Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from July, 2009

Something must be done - do charities have a collective responsibility for under-performing charities?

This article first appeared in New Philanthropy Capital’s Giving Insights newsletter, summer 2009


Chief executives from the charity sector are gathering for the spring conference. They discuss their varying responses to the recession, possibilities of new business, recent pronouncements from key government Ministers - and the abject performance of organisation X. When will it end, they sigh? Surely they can’t go on providing such abysmally poor services and get away with it? The majority view is that it reflects badly on all charities; something must be done.

But this is the same conversation that took place at the spring conference the year before. Nothing has been done about organisation X and there are plenty of entirely plausible reasons why the Chief Executives should leave the elephant in the room well alone.

After all, surely charities cannot be expected to regulate each other – isn’t that the job of official regulators such as the Charity Commission? Or what about the commis…

Feeble, Wretched and Hopeless

There is little about the subject of homelessness which raises the spirit. The lives of homeless people are frequently bleak, often mundane; short on glamour. Consequently programmes about the homeless are rarely shown on prime-time TV. Instead they are shuffled off to the early morning or late night slot. Famous, Rich and Homeless, broadcast over two evenings in June at 9.00pm on BBC1 was the exception. It tracked the experiences of five celebrities as they faced the most extreme form of homelessness: rough sleeping. The celebrity guinea pigs were the journalist Rosie Boycott, the actor Bruce Jones of Coronation Street fame, the presenter Hardeep Singh Kohli and ex-tennis player Annabel Croft. There was a fifth celebrity, the Marquess of Blandford who, to universal derision, survived only a short time on the street before throwing in the towel and escaping to an up-market Chelsea hotel. The second of the programmes drew an impressive 4.9 million viewers.

Over the last twenty years th…