Commission urges charities to embrace technology

(Immediate Release 25 June 2010)

Andrew Hind, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, says technology offers hope for charities worried about balancing their books during the recession.

Speaking at the 2010 Conference of the Association of Charity Independent Examiners, Andrew Hind urged charities to think creatively about how they could make use of advances in electronic communication to cut costs and improve their services.

He said that the Commission had switched to providing more of its services online, in response to losing thirty per cent of its staff members in six years (2005-2011):

Andrew Hind said:

“By investing in technology, the Commission improved our services despite the cuts in funding. We have managed that because we’ve seen moving online as more than a cost-cutting exercise. It’s been a mission of conviction. Social networking, the 24-hour news agenda and instant access to information have shifted the power-balance between providers and users of services. I think that’s a good thing, I believe the digital age requires us to be more open, more democratic, more accountable […]. So I urge you, and the charities you work with, to also think about the ways you can cut costs and improve your services through technology.”


During his speech on Friday 25th June, Andrew Hind, whose term of office at the Commission ends this September after six years at the helm, warned that charities needed to brace themselves for the impact of the Chancellor’s departmental budget cuts.
He said:

“Government cuts are coming quick, and we now know they are going to go deep. The sector is beginning to recognise this. In September 2008, just under forty percent of charities told us they were affected by the credit crunch. By the time we carried out the fourth survey in March this year that number had risen to nearly sixty percent. Many of the charities that depend on public grants are also seeing greater than ever demands on their services – they’re facing a double-squeeze.”

He urged charities to consider closer collaboration and cooperation and focus on demonstrating the impact of their work.

Speaking about the Commission’s progress in recent years, Andrew Hind said:

“Looking back, I am very pleased with the progress the Commission has made. We have put the right systems and processes in place. And what’s more important: we’ve got the regulatory attitude right: The Commission is now clearer that we can’t regulate effectively in isolation from the public interest and from the context in which charities are working. But we’re a confident regulator, unafraid to intervene when we see things going wrong.

The full speech is available on the Charity Commission website.

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Notes to Editors

  1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. See www.charitycommission.gov.uk for further information or call our contact centre on 0845 300 0218.
  2. Andrew Hind has been Chief Executive of the Charity Commission since 2004. His term of office ends in September 2010. His previous positions include Chief Operating Officer of BBC World Service, Deputy Chief Executive at ActionAid and Director of Finance & Corporate Services at Barnardo’s.
  3. Andrew was co-founder of the Charity Finance Directors’ Group in 1988 and its second chair from 1992-94.

 

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