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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to http://pennystockpaycheck.com for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Charities turn to financial markets

Category : World News

Charities look to the markets as traditional funding falters

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Socially Conscious Non-Profit, Weartiable, Secures Three New Board Members

Category : World News

FORT COLLINS, CO–(Marketwire – Mar 26, 2013) – Wearitable, a not-for-profit organization, has secured three new members for its Board of Directors. Wearitable sells clothing and other branded items for the benefit of non-profit organizations. Instead of taking a percentage of total goods sold to run its operations, Wearitable is separately funded through charitable donations and its own branded clothing and merchandise. This model makes it possible to run a non-profit where 100% of customers’ money goes to the charity or charities of their choice.

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Libor fines to fund forces charities

Category : World News

Three military charities are to share £1.3m from fines imposed on banks that had rigged interest rates, Chancellor George Osborne announces.

Originally posted here: Libor fines to fund forces charities

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Call for soft-drink sugar tax

Category : Business

Leading medical bodies and charities are calling for a levy on sugary drinks to be included in this year’s Budget.

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Post Christmas clear-outs boosting secondhand goods market

Category : Business

In January charities benefit from Britons discarding 73,000 tonnes of clothes and 60,000 tonnes of electrical goods

After a possibly indulgent Christmas, a clear-out in January of old clothes, books and gadgets comes as a timely tidy-up – but people’s new year purges are also feeding a growing market in secondhand goods.

About 73,000 tonnes of clothing, worth about £70m, are ditched in the UK in the first month of the year. At this time textile processors experience a 20% to 30% rise in the volume of goods they collect following the December lull.

Age UK, a charity with 440 shops around Britain, last week received 66,000 bags of donated goods, nearly double the average amount donated per week in 2012.

The British Heart Foundation said it had had an influx of toiletries, pyjamas and socks (many still bearing a gift tag), as shoppers ditched unpopular Christmas presents.

Jack Chandler, manager of Oxfam’s book and music store in Marlborough, said that donations had risen by about 15% last week, compared with a typical week. He said there had been big donations of books, perhaps due to some readers clearing their shelves after receiving an e-reader for Christmas.

The biggest January clearout is of electrical goods. About 60,000 tonnes of TVs, washing machines, fridges and other home gadgets, worth about £20m, are dumped in January – a quantity that is about double that in a typical month.

Almost half of those items are suitable for resale by charity shops or on online sites such as eBay, while the remainder are broken up for recycling.

The electricals reuse market is thought to be growing by more than 40% a year as an increasing number of charity shops, local authorities, retailers and reprocessors work together to put unwanted goods back on the shelves.

Sean Feeney, chief executive of Environcom, an electrical recycling company, said that more charity shops were now prepared to sell refurbished electrical goods.

He said: “There is huge demand for these goods. The only thing holding us back is supply. We are encouraging people to hand unwanted but functioning electrical goods to charity shops in the same way they do clothing.”

Charity shops, meanwhile, can struggle to secure sufficient stock to supply the public demand.

Age UK said its strong start to January followed a dip in donations in the last quarter of 2012 compared with the year before. The number of bags donated slid 10% as shoppers made goods last longer and spent less on new items during the economic downturn. The charity said that sales at its stores remained steady as it had been able to command better prices for quality goods.

Helena King, from Age UK, said: “We always get a good response after Christmas, with an influx of people bringing in unwanted goods.

“But the long-term prognosis is that it is getting increasingly harder to find donations. When people have got less disposable income they don’t give as much. The flooding also prevented people from leaving out bags for collection.

“Bogus collectors, cash for clothes companies – all those things weren’t around five years ago, and now they are fighting in the same space.”

As people hold on to their possessions for longer to avoid having to buy anew, auction sites, businesses willing to pay for secondhand goods and doorstep collections by companies posing as charities are all competing for castoffs.

The Charity Retail Association warned that the sector was losing more than £50m a year to bogus collectors. And competition for clothing could step up as local authorities experiment with collecting textiles as part of doorstep recycling programmes.

Suffolk began a trial collecting clothing along with other recyclable goods last summer, and three more as yet unnamed councils are to take part in a similar scheme supported by the government-backed Waste Resources Action Programme this spring.

Councils say they are not competing with charity shops but trying to capture the estimated 350,000 tonnes of clothing that ends up in rubbish tips each year.

But charity shops are now looking at new ways to attract donations in the face of rising competition.

Traid, the international development charity, has partnered with the London borough of Kensington & Chelsea to organise doorstep collections and allows potential donors from anywhere in Britain to request a pick-up online.

Meanwhile, Marks & Spencer’s tie-up with Oxfam, which gives shopping vouchers in exchange for bags of clothing, has encouraged more than 10m donations so far.

King said Age UK was considering a similar partnership to help attract donations and shoppers, and also encouraging those handing in goods to register for Gift Aid. The government-backed scheme means the charity can earn an additional 25p a pound of goods sold.

One note of good news for clothing recyclers is that a slowdown in donations of British clothing this autumn helped keep prices high.

Ross Barry, manager of the LMB clothing recycling firm, said prices were holding up despite a slowdown in world market demand amid global economic troubles and a surge in donations in the UK at the end of the summer.

Where does it all go?

Much of Britain’s secondhand clothing goes abroad – an estimated 540,000 tonnes a year, or about 70%, according to the government-backed Waste Resources Action Programme (Wrap). Just 14% is reused in the UK.

Figures collated by HM Revenue & Customs indicate that the bulk of secondhand clothing exported from the UK goes to sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly £115m worth of old clothes were sent there in 2011, up from £70m in 2007. The biggest destination in Africa is Ghana, followed by Benin and Kenya. The second largest overall market is Ukraine, which accepted £30.9m of secondhand clothing from the UK last year, up from £18.7m in 2008. Total exports of secondhand clothing from the UK to countries outside the EU rose from £112.1m in 2007 to £179.7m in 2011.

Why charities must approach corporates in a targeted way

Category : Business

As resources are scarce, it’s important to do your homework and understand the key business drivers for investment

I’ve worked in the area of corporate community investment for about 15 years and, while the types of charitable support we provide has changed little, the world of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has moved forward and altered.

Today’s corporates look for far more than just being seen as socially and environmentally responsible. These are still key considerations when giving time or money to charitable organisations or community groups but, increasingly, businesses are looking for a strategic return on their community investments.

Corporate giving has therefore evolved from a largely philanthropic approach, with a focus on responsibility, to corporate social investment (CSI), where the focus is very much on demonstrating a return – both business and social – for funds invested.

Now, corporate community investors are looking to align any support to their business strategies. The relationship is far more balanced – for example, the corporate partner may have more financial assets, such as money or time, but the charity partner brings other resources such as expertise, knowledge and service delivery in their specialist area. There are also reputational benefits and stakeholder engagement opportunities for the corporate partner.

As a result, some of the most effective CSR initiatives have been achieved through corporates strategically aligning with charities that have a shared interest in a specific social issue.

To be successful both partners need to be completely transparent about their objectives and motives. In the past, companies have been circumspect about the business intentions behind their community investments for fear of being seen as too commercial.

But should they have to when they are making a financial donation or giving the precious time of their employees? Being transparent about the business reasons can demonstrate a real and lasting commitment to community investment. If the chief executive or finance director of the corporate community investor can see a business return then they are likely to keep investing in the future.

Larger organisations are also becoming much better at evaluating the skills development and the engagement levels of each employee and then monitoring how they apply new skills gained to their roles within their daily jobs.

Volunteering really succeeds within an organisation when it plays a major role in personal development plans and brings increased job satisfaction and improved relationships between colleagues.

Ultimately, corporate organisations want to make things easier for charities to understand how they fit into the bigger picture.

Making relationships work

So what do community groups need to do to succeed in the world of corporate social investment?

I still receive approximately 100 letters, calls or emails from people a month requesting some kind of assistance. I recognise that time and resource are increasingly scarce in the third sector. However, a standard letter, pitching and asking for money, rarely works anymore. Instead, do your homework to ensure a targeted approach. Understand the types of community activities that companies are supporting and the key business drivers for investment.

The charities and community organisations that I have been impressed with are those that look at opportunities for the corporate investor so it is not a one-sided relationship. A good example is St Basils, a homeless organisation in Birmingham, which I have personally been involved with and which National Grid is supporting through employee volunteers this Christmas.

The charity has been particularly effective in engaging with corporates through their annual Sleep Out and Summer Walk Challenge. As well as being highly effective networking opportunities, these events are great fun and highly rewarding experiences for the volunteers involved. At the same time they raise awareness of homelessness and valuable funds for a very worthy cause.

What can you do to help your cause?

In summing up, I would urge charitable organisations to use the following checklist when looking to attract the attention of larger companies:

• Does your project address a real social need? Which corporates may share your interest in this area? (think about their productsand services, target audiences, consumers, supply chain)

• What is the community impact of the project you are hoping to receive support for? Clear metrics are essential.

