This is where we’ll post third sector news and important updates that are useful for your organisation.

GDPR: how charities can prepare with one week to go

Originally published by charitytimes:

Written by David Britton

When Ecclesiastical surveyed charities about GDPR at the end of last year, more than a third of small charities had not heard of the legislation. Fast forward five months and with the deadline looming, the good news is that the picture is now a very different one. In my conversations with charities over the past few months, awareness of the legislation has been steadily growing, and it’s now the hottest topic of discussion when I talk to clients.

There’s no doubting that the amount of time and effort that’s been put into planning and preparing for the GDPR has been significant. But while everyone is now aware of the legislation, there are still a lot of charities working hard to understand the implications for their own organisation.

A lot of focus for charities has been in reviewing the key questions for fundraising, in particular around the debate on whether or not they need to gather fresh consent from donors and supporters. Recent guidance from the Institute of Fundraising and, the Information Commissioners’ Office (ICO) has helped address some of these issues, but the implications of the GDPR are wider than just consent versus legitimate interest.

One area charities will need to think about is how prepared they are to manage the knock-on effects of data breaches. The GDPR imposes a new duty on charities to report certain types of data breach to the ICO within 72 hours of becoming aware. Above this if the breach is likely to result in a high risk in individuals, then they must also be notified.

This brings in a need for charities to review their processes to detect breaches, and then respond if something happens. The risks posed by cyber threats means that the likelihood of breaches is increasing and charities need to be prepared to manage the risks and deal with the consequences.

In light of this, charities are still in need of more support in terms of managing the risks posed by cyber threats such as hacking and phishing. There’s an increasing trend of charities data being targeted by cyber criminals so we’ve been working to help charities improve their cyber security, including publishing a recent guide in conjunction with the Cyber Security Forum.

It’s important that charities understand the risks to their organisation. The costs of not complying with the new data regulation are significant – new sanctions available to the regulator under the GDPR, include the power to issue greater fines for serious breaches, up to 4% of turnover or €20m. However these significant fines and penalties will only be used in the most serious of breaches.

So what can charities do now to prepare in the run-up to the introduction of the GDPR? If they haven’t already, then make sure trustees have discussed the GDPR and looked at what work needs to be done to ensure they are ready. It will depend on the circumstances of different organisations but a good place to start is to review all the personal data they hold, in all areas from donor and supporter information to staff and volunteer details and beneficiary data.

There’s guidance on the ICO website about the 12 key steps to take now so review all the existing guidance available. Charities should also see if there are similar organisations out there to talk to. One of the great strengths of the charity sector is its focus on collaboration so this is also a great opportunity to speak to similar organisations and learn from each other.

At this late stage, the key thing is not to worry unnecessarily about the GDPR. Many charities will already be well on the way to complying with the GDPR, particularly through any steps they’ve already taken to ensure they comply with the current data protection act. The GDPR will need focus from charities to ensure they are compliant but it’s not designed to be an excessive burden.

It provides charities with an opportunity to review the ways they engage with donors, supporters and beneficiaries to make sure they are fundraising effectively and taking any opportunities to show people how charities can do great things with personal data to help meet the needs of those who charities support.

David Britton is charity director at Ecclesiastical.

Author: Steering Member
Categories: News

Ex-charity boss John Briers guilty of £700,000 fraud

Originally posted by The BBC:

A former charity chief has been found guilty of defrauding his organisation out of more than £700,000.

John Briers, who was the head of Age Concern South Tyneside, used fake invoices and banked unauthorised bonus and pension payments between 2007 and 2015.

Briers, 57, of Woodstock Road, Gateshead, had denied three counts of fraud by abuse of position.

He will be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on 24 May.

Briers stole a total of £708,499, the jury heard.

He paid 60 fraudulent cheques amounting to £433,236 into his bank account as well as awarding himself £105,560 via 12 unauthorised bonuses and £169,703 through 19 unauthorised top-ups to his pension.

‘Deeply saddened’

The jury heard concerns were raised by a finance officer in August 2015 who had become worried about an invoice claiming to be from an architecture firm.

They were also told number of submitted invoices were not sequentially numbered and had no supporting documentation.

Briers claimed he had banked the cheques as reimbursement for paying suppliers from his own funds and said the original invoices had all been lost and replaced by substitutes.

Following the verdict, the charity said: “We are deeply saddened by this serious breach of trust and highly conscious of how much more might have been done by the local charity to help older people in the South Tyneside area if it had not happened.”

Author: Steering Member
Categories: News

You can now donate to charity by asking Amazon’s Alexa to send money

Originally posted on The Verve:

You can now donate to charity with your voice by asking Amazon’s Alexa.

Today, the tech giant announced a new feature called Alexa Donations, powered by Amazon Pay. Now, you can just say, “Alexa, donate $10 to UNICEF USA,” or any supported charity of your choice. Alternatively, you can say, “Alexa, make a donation,” and Alexa will ask you to pick a charity and dollar amount. Then, it uses your Amazon account payment info to complete the transaction.

