September 2016

Monthly Archives

A Day In The Life – Work Shadow Scheme 2016/17

NCVOA Day In The Life is a work-shadowing initiative that provides a unique opportunity for staff from government and voluntary organisations to step into each other’s shoes for a day and learn about how the other sector operates.

As well as improving cross-sector understanding, the programme helps participants find out about the roles and responsibilities of staff within another organisation, and the operational environments and wider contexts in which they work.

Applications for the 2016/17 programme open 5 September and close 16 October.

Please view for further information and for details on how to apply.

How Your Brain Can Stop You Choosing The Right Candidate

brainPeople are naturally biased, which means even when you intend to be completely fair, your brain has a hard time remaining impartial. Cognitive biases are the inherent thinking assumptions and short cuts that humans make in processing information; the mental stumbling blocks that can affect our behaviour and can prevent us acting in our own best interests.

Typical effects of cognitive bias include being too quick to jump to a decision and ignoring contradictory evidence, being overly zealous in defending your decision and selectively looking for evidence to back up your decision rather than objectively weighing up all available information. Cognitive biases may result in poor decisions which are ultimately costly, particularly for individuals and organisations involved in the interview process.

So what are some of the most common cognitive biases that affect the recruitment process, and how can you overcome them to determine who is really the best candidate for your role?

Primacy / Recency Bias
Primacy bias refers to the natural tendency to remember more about and therefore over-prioritise the first thing or event in a sequence; in this case the first candidate to be interviewed. Recency bias is similar, but describes preference given to the most recent in the sequence. When asked to recall lots of items on a list, the ones we remember best are those at the beginning and end of the list.

When we are presented with a large amount of information that requires constant evaluation, as when we interview a series of candidates, we become mentally tired and our brains tend to take shortcuts. If the interview process is simple and quick, we tend to remember the first interviewee best. If the process is more drawn-out, we usually remember the most recent candidate more.
These effects can also occur during individual interviews, causing you to rely on your first impression of a candidate, rather than concentrate on what they say throughout. Similarly, if a candidate does well in the interview overall, but you get a negative impression from an answer towards the end of the interview, that is likely to stick in your mind more than the rest.

Read the FULL article here:
From: TPP Recruitment

An Experience That Will Change a Young Person’s Life This Autumn

waterDo you know or work with 16-17 year old young people who would benefit from a life changing experience this October? Groundwork West Midlands are one of the successful charities who will be delivering the NCS programme this October.

Building on the success of NCS’ current network of delivery partners, NCS Trust launched the pathfinders programme last month, looking for organisations to test new approaches to deepen NCS’ reach into all communities by recruiting via channels outside of mainstream schools and colleges.

18 diverse organisations – including national charities, uniformed organisations, local authorities, fire brigades, housing associations and local community groups – have been offered Pathfinder contracts to deliver over 2200 places on NCS, and Groundwork West Midlands is one of them!
We will be signing up 16 and 17 year olds in Birmingham, Black Country, Coventry and Stoke-on-Trent, who will be:

• Going on a residential to Wales to do a host of adventure activities.
• Followed by three days at their local Groundwork office learning new skills and how they could help their community.
• Then spending 30 hours volunteering in their community.

All of this is free for the young person and they will be supported by Groundwork West Midlands staff each step of the way. If you know any young people who would be interested please get them to sign up online here.


Can You Help The NHS This Winter?

Sandwell & West Birmingham CCGSandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group is on the lookout for families of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds to join us through autumn and winter to share their real experiences of keeping healthy through the winter months along with the health care they receive from NHS services.

This initiative aims to follow several local families throughout the winter, finding out from them how they plan to stay healthy, how their health fairs, and how they use the health care system. This will all be shared in regular monthly video diaries. Through sharing their experiences of winter ailments, access to care and the wider NHS, they will inspire other people across the Sandwell and West Birmingham area to get the best from NHS services. We’ll be sharing the content on social media, along with health advice and tips from local GPs and other clinicians.

We’ll visit our chosen families once a month through the Autumn and Winter, and give them the chance to talk about various health services, and pretty much anything else of a health nature. Filming will be done by NHS staff and will take no more than 30 minutes per session. We hope to first meet and film our families in late September and early October, and we’ll then call out on a monthly basis to see how things are going.

So, if you or anyone you know is interested in getting involved, supporting the local NHS and helping other people to stay well this winter, please get in touch with Jack Linstead by emailing to discuss it further (a poster has been included for your information also).

Back to Basics – Charity’s Annual Returns

annual-returnsIf you are a charity registered with the Charity Commission then each year, depending on your income and/or the type of charity you are, you will be required to file your Annual Return. Depending on the level of your income and structure, you will also need to file the trustees’ annual report and accounts.

