In this month’s digest Carol Rudge provides an update on some of the top articles, reports, news, and events for Not for Profit (NFP) organisations. We cover the impact of the Autumn Budget, some thoughts on ESG reporting and highlight a report on how some universities are doing positive things in climate change. We also take a look at the important trends impacting trade unions and highlight a case study from one of our fantastic trade union clients.
Autumn Budget: Relief for the Arts Sector
The Chancellor announced in his second budget of the year that there would be a tax relief for the arts sector. It was great to hear that the tax relief for museums and galleries that was due to end in March next year will be extended for two years to March 2024. This will play an important role as the sector begins to recover and rebuild following the Covid Pandemic. This tax relief is worth almost a quarter of a billion pounds. The budget also allocated finances to celebrate the United Kingdom, hoping to promote shared values, culture, and institutions. This includes funds such as those for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee event in 2022. For full details of the Autumn Budget, download our guide here.
Charity Finance Group
Carol Rudge chaired a session at the Charity Finance Group’s annual conference on Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). Three major observations stuck out from the discussion.
At HW Fisher we are continuously working hard to ensure that we have a diverse business environment with a positive culture that is open and transparent. The leadership team are committed to creating opportunities for everyone to listen and learn from one another.
A request to support CFG’s new guide on Net Zero
If you, like me, have been pondering on how to get to net zero, I have seen that CFG are producing a guide. In order to do so, they are gathering some information to shape the content; it’s a very brief survey so worth a few moments of time to help get the project underway.
The Impact of Covid on the charity sector
The Charity Commission have carried out a survey on the impact of Covid. There are a lot of detailed facts and figures but a positive which caught my eye is that ‘Half of charities (49%) have made better use of digital technology’. This includes engaging internally for example for meetings and externally with members and for fundraising. Many are expecting to continue to use technology in these new ways. It is therefore important that cyber risks are carefully considered as well as the digital skills including within the board. In addition, we are all having to learning the skill of making meetings work where there is a mix of attendees in person and on screen; it is so easy for those in the room to forget those on the screen or to all just sit and face the screen with the consequence of less interaction with those in the room. Hopefully practice will make perfect!
ESG Reporting: More needs to be done
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting is becoming more and more high profile which is not surprising, particularly given the recent COP26 conference. Much of it is not mandatory yet but this is a fairly rapidly evolving area and some organisations are voluntarily adopting new frameworks to ensure they are in a good place when new requirements are put in place.
One aspect which has been mandatory for a while now is reporting on emissions and energy consumption under the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) rules which came into force with effect from 1 April 2019 for a range of entities including large unquoted companies; this therefore applies to many NFP organisations. The FRC has produced a thematic review on reports issued so far and given that general ESG reporting is only going in one direction, it makes sense for Boards to consider what they have said and whether any improvements need to be made for the next round of reporting.
The findings include that more needs to be done to make the disclosures understandable and relevant for users including how the information is calculated, which operations and emissions are included and the extent of third party assurance. They also set out what they expect going forwards which include an adequate description of energy efficiency initiatives focussing on those measures with the most significant impact.
Higher Education: The industry’s role on climate change
Professor Susan Lea released a thought-provoking blog to the Higher Education Policy Institute on climate change and the positive role which some universities are playing, and as she says, offering help. There are some really forward-thinking initiatives going on in the Higher Education (HE) sector which others elsewhere may envy (and hopefully replicate). It would be great to see these examples widely publicised to facilitate this and whilst ESG reporting is gaining momentum, will it reach a broad enough audience so we can all learn from each other?
At HW Fisher we believe this is one of the key questions – how do we share the knowledge we are all gaining so everyone can move forwards as quickly as possible with minimal wheel reinventing? Organisations’ stakeholders can do much to help drive this change, particularly if they are stakeholders across multiple organisations and industries, and we are certainly starting to see grant makers pushing to drive best practice through grant conditions.
Trade Unions: The changing world of work
A recent report from Becky Wright of Unions 21 provides interesting statistics on how the changing world of work could impact on union membership. As union density is lowest in those industries expected to create the most jobs, overall membership density will fall with growth pretty much confined to the public sector. The question is will people in new/expanding industries seek to join unions?
Musicians Union: Turning challenge into opportunity
We’re proud to work with some fantastic clients and we love to celebrate the brilliant work they are doing. We spoke to the Musicians’ Union about how they have navigated the challenges of the last year, and what they will be focusing on going forward into 2022 and beyond. Read more.
Involved in trade unions? We produced our first Trade Union Insights newsletter this quarter, with content ranging from the impact of the Autumn Budget on trade unions, how to make strategic plans for the future, and the secret to becoming a better leader. If you would like to receive Trade Union Insights in future, please contact Louise Hughes.