New Skills for Care Leadership Course Launched

“Leading Change, Improving Care (LCIC) is a new course from Grey Matter Learning set to start in the new year. Find out more, including details of available funding for each learner.

Grey Matter Learning has been approved to deliver the new Skills for Care Leadership course called Leading Change Improving Care (LCIC). They will begin providing this course in the new year. Due to limited availability, providers can contact them for pre-registration now. If you are interested in the course, please click here to contact Grey Matter Learning, or read on for further information – including available funding for each learner.

About the Course

The learning programme is grounded in the reality of social care delivery. LCIC takes a practical look at how to implement change in order to address challenges and service needs in social care. Leaders will discover the tools and techniques needed to drive change and ultimately improve the quality of care delivered.

The programme is delivered through five interactive modules covering the objectives below:

  • • Leading and managing the process of change within your team and organisation
  • • Facilitating change sensitively and building resilience for change
  • • Successful leadership skills and behaviours
  • • Managing hard to reach colleagues and those resistant to change to improve the performance of teams
  • • Coaching and development
  • • Improving personal effectiveness and time management
Funding Available!

You will be able to claim back £500 per learner on completion of Leading Change Improving Care through the Workforce Development Fund. The Grey Matter team can support you through the process.

Interested?

If you are interested in doing this programme with a Skills for Care “Centre of Excellence” endorsed provider who has won multiple awards, including ‘Best Social Care Course Training Company 2021’, then please click here.

New Updates on the Network Infrastructure Hub! 

Check out the latest updates to our infrastructure work on the Network Infrastructure Hub.

Check out the latest updates on the Network Infrastructure Programme, including upcoming Charitylog training dates and how the new ‘Innovation Hub’ is enabling partners to shape developments in the Salesforce solution. You can also find out about new options to collaborate and share project and ongoing costs for the Microsoft Dynamics Business Central 365 finance system – including the latest Partners to adopted it, plus your invitation to the TES Customer Day.

Reminder: Dementia Awareness eLearning Available

A quick reminder that there are three dementia awareness eLearning modules developed by Alzheimer’s Society available to the Age UK Network.

This is a quick reminder that there are three dementia awareness eLearning modules available to the Age UK Network. Whether you work directly with those living with dementia or not, we hope this eLearning will help to equip Age UK staff and volunteers with the skills and confidence to communicate with people with dementia, face to face and virtually. Find out all the details below:

The three eLearning modules are:
  • Understanding dementia
  • Engaging with people in the early stages of dementia
  • Responding to distressed behaviours
Who can complete the Dementia eLearning?

All modules are open to everyone, all staff, and volunteers. Every learner will receive a certificate upon completion.

How were these modules developed?

These new modules were developed by Alzheimer’s Society.

When should I complete the modules?

The Age UK network will have access to them for 1 year, so best to complete them sooner rather than later!

Please note, it may take up to one hour for the course to be marked as completed and for you to receive the certificate in your inbox. We thank you in advance for your patience.

How long is each module?

Each module takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. Once you start, you can save any progress and come back to it.

How do I access these modules?

If you already have an eLearning account, this course will automatically appear under the “learning” section of your dashboard in the eLearning site. You can access it straight away and no action is needed.

If you need to sign up, please complete this form.

Please note that registration to the e-learning site may take a few days. You will receive an email with your log in information once you have been registered.

What do I do once I am logged in?

If you cannot see the modules on your dashboard when you log in, you can find it either by:

  • Clicking onto ‘courses’ and then ‘Dementia eLearning’; or
  • Using the search bar on your home page by typing in ‘Age UK Dementia E-learning Programme’.

If you have any questions on access to the e-learning site, please contact: adviceunit@ageuk.org.uk

November Workshops: Building a Long Term Remote-Hybrid Working Strategy

Find out all the details of the latest Manage Remote Teams webinars on Building a Long Term Remote-Hybrid Strategy.

Manage Remote Teams is an organisation that helps charities to successfully embrace remote and hybrid working patterns. Following the continued take up from the Age UK Network, they have added 2 new dates for November – Thursday 11th and Tuesday 23rd. Please click here to sign up or read on for further information.

Charities everywhere are making inspired changes to the way they work, and positive shifts are well underway. With the right protocols and remote ethos in place, charities can continue to deliver their valuable services without compromise. At the same time, employees can benefit from a much-needed positive work-life balance. Manage Remote Teams consider remote and hybrid working to be an appropriate modus operandi for the 21st century, both because of – and in light of – a global pandemic.