We have provided an introductory guide to help you prepare your Annual Return. If you require any further assistance then we would recommend that you speak to your usual contact at Anthony Collins Solicitors or your accountant.

Do I have to?
All Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) and other charities with an income of more than £10,000 must file their Annual Return with the Charity Commission within 10 months of their financial year end date.

If your charity has an income of less than £10,000 and is not a CIO then you must keep your charity’s details on the Charities Register up to date e.g. changes in trustees. The Charity Commission recommends that you do this by filing an Annual Return.
Remember – if you omit to file your Annual Return (and such other regulatory documents) on time then the charity’s entry on the Register of Charities will be marked overdue and even when filed, the entry will show that the Annual Return was filed late. Continued failure to file the Annual Return (and if relevant, your accounts and trustees’ report) will result in the Charity Commission opening an inquiry into the charity which will be published on its website.

Read the FULL article at:

From: Anthony Collins Newsroom – Phil Watts, Senior Associate

Free Resource to Help Trustees Understand Social Investment Published

social investmentA campaign to help boards understand the risks and opportunities of social investment, was launched today by a group of sector bodies, with free guides to help trustees get started.

The Get Informed campaign organised by Big Society Capital, The Charity Commission, Trustees Unlimited, Association of Chairs, Honorary Treasurer’s Forum, Reach Volunteering and Cass Centre for Charity Excellence, was set up following research by the Charity Commission that revealed “skilled and engaged boards” were better able to consider alternative funding methods to achieve their strategy.

A report by the Association of Chairs also revealed “a clear need” for better support for board members in their personal development in order to consider social investment options.

Free resources, guidance and workshops
Big Society Capital said the campaign will offer “free practical support, guidance and information via events and workshops, resources and materials on social investment, peer-to-peer networks, board facilitated sessions and mentors”.

Geetha Rabindrakumar, head of social sector engagement at Big Society Capital said the organisation “consistently hears that charity and social enterprise boards need more support if they are to engage meaningfully with alternative funding models”.

“Get Informed is our response to help address this,” she said.

Sarah Atkinson, director of policy and communications at the Charity Commission said: “We recognise that social investment offers new opportunities to help charities grow and many are keen to harness its potential. However, it’s crucial that trustees are sufficiently informed about the options available and know what they have to consider before making decisions about social investment.

“These resources, along with our core financial guidance, should help trustees make well-considered decisions for their charity. We have also recently updated our guidance on social investment to reflect the new legislation in the Charities Act.”

Charities can register to receive support via Big Society Capital’s website.

From: Civil


Government Launches Bill to Reform Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme

giftaidThe government has introduced a bill to make changes to the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, including removing requirements that prevent newly formed charities from making claims.

The Small Charitable Donations and Childcare Payments Bill, introduced in the House of Commons yesterday, proposes changes to the scheme such as the removal of the two-year rule, under which charities must have been registered for at least the past two years before accessing the scheme.

But the Charity Finance Group said the changes were a missed opportunity for widespread reform of the scheme and the government was “locking in future failure”.

The GASDS, which was introduced in 2013, allows charities to claim Gift Aid-like relief on up to £8,000 worth of small cash donations each year without having to submite paperwork for each individual claim.

It has long been criticised by charity bodies for being too difficult for small charities to access and for low levels of take-up, particularly among the smaller charities it is primarily intended to help.

The bill proposes scrapping the two-year rule and the requirement that charities must have made successful Gift Aid claims in at least two of the previous four years, enabling newly formed charities to access the scheme.
Under the proposals, the same changes would also apply to community amateur sports clubs.
The bill also proposes to allow small donations made by contactless payment to be eligible under the scheme from 6 April next year.

But the bill does not propose any changes to the matching requirement, which dictates that a charity or CASC must make successful Gift Aid claims worth at least 10 per cent of the amount of small donations for which GASDS claims are made in the same tax year.

Andrew O’Brien, head of policy and engagement at the CFG, said some of the proposed changes were positive but overall they fell short of what was needed.

“The bill is a massive missed opportunity,” he said. “If the scheme is to hit the targets that were originally intended, it needs widespread reform.”

He said the scheme had fallen considerably short of the amounts the government originally expected would be claimed by charities and the planned amendments did not go far enough.
“It looks like it is locking in future failure,” he said.

O’Brien called for changes such as allowing cheques or online donations to be included under the scheme, and said he was disappointed that there were no changes to the matching requirement, which puts some small charities off from making claims.
He said a relaxation of the rules around the length of time a charity needed to be in existence was welcome but such changes would not give the scheme the significant boost it needed.

