May 2014

Monthly Archives

The Big Spring Clean 2014

Big Spring CleanCelebrating Sandwell’s 40th anniversary in style, the campaign promises to be the biggest yet.  To mark Sandwell’s 40th anniversary in style, the campaign is targeting more than 40 miles of pavement with litter picking, planting 40 trees, working with 40 schools and painting 40 metres of fencing and railings across the borough, and much more!

If you know an area in your neighbourhood which could do with a revamp whether that be litter picking, graffiti removal, tree planting or support for the local wildlife, the Big Spring Clean can help you to make that happen.  Please get in touch on 0121 544 3916 or e-mail

For more information please see the Big Spring Clean flyer.

SCVO’s Community Support Programme End of Project Evaluation

Community SupportFunded by the Big Lottery Fund, SCVO’s Community Support Programme got underway in 2009 and support delivery closed at the end of January 2014. The aim of the 4 1/2 year initiative was to provide focused and committed development support for small voluntary and community sector (VCS) groups working at neighbourhood level in Sandwell. Areas in Rowley, Wednesbury, Smethwick, West Bromwich and Oldbury received dedicated support over a 12 month period.


Support included writing constitutions, options for organisational structure, charity registration, writing policies, identifying funding and help with writing funding bids, marketing and engaging in partnerships and networks.

Over 170 VCS groups accessed the support and engagement opportunities and in total groups secured £230,498.37 funding.

Please watch the videos these illustrate the incredible work of some of the VCS groups who accessed the programme and the type of support which they received.

SCVO would like to thank Naresh and Matt (Smethwick United Academy), Phil (West Bromwich Air Cadets), Belarme (XplorArts), Andrew (The Gap Centre), Tracey (Branran Creativity) and Stephen (SMWS Freestyle) who were all involved in the making of these videos.

In addition SCVO would also like to thank all the VCS groups for supporting to help produce the end of project evaluation report.

SCVO Welcomes Feedback On Its Communications

Online SurveySCVO receives lots of positive feedback about its communications, through our website, our database of services, and our weekly e-bulletin.  SCVO feels that the time has come to review these channels of communication to make sure that they are reflective of the needs of the Volunary and Community Sector in Sandwell and our wider stakeholders and partners.

SCVO would be grateful if you would take 5 minutes out of your time to complete an online survey to let us know how we can improve the information and format of our communications with you in the future.  SCVO thanks your in anticipation of your assistance and asks if you could complete the survey by Friday 4 July 2014.

Charity Commission Revises Conflict of Interest Guidance

The Charity CommissionThe Charity Commission published new guidance this week on how charity trustees should deal with conflicts of interest and has urged all trustees to adopt a conflicts of interest policy. The Commission revised its guidance after it found that conflicts of interest were a factor in all nine of its completed investigations in 2012/13 and following a public consultation.

The revised guidance clarifies what is expected of charities and their trustees over this issue. Emphasising the seriousness of the issue and the consequences that can follow from mishandling conflicts of interest, the guidance consists of a high level summary and detailed guidance. The Commission has also published a paper setting out the legal underpinnings of the guidance. The guidance includes:

  • A revised working definition of conflicts of interest.
  • A simple three step approach to dealing with conflicts of interest.
  • Practical examples to illustrate the principles in the guidance.

Commenting on the new guidance, Charity Commission Chief Executive Sam Younger said:
“This guidance is about making sure trustees get this basic of good governance right. It’s unacceptable that improperly handled conflicts of interest are so pervasive in our compliance work and all too often we are seeing serious weaknesses in charities’ knowledge and ability to handle the issue. That’s why this guidance is clearer about what’s expected of trustees – the simple three step approach has been designed with this in mind.

But the tone of this guidance is also tougher – reflecting the more robust approach that we expect trustees to take in avoiding or otherwise handling conflicts of interest. And we have also been clear about the serious legal and regulatory consequences trustees may face if they fail in this duty.” The revised guidance can be found on the Charity Commission’s website


Charity Commission investigates registered charity about conflicts of interest

TrusteesThe Charity Commission, has opened a statutory inquiry into My Community UK, which was established to relieve poverty, advance education and promote good health to individuals in need.

Concerns were raised in December 2012 that the people closely connected to the trustees were obtaining unauthorised private benefits. The regulator carried out an inspection of the financial records of the charity, and met with the Trustees. In the course of its compliance case, the charity did take some corrective steps including adopting a conflicts of interest policy, but the Commission became increasingly concerned about the trustees’ continuing inability to properly account for the charitable expenditure of the charity and properly manage conflicts of interest. As a result, a statutory inquiry was opened on 3 February 2014.

The investigation is examining:

  • Whether the trustees have properly managed conflicts of interest
  • The administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees, including its relationships with companies linked to the trustees and the accountability of significant funds that were held in the charity’s bank account
  • The circumstances and propriety of payments made to various connected parties
  • Whether, and to what extent, there was mismanagement or misconduct by Trustees
  • Whether, and to what extent, the trustees have complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities.

The Commission will publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at and what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and the outcome.


Sandwell Advocacy Vacancy

post - Jobs & Opps - signpostSandwell Advocacy are recruiting a Volunteer Co-ordinator to support a Sandwell Cancer, Older People and Advocacy Project.  The role will include recruiting, training and supporting Peer Volunteer Support Advocate’s to ensure that older people affected by cancer (50+) have a voice in decision making, and are able to make informed choices about treatment and care options.

Applicants will have:-

  • Knowledge and experience of managing and training a team of volunteers.
  • Knowledge and experience of providing advocacy.
  • Experience of working in the field of health, social care or the voluntary sector.

An application pack can be downloaded from Sandwell Advocacy’s website or by e-mailing: or by calling 0121 520 8070

Salary Scale: 19,912 – £21,166 for a 35 hour week.  Pro rata for 14 hours per working week.

Closing date for applications: 12 noon Friday 6 June 2014

Interviews will be held on Tuesday 17 June 2014

New Annual Return for all CIOs and for registered Charities

The new online Annual Return 2014, for registered charities with an income over £10,000 and for All CIO’s, regardless of income, is now available.

Greater Transparency and Accountability

Chair of the Public Accounts Committee Margaret Hodge MP, tells the Charity Finance Group annual conference, those Charities with contracts to run public services should operate “open-book” accounting to achieve greater transparency.

What Help Does Your Charity or Community Group Need?

A new Commission has been set up by the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) to look at the help needed to set up and run charities and community groups.

Sportivate Champion Available to Assist With Funding Applications

Black Country Sports Partnership will be opening Round 7 for general funding on the 16th June 2014 for activities delivering between October 2014 and March 2015.

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