobs and stay in touch with friends and family.

Steve Hampson, Head of Innovation & Programmes at Age UK, said: “Being confident in your own digital skills isn’t just a nice to have; improved digital skills enable people to apply for jobs, pay bills and get the most cost-effective goods and services.
“The success of the first phase of One Digital shows just how much can be achieved when diverse organisations work together. We’re particularly pleased to have established a strong cohort of Digital Champions with a common and active interest in supporting digital inclusion. We look forward to the second phase of One Digital which will enable us to support many more people to get online, learn new skills and get more out of the digital world.”

Joe Ferns, Big Lottery Fund UK and Knowledge Director, said: “It’s important people of all ages have the opportunity to develop the right digital skills. This National Lottery funding will enable communities across the country to learn from one other and confidently navigate the digital world, whether it’s accessing online services or connecting with friends.”

The consortium partners include Age UK, Citizens Online, Clarion Housing Group, Digital Unite and the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations, and the service will be delivered through hundreds of local organisations, enabling even more people to get involved.

Source: Charity Digital News

Want Your Charity to Raise More Money? Start Treating Donors as Individuals

What do donors want from charities?
Buried deep in the Charity Commission’s 2016 report (pdf) is a clue. People are almost twice as likely to trust smaller charities as they are big charities. What are small charities doing that big charities could learn from?
At Chuffed, where thousands of small charities and nonprofits crowdfund online, we’ve interviewed donors who’ve given to more than 20 campaigns, to understand what keeps them coming back time and again. This is what they said they want.

1. A Direct Connection With Projects
Donors want to follow what happens with the projects they support. They aren’t after stylised impact stories; they want direct updates from the people they’ve given money to. As one stated, “If you donate to a big charity, you donate and it’s done. With crowdfunding, I get interaction, feedback, updates…”
When Darren Hougham went to Dunkirk to build a school in the refugee camp, for example, he filmed short videos on his phone. Back in the UK, he would use the videos in a short update for his donors, and each time he posted a new burst of donations would come through that ultimately raised £15,000.

2. Personalised Messages
When big charity fundraisers are recruiting wealthy donors, their approach is all about personalisation. They only contact donors they know are interested in their issue and the message is entirely customised to them.

When it comes to ordinary donors though, big charities use a “spray-and-pray” approach, broadcasting the same message in the same way to as many people as they can. If I’m passionate about animals, I still get targeted by dementia, international affairs and medical research charities.

Small charities have a way of personalising things for even their smallest donors – by getting their fans to spread the message for them.

When Rob Caslick created an urban rooftop garden on top of his local church, he recruited a dozen “foot soldiers” – people with a particular passion for his project – who could help him spread the word. They helped design the campaign, got an early release of the campaign video and were given email templates to send out. When the campaign launched, these people were the first to donate and they also sent out hundreds of messages to friends encouraging them to donate. The result: Rob raised his $15,000 target in 50 hours.

To read the full Guardian Voluntary Sector Network article click here.

Organisations Failing to Measure Cybersecurity Effectiveness

Charities are being encouraged to measure the effectiveness of their cyber security investment after new research suggested organisations are failing to check if they’re spending money well.

Thycotic’s first annual 2017 State of Cybersecurity Metrics Report found that more than half respondents in the survey (58%), scored an “F” or “D” grade when evaluating their efforts to measure their cybersecurity investments and performance against best practices.

The survey, which analyses key findings from a Security Measurement Index (SMI) benchmark, is based on internationally accepted standards for security embodied in ISO 27001, as well as best practices from industry experts and professional associations.

With global companies and governments spending more than $100 billion a year on cybersecurity defences, a substantial number, 32% of companies are making business decisions and purchasing cyber security technology blindly. Even more disturbing, more than 80% of respondents fail to include business users in making cybersecurity purchase decisions, nor have they established a steering committee to evaluate the business impact and risks associated with cybersecurity investments.

Additional key findings from the report include:
• One in three companies invest in cybersecurity technologies without any way to measure their value or effectiveness.
• Four out five companies don’t know where their sensitive data is located, and how to secure it.
• Four out of five fail to communicate effectively with business stakeholders and include them in cybersecurity investment decisions.
• Two out of three companies don’t fully measure whether their disaster recovery will work as planned.
• Four out of five never measure the success of security training investments.
• While 80% of breaches involve stolen or weak credentials, 60% of companies still do not adequately protect privileged accounts—their keys to the kingdom.
• Small businesses are targeted in two out of three cyberattacks.
• Sixty percent of small businesses go out of business six months after a breach.