The addition of contactless payments to the scheme was useful for the future, he said, but the overwhelming majority of small charities would not be in a position to accept such donations at this stage.

A spokesman for the Institute of Fundraising said the GASDS was an excellent idea but was not working effectively.
“We have previously raised concerns and called for reform to make sure that more charities are able to benefit, in particular around the matching requirement, the types of donations covered and raising awareness of the scheme more widely within the sector,” he said.

“We hope that this bill is a chance to improve the scheme and plan to engage closely as it makes its way through parliament.”
A spokesman for the Charity Tax Group said he broadly welcomed the relaxation of the requirements around the length of time an organisation had to be in existence before making a claim and the addition of contactless payments, but said it was necessary to see the details of the proposals before making a final judgment.

According to the parliament website, the bill will have its second reading in the House of Commons on 11 October, which will be the first opportunity for MPs to debate the measures it contains.

From: Third Sector

Volunteering Down in Charity Shops, Survey Finds

charity shopThe number of volunteers in charity shops has fallen by around 6 per cent, according to data from this year’s Charity Shops Survey.

The survey, published by Charity Finance and Fundraising magazines, and sponsored by the Charity Retail Association, collected data from 75 charities which between them have around 137,000 volunteers in their shops.
When comparing shops which completed both this year’s and last year’s survey, the survey found a drop of around 9,000 volunteers.

Total hours volunteered in shops also fell, for the second successive year, to 125 hours per shop per week, compared to 133 hours per week per shop in 2014.

This is still higher than the historical level of around 103 to 105 hours observed in the first decade of the new millennium.

Respondents to the survey were pessimistic about future volunteering, with 34 per cent saying they expected volunteer hours to decrease further, compared to 14 per cent expecting them to increase.

Staff numbers remained steady at just over 13,000, but shop numbers rose by just under 2 per cent, meaning that the number of staff employed in each shop fell slightly.

The survey found that almost half the staff in charity shops worked part-time, contributing 35 per cent of hours worked. It also found that staff turnover in charity shops was high. In charities with over 100 staff, almost 40 per cent of employees left their jobs in the last year.

From: Civil

Rowley Regis Awards for All – Deadline Extended

Funding 1SCVO and The Big Lottery’s Awards for All programme have teamed up to invite applications from local voluntary, community and not-for-profit/charitable organisations in or working in the Rowley Regis Area (i.e. Tividale, Rowley, Blackheath, Cradley Heath and Old Hill).

The intention of the Rowley Regis Awards for All fund is to increase the number of eligible applications being received to the Awards for All programme from the Rowley Regis area, which deliver activities or projects that are of benefit to this community. Applicants can apply for a maximum of £10,000 for their community activities or project.

Applications are open to any community groups or organisations based in or delivering in Rowley Regis. However, should the grant fund experience high levels of demand we will give priority to groups with a clear focus on delivery in Rowley Regis with the following criteria:
• Your organisation has an income of less than £15,000 per year (average over the last three years);
• Your organisation has never applied or has previously been unsuccessful in securing a grant from the Awards for All programme;
• Your activities/project will directly benefit residents living within Rowley Regis.

Stage 1 Applications must be returned to SCVO’s Offices, 1st Floor, Landchard House, Victoria Street, West Bromwich, B70 8ER or via email at by 12 noon on Friday, 28th October 2016.

For more information please view the following documents:
Guidance Notes
Application Form (Word Format)

If you require any assistance with making your application, please contact Libby Mahoney on 0121 525 1127 or via email at

Please feel free to share this information with anyone who you think will be interested in applying to the Rowley Regis Awards for All Fund.

Building a Stronger Britain Together

fundingThe Government is determined to tackle extremism in all its forms: violent and non-violent, neo-Nazi and Islamist.

The Building a Stronger Britain programme is part of the counter-extremism strategy which encourages partnership between the government and groups and communities who want to see extremism defeated. This programme aims to help to create more resilient communities, to support civil society and community organisations who stand up to extremism in all its forms and offer vulnerable individuals a positive alternative, regardless of race, faith, sexuality, age, and gender. Not-for profit organisations and charities can apply for in-kind support (such as social media training, technical assistance to help a group improve their website, or capacity building work to help a group protect more vulnerable individuals) and grant funding for specific programmes that deliver goals set out in the Counter Extremism Strategy.

Grants are offered in two ranges:
• £1,000 – £14,999
• £15,000 – £50,000.

The deadline for grants and combined in-kind/grant applications is 5pm on the 14th October 2016.
The deadline for in-kind support applications is 5pm on the 9th December 2016.

More information at:

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