• What corporate support do you need? Be specific, think more broadly than just money and be clear about the potential business impact if you gain support.

• How would you work alongside the business organisation to develop an effective partnership and track the business and social return on investment?

Get the approach right and it will be worth the investment in time and effort.

Kate Van Der Plank is head of community investment at National Grid.

This content is brought to you by Guardian Professional. To join the voluntary sector network, click here.

How to avoid the pitfalls of payment by results

Category : Business

It is essential organisations understand the terms and conditions that apply in their situation

If you have the opportunity of tendering for a government contract that is based on the payment for services based on results, you may be wondering what the risks are.

Government payments by results (PBR) contracts can vary immensely in their terms and conditions and in their complexity. The key is understanding the terms and conditions that apply in your particular circumstances. The contracts can be detailed and lengthy so it is important to consider legal advice, especially if considerable sums are involved.

Before you start the evaluation process of a PBR contract you should consider whether the targets are clearly defined to be achieved and think about whether you have control of all aspects of these targets.

If they are numerous and complex you need to ascertain how they will be measured and assessed so that you are clear on the criteria and how success will be measured. You may need to question their application or negotiate to get clear assessment targets. The next questions to explore are around funding issues, risks involved and ability to demonstrate the results.

Funding issues

It is important to understand how much of the total value of the contract relates to the PBR conditions.

At this stage you need to be able to establish future income streams compared to the timing of the expenditure, so that you can calculate the funding requirements of the contract. Monthly cash flows would normally be sufficient, unless there are large items of costs in any one month where more detail may be required.

So for a 100% PBR contract, when will you be able to start claiming the income and when is it likely to be paid?

It could be that you need to fund all of the costs before any income starts to flow in and this may mean a period of months or even years. You may receive some stage payments along the way so it is important to be sure that you afford to finance the contract while you wait for the final settlement. Therefore the funding requirements will determine whether you have the reserves in place to be able to fund the contract up to the point that you start to receive income. The key decision will be whether to tie up that amount of funds in this project and think about whether you can afford to do so.

Risks

This is where the next stage of the thought process can begin. Having established the financial figures, how accurate are these likely to be? When preparing the figures it is important to bear in mind your experience in delivering projects similar to the one you are considering. In particular, how will you record your outcomes and what processes do you need to have in place to do so?

Do you need to train staff, purchase equipment or change your current recording methods in order to demonstrate your performance and outcomes for this contract and have these upfront costs been included in your plan?

You must consider the risks of not obtaining all of the contract income if outcomes are not achieved and the implications for the organisation. You need to work out carefully how long it will take to deliver the desired outcomes and how feasible these will be to achieve. Again, this comes down to your experience and ensuring that the outcomes are not unrealistic. This is a key risk, as the success or otherwise of the contract will be determined by your ability to demonstrate that outcomes have been achieved.

Equally you need to consider whether you have underestimated the costs involved. It is important that expenditure is not overlooked in an outcomes focused contract. There are two aspects to consider here.

Firstly, are you delivering the outcomes at the level of planned costs and, if not, what do you need to do to get back on track? The monitoring of the contract not only needs to track outcomes but also track the costs to ensure that the project will come in on budget.

Secondly, are you compromising on your service? An outcomes based contract, if not properly controlled can lead to short cuts being taken to deliver the outcome. You need to have the appropriate monitoring in place to ensure that you are delivering any services to the appropriate quality. This can be exacerbated if bonuses are involved.

In summary, whatever type of contract is being considered, the risks to the organisation must be assessed. With a contract for services there are always risks over the amount of income that will be kept by the organisation. You must review the potential impact on the organisation so you can plan accordingly. Monies can be recouped through contract claw-back clauses, not be paid in the first place if outcomes are not achieved, be only partially paid, or ideally the full income can be received. From the worst case scenario of failure to deliver the contract to receiving minimal income coupled with the funding implications from financing the project from start to finish, ensure you have assessed what will happen to your organisation.

Helena Wilkinson is a partner at accountancy firm Chantrey Vellacott DFK specialising in the audit of charities and not-for-profit organisations.

This content is brought to you by Guardian Professional. To join the voluntary sector network, click here.

VIDEO: Charities ‘fear new year closure’

Category : Business

One in six UK charities questioned for a survey say they fear they may have to close in 2013 due to public spending cuts and falling donations, the Charities Aid Foundation has said.

Continued here: VIDEO: Charities ‘fear new year closure’

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Tax fatty foods to tackle obesity, charity urges ministers

Category : Business

National Heart Forum’s call comes days after decision in Denmark to scrap higher duties on foods high in saturated fat

Ministers should put extra taxes on unhealthy foods such as sugary soft drinks to tackle growing obesity, urges a leading health charity that is part-funded by the Department of Health (DoH).

The National Heart Forum’s (NHF) call comes days after Denmark, which last year became the first country to increase duties on foods high in saturated fat, scrapped its experiment saying it had failed.

“Carefully applied food taxes are both cost-effective and justified to help tackle the spiralling costs and huge social burdens of non-communicable diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes caused by over-consumption of unhealthy foods high in fat, sugar and salt,” said Jane Landon, the NHF’s deputy chief executive.

An NHF report backs “excise duties applied with care to specific food categories such as sugary soft drinks which are ‘unhealthy’, non-essential and which can easily be substituted for a healthier alternative”. Revenue could be used to subsidise the cost of fruit and vegetables to help win public support, it recommends.

“Fat taxes” are increasingly popular internationally. David Cameron said last year that the UK would consider introducing them, but the DoH simply pledged to “keep all international evidence under review” and restated its backing for its controversial system of voluntary initiatives with the food and drink industries.

The Food and Drink Federation dismissed the NHF’s call as “simply a revenue raising scheme that will hit families hard. Research shows that calorie intake from sugar sweetened drinks in the UK is just 2% so it will have an effect on people’s pockets, but not their waistlines”, said Terry Jones, its director of communications.

But Professor Jack Winkler, a nutrition expert, said: “2012 has been a bad year for the advocates of taxes on ‘bad’ foods. Far from the case for such taxes being overwhelming, I think the Danish reversal will prove the high water mark for such policy proposals, and interest in the subject will now recede.”

The Labour shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, who believes fat taxes would hit poorer people the hardest, told the Guardian last week he now favoured new laws to force food producers to reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar in many products.

Jobseekers: slump in numbers entering government ‘back-to-work’ scheme

Category : Business

Coalition work programme ‘grinding to a halt’, warns Labour, as total July referrals halve, year on year

Government plans to get jobless people into work are “grinding to a halt”, Labour warned, after official figures revealed that the numbers being referred to the flagship employment scheme have slumped.

Figures newly published show there were 878,000 referrals to the government’s work programme up to the end of July 2012. However total monthly referrals fell to just half that of a year ago.

In July last year almost 100,000 unemployed people were entering the work programme. By this July that had fallen to fewer than 49,000.

The programme is supposed to link job centres to the companies that help unemployed people find work. The firms are paid for every jobless person who is found work.

The Employment Related Services Association (Ersa), the trade body for the welfare-to-work industry, warned that it was particularly concerned about the numbers of people being sent to the scheme who had been on incapacity benefit but, following a medical test, were judged fit to work.

Under the contract, companies, and the charities that work for them, can collect £13,550 for finding such claimants long-term work, double the money paid for getting an unemployed person a job.

Kirsty McHugh, Ersa’s chief executive, said: “These latest figures continue to show a far lower level of referrals to the work programme of people on employment support allowance (ESA) than originally predicted by government … the lower level of referrals of jobseekers on ESA has a disproportionate impact on voluntary sector providers who tend to offer the expertise these jobseekers require.”

The shadow welfare secretary, Liam Byrne, said that the fall in people sent to the work programme had come despite a 188,000 rise in the number of long-term claimants on the jobseekers allowance, between July 2011 and July 2012.

“The government’s flagship back-to-work scheme is now in total gridlock – just when we need it most. We were promised the biggest back-to-work programme ever, yet referrals have plunged to their lowest point since the scheme began.

“Long-term unemployment is through the roof but referrals are falling because job-centre staff seem to be losing faith in a scheme this government is making a mess of.”

However the government said that the number of referrals of claimants on jobseekers allowance “were always expected to drop after the first year”. It stated: “In the first year there were extra referrals, for example as [Labour's] flexible new deal ended.”

The Department of Work and Pensions said that charities and voluntary groups were signing up to the work programme, contradicting the idea that they would lose out.

Since January 20 further charities had signed up – but 15 had left.

A spokesperson for the DWP said: “More people [went] on to the work programme than expected when providers bid for contracts, and we’re taking decisive action to allow providers to help more people on employment and support allowance take their first steps back towards work.

“The work programme is designed to give jobseekers the help and support they need while delivering value for the taxpayer. The best way for providers to earn money through the programme is by getting more people into work and helping them to remain there.

“If Jobcentre Plus is successfully moving claimants into work before they need the extra help of the work programme this is good news for the economy, claimant and taxpayer.”