“It’s really astonishing to have the results come in and see just how many people are failing at measuring the effectiveness of their cybersecurity and performance against best practices,” said Joe Carson, Chief Security Scientist at Thycotic. “This report needed to be conducted to bring to light the reality of what is truly taking place so that companies can remedy their errors and protect their businesses.

“We put out this report not only to show the errors that are being made, but also to educate those who need it on how to improve in each of the areas that are lacking. “Our report provides recommendations associated with better ways to educate, protect, monitor and measure so that improvements can be implemented.”

To download the full 2017 State of Cybersecurity Metrics Report and view all the findings from the Security Measurement Index benchmark survey, click here.

Source: Charity Digital News

Preparing for GDPR and Data Protection Reform

As of 25th May 2018, every organisation that holds personal client data must become compliant with the new GDPR regulations. We know that understanding how these new regulations will effect your organisation’s processes can be difficult, but NCVO have helpfully compiled a ’12 Point Plan’ (based on the ICO guidance) to assist you in adopting these new regulations into practice.

1 – Make sure the right people in your organisation know this is coming
Your trustee board and senior staff should be aware that the law is changing.  They need to know enough to make good decisions about what you need to do to implement GDPR. They need to be aware that implementation may take considerable time and effort and add data protection to your risk register if you have one.

2- Identify what data you hold and where that data came from
If you don’t know what personal data you hold and where it came from you will need to organise an audit of your different systems and departments to find out. This means all personal data including employees and volunteers, service users, members, donors and supporters and more. You should document your findings as GDPR means you must keep records of your processing activities.  You should also record if you share data with any third parties.

3 – Update your privacy notices
You must always tell people in a concise, easy to understand way how you intend to use their data. Privacy notices are the most common way to do this. You may well already have privacy notices on your website for example but they will all need to be updated. Under GDPR privacy notices must give additional information such as how long you will keep data for and what lawful basis you have to process data. The ICO has guidance on GDPR compliant privacy notices.

4 – Check your processes meet individuals’ new rights
GDPR will give people more rights over their data. For example GDPR gives someone the right to have their personal data deleted. Would you be able to find the relevant data and who would be responsible for making sure that happened? Get to know the eight rights and have the systems in place to be able to deliver on each of them.

5 – Know how you will deal with ‘subject access requests’
Individuals have the right to know what data you hold on them, why the data is being processed and whether it will be given to any third party. They have the right to be given this information in a permanent form (hard copy). This is known as a subject access request.  Your organisation needs to be able to identify a subject access request, find all the relevant data and comply within one month of receipt of the request. The ICO gives guidance on handling subject access requests.

To read the full article from NCVO please click here.

From Volunteers to Workplace Culture: How Charities Can Fill the Tech Skills Gap

Technology is, in many ways, a charity’s ideal partner – allowing organisations to run services in previously unimaginable ways, or reach previously unreachable people. Think of the Vodafone Foundation’s TecSOS, a mobile handset enabling victims of domestic abuse to speed-dial emergency services. The phone provides emergency teams with the victim’s history, their location and records the call for evidence. And that’s just one of hundreds of extraordinary examples.

Yet, plugging into the benefits of today’s digital environment requires a broad and often tangled range of skills, from basic computer literacy right through to strategic-level insight about the latest digital developments (such as social media or cyber security). So, are tech skills strong enough in the voluntary sector? And if not, what’s holding charities back?

I spoke with Richard Cooper, director of programmes at the Technology Trust, an organisation that has helped more than 17,000 charities access technology and software, often donated by large companies such as Microsoft. Such tools can be transformative in the way a charity works, but Cooper says that when it comes to uptake and integration of technology, three barriers still exist: cost, strategy and skills.

Interestingly, a deficit of the latter at the top level can be most counterproductive. “One of the biggest issues we see is managers and trustees who don’t know what technology can do for them,” he says.

“Lots still view technology as a necessary evil, rather than something they can exploit. Their expertise probably lies in their mission. If you’ve got a strategic-level person who understands tech, it’s normally by accident, not by design.”

Issues around expertise and financial strategy are interlinked, he adds. “It’s a chicken and egg thing – if you don’t understand the benefits of technology then you’re not going to justify the cost. Who wants to be seen spending money at the back end that could be spent on the frontline?”

New Research
Going Digital, a new report from Nesta Impact Investments, backs up many of Cooper’s observations. It highlights the need for charities to keep up with an increasingly digital world, yet found that even forward-thinking organisations experience challenges that prevent them using technology to its full potential. Such challenges include funding, trustee and managerial buy-in, and the need to commit to bringing in or training up the necessary skills.

To read the full Guardian Voluntary Sector Network article click here.

Charities Could Lose a Third Of Staff If They Don’t Get A Grip On Digital Skills

The government has signalled its intention for the UK to lead on technology: its digital strategy, published earlier this month, commits to training millions of people. Yet little has been done to map the current state of digital skills in charities.

Earlier this year we surveyed the sector for our charity digital skills report on how charities are using technology and the challenges they face. Almost 500 charity professionals from a range of organisations across the UK responded. The results are worrying.

Our report shows that the sector is struggling as skills gaps and a lack of funding seriously impede progress. Charities told us they fear missing out on fundraising opportunities if their organisations do not get to grips with digital, and could lose touch with their supporters. A significant number of staff are considering leaving if progress isn’t made.

Main Findings

A lack of digital strategy is hampering charities’ progress: 50% of charities don’t have one. Yet 80% of respondents to our survey want their leadership team to provide a clear vision of digital and what it could help them achieve, while 66% want a good digital strategy – so this is not due to a lack of willing.

Without a digital strategy in place, time and money can be wasted on digital activities that become an end goal in themselves. A good strategy involves thinking more comprehensively about how digital can help achieve your charity’s goals and how to get there.

The reason why some charities don’t have a strategy seems to be partly because they don’t see digital as a priority. Of the charities surveyed 50% told us that they are facing other challenges, all of which are seen as more important. Dave Evans, product marketing manager at Skills Platform, says “digital appears to be pushed down the priority list. One respondent told us that boards and senior managers dismiss it as just being about social media or websites. Digital skills should really be seen as business skills.”

66% of charities are worried that they remain unprepared for the shift towards digital fundraising.

View the full report of the Charity Digital survey results click here.

To read the full Guardian Voluntary Sector Network article click here.

GDPR: Charities Encouraged to Deepen Their Understanding

Is it time to develop your GDPR understanding beyond a few top tips? Charity CRM software partner, Blackbaud, has had its legal team condense 88 pages of complex law into just five.

No-one in our sector is in any doubt now as to the importance – and the imminence – of GDPR.

Not only is there an individual acceptance that every level of role across a range of departments needs to understand the implications, but senior stakeholders are now putting pressure on their teams to truly understand the operational impacts.

To provide charities with a solid understanding of the key implications of GDPR without undertaking a law conversion course, charity CRM software partner, Blackbaud, asked its own legal counsel and Data Protection Officer to wade through all 88 pages of legislation and create a summary document that gives proper detail beyond all the ‘10 top tips’ infographics online.

Not only will this guide help you understand the law yourself, but it’s the perfect document to hand to your CEO, trustees and other stakeholders when they come to you asking, “How will GDPR affect us?”

Click here to see Blackbaud’s report on the operational impacts of GDPR.

Source: Charity Digital News

Ransomware ‘here to stay’ says Google

Charities are being warned to protect themselves from ransomware after researchers from Google said it is ‘here to stay’.

The study by the tech giant estimates that cyber-thieves profited to the tune of at least £19m from ransomware activities in the last two years. The majority of that sum was made in 2016 as gangs realised how lucrative it was, Google executives told delegates at a conference in the US.

“It’s become a very, very profitable market and is here to stay,” commented Elie Bursztein, one of the Google researchers responsible for the study.

Ransomware is malicious software that infects a machine and then encrypts or scrambles files so they can no longer be used or read. The files are only decrypted when a victim pays a ransom. Payments typically have to be made using the Bitcoin virtual currency.

Payment analysis of the Bitcoin blockchain, which logs all transactions made using the e-currency, revealed the two ransomware strains that made the most money over the last year, with Locky collecting about $7.8m (£5.9m) and Cerber $6.9m (£5.2m).
The research project also revealed where the cash flowed and accumulated in the Bitcoin network and where it was converted back into cash. More than 95% of Bitcoin payments for ransomware were cashed out via Russia’s BTC-e exchange.

“Ransomware is a fast-moving market,” Bursztein added. “There’s aggressive competition coming from variants such as SamSam and Spora,” before he went on to explain that novel variants were expanding quickly and many were encouraging fast expansion by paying affiliates more if they placed the malware on to large numbers of machines. The ransomware as a service model was already proving popular, he warned.

“It’s no longer a game reserved for tech-savvy criminals,” he said. “It’s for almost anyone.”

Source: Charity Digital News

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