Currently, users can only choose from 48 charities and nonprofits, including more commonly known ones like the American Red Cross and the American Cancer Society to internet-oriented groups like the Tor Project, Wikimedia Foundation, and the media site ProPublica. Amazon noted in a press release, “This is just the beginning — this list will continue to grow.”

According to the company, over a million people have used Amazon Pay to donate to charities already before Alexa Donations was launched. Amazon has also collaborated before with Give Back Box, which let users reuse Amazon boxes to ship donations to charities.

Author: Steering Member
Categories: News

Essex Savers net Credit Union Limited goes out of business: FSCS to protect 5,000 members

Content from FSCS

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has stepped in to protect members of Essex Savers net Credit Union Limited; which has stopped trading and is now in default. This means it cannot re-pay deposits to its 5000 members.

FSCS will compensate the vast majority of members within seven days. Using the credit union’s records, FSCS will send payments out automatically.

Members with up to £1,000 in their account will receive a letter to get cash over the counter at their local Post Office. Anyone with more than this will receive a cheque for their balance direct from FSCS.

For holders of a Child Trust Fund account with Essex Savers net Credit Union Limited, the process for FSCS to reimburse savings is different to that for other account holders. Payment can only be made to an alternative Junior ISA provider. The administrators (CVR Global LLP) will shortly be writing to the registered holders of Child Trust Fund accounts with Essex Savers net Credit Union with further information about this.

FSCS protects up to £85,000 of savings per person – double that for joint accounts. It has come to the aid of more than 4.5m people since 2001, while paying out over £26bn in compensation. FSCS expects the total pay-out for Essex Savers net Credit Union members to be £1.7m.

Mark Oakes, Head of Communications at FSCS, said:

“We are here to protect members of Essex Savers net Credit Union Limited, and we’re ready to help. Your savings are protected up to £85,000, and joint accounts are covered for £170,000. You should get your money back within the week. The process is automatic too, so you won’t have to apply for compensation.”

Read more information on how FSCS helps people with current or savings accounts in banks, building societies and credit unions.

Any queries about Essex Savers net Credit Union Limited can be directed to the administrators, Kevin Murphy, Jason Maloney and Bai Cham of CVR Global LLP by post; c/o 7B Castlegate, York, YO1 9RN; telephone 01245 830520  or email at [email protected]


  • For more information on deposits protection please visit our questions and answers page.
  • Essex Savers net Credit Union Limited was declared in default on 14 February 2018 with 5,000 members.
  • FSCS is the UK’s statutory compensation scheme for customers of authorised financial services firms. FSCS is funded by the financial services industry and protects investment business, deposits, home finance (mortgage) advice, and general insurance and insurance broking. FSCS can pay for financial loss if a firm cannot pay claims against it. We are independent and do not charge individual customers for using our service.
  • Before FSCS can declare a credit union in default and pay compensation to its members, it must be satisfied the credit union cannot repay deposits because of its financial circumstances, and has no current prospect of being able to do so.


Author: Sarah Huggett
Categories: News


As we are all aware the GDPR General Data Protection Regulation will be taking effect on 25 May 2018. The Alliance provides a platform for all community sector organisations to get involved in the conversation, share knowledge and experiences.

The 12 step plan is a good guide to work through so that we can be prepared for the upcoming changes. You can download the full 12 step plan here.

An event that has been highlighted by Maldon CVS may be of interest to you, for all details please click here.

Essex CVS and Volunteer Essex have partnered with Russell Cooke Solicitors to offer voluntary and community organisations in Essex the opportunity to attend a legal briefing on the forthcoming changes to the law surrounding Data Protection.

The General Data Protection Regulation will come into force in May 2018 and organisations are advised to update their existing policies and procedures to ensure they remain compliant. The forthcoming changes will affect all organisations that collect or use individuals’ personal information.

Russell-Cooke is recognised as one of the leading law firms advising charities in the UK and one of their Associate Solicitors Carla Whalen will be providing a half day seminar covering the changes and their impact for not for profit organisations, the legal bases for processing data, privacy notices and the rights of individuals.

The seminar will take place at Anglia Ruskin University on the 16th January 2018, 1pm. Places are £45 per person including light refreshments. Book online at

Author: Sarah Huggett
Categories: News

Citizens Advice Essex is a member and supporter of the Essex Alliance since its conception

Citizens Advice Essex is a member and supporter of The Alliance since its conception.

We aim to:

  • provide the advice people need for the problems they face.

The Citizens Advice Essex service offers information, advice and guidance through face-to- face, phone and digital services, with information available online via or our national public website

  • improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives.

We’re not just here for times of crisis – we also use clients’ stories anonymously to campaign for policy changes that benefit the population as a whole. For example, we are currently campaigning for a ‘pause’ to the roll out of Universal Credit full service because of the poor experience and support experienced by claimants. Read more…

Author: Sarah Huggett
Categories: News