Manage Remote Teams believe that the time has now come to draw a line in the sand and create a clear and well thought through remote/hybrid people strategy which makes long term sense. Their workshops are for charities who wish to embrace bold and sustainable change for this exciting and new working paradigm.

You’ll come away with:

  • Clarity around the business case for a viable remote and hybrid people strategy.
  • Insights on how other companies overcome obstacles.
  • Information about maintaining high and improved productivity, motivation.
  • An understanding of the connection between flexibility and staff retention.
  • Tips for building trust and loyalty in dispersed workers.
Who should attend?

Those who wish to:

  • Understand how a long term remote/hybrid people strategy would benefit their charity.
  • Confirm they are already on the right path
  • Hear what other charities are planning
  • Have some additional guidance

To find out all the details including how to book your FREE place, please click here.

Free One-to-one Sessions

In addition, Dermot Dennehy, CEO of Manage Remote Teams, holds a free one-to-one session with one CEO from any charity across the UK once a week. Dermot has now opened this up to the Age UK Network and it is on a first come first serve basis. The only stipulation is that this must be your first Manage Remote Teams workshop.

If you wish to secure your place in August, simply email Dermot and he will agree a date with you: Dermot@clickonic.co

October Finance Network Meeting – Places still available!

Book your place at the October Finance Network Meeting on Wednesday 20th October! Find out all about the meeting and the guest speakers here.


It’s now less than a week until the next Finance Network Meeting on October 20th from 11:00 – 12:30! The primary topic will be “Business Cases”. Helen Blundell and Jim Clifford, both from MHA McIntyre Hudson, will discuss the ‘What, Why, When, How, and for Whom’ of this simple but very important document. To book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk or david.chenery@ageuk.org.uk with: your name and role title; the name of the Brand Partner you are representing; and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent. You can also find out more about the meeting and both presenters below.

We tend to associate Business Cases with the purchase of a significant capital item, or the development of a substantial new initiative, but the need to produce a reasoned explanation to support the commitment of resources (people, time and money) to any proposed activity is nothing more than best practice and good governance. So when you plan to tender for a new service delivery contract, or to launch a new charged-for service, how do you justify sign-off if that is within your level of authority, or support a recommendation to the trustee board for approval, if it’s outside of your delegated authority?

Helen Blundell Biography

Helen leads the not for profit team in the Birmingham and Leicester offices of MHA MacIntyre Hudson, a Top 12 firm of chartered accountants and business advisors.  She has more than 20 years’ experience specialising in the sector advising a range of clients from small local bodies to large national and regional organisations. 

Her experience includes audit, independent examination, governance training as well advising on corporate structures and charity tax reliefs. Helen’s approach is a practical one of delivering solutions. Helen has first hand experience as a trustee, having served for 6 years as a trustee of Birmingham Cathedral.  She is passionate about making a difference through advising charities and not for profits.

Jim Clifford Biography

Jim leads Sonnet, a social enterprise, registered as a firm of chartered accountants, that brings together experts in finance, governance, corporate finance, economics and research.

Jim is a Chartered Accountant, social researcher and strategic consultant, specialising in helping organisations – charities and social enterprises, private and public sector – research and select the impact they want to deliver, develop the model for doing it, resource it, and measure and improve upon it.

He supports these at all stages of their lives, from inception through growth, through times of change and even insolvency.  He was awarded an OBE in 2013 for services to Social Investment. Experienced as a trustee and in charity management, he also teaches on the Bayes (formerly Cass) Charities and NGO Masters programmes, and has authored academic work, and the recent Demystifying Social Finance, as well as over 150 impact evaluation studies. 

Book your place

To book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk with: your name and role title; the name of the Brand Partner you are representing; and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent.

Free awareness talks from Bowel Cancer UK

Bowel Cancer UK host free online bowel cancer awareness talks, to help organisations to support those they work with. Find out how to book a presentation for your organisation.

Bowel Cancer UK provide free online bowel cancer awareness talks to workplaces and community groups across the UK. As 90+ percent of bowel cancers occur in those who are over 50 (yet are treatable and curable when caught early) the organisation would like to invite all members of the Age UK Network to book one of their 30-minute virtual presentations to highlight signs, symptoms, and risks for older people. Find out all about the talks, including how to book your place at a presentation, below.

Bowel cancer is currