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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Past tense: TFN's members-only news review, July edition!

This feature is almost 3 years old

Looking over the past month - exclusive for SCVO members

One thing we constantly have to judge is how much weight and coverage we give to stories originating outside the Scottish sector.

We try to be as much as possible, but we are not (cannot be) totally consistent in what we publish.

As I’m constantly pointing out to people, we’re a small team, so our uploading capacity to the website is limited to how many people we have working that day, who’s on holiday, who is involved in other bits of work etc.

So we can’t cover everything – but I think that our reporters do a brilliant job of covering as much as possible.

Some stories don’t make it (though they sometimes do, depending on that else is going on). Into this category go stories from the English and Welsh sector, often originating from those countries’ regulator.

We sometimes cover these if there is learning in them for the Scottish sector. There’s one we didn’t do, but maybe should have (I made the call not to based on workload and the fact that the stats were purely English and Welsh), was a recent one about Charity Commission research showing that trust in charities is at its highest since 2014.

One affect of the pandemic seems to have been a recognition of their importance. Since 2014, a mixed bag of troubles has beset the sector – with the effects being felt especially down south. For many reasons, it was different in Scotland and we never suffered to the same degree.

Negative publicity surrounding the Olive Cooke scandal, the Kids Company collapse and some truly horrific revelations around safeguarding in the international aid sector contributed to a dip in public support from charities.

But that has been turned around as people see the best of the sector in action during the pandemic.

According to the report, charities are more trusted than most other parts of society, including banks, social services, local councils and MPs.

Charities held the third most trusted status in society, behind police and doctors.

One of the problems with public perception can be issues of definition. One of the most vexed issues in the Scottish sector is the inclusion of the likes of aleos, private schools and universities in the wider sector.

This is an issue TFN has visited in the past and I think we should again – the announcement recently that Glasgow Life is to shed 500 jobs has brought it to the fore.

Clearly, the sector risks reputational damage through the involvement of these wider-society bodies. I can offer no solution to this, but thoughts are welcome – email me.

Finally, since the last of these reviews, it has been announced that the UK government will definitely proceed with £4 billion worth of international aid cuts.

How depressing and how utterly predictable. I’ve written about it here.

As someone once said, what is to be done?


The lockdown listening trip continues – this month, I ‘discovered’ the odd charms of McCartney II, Paul McCartney’s second solo album from 1980.

I’m generally not much of a whale for Fab Macca, but have been listening to it a lot in the past week.

This is one of the most bonkers, and catchiest, songs I’ve heard in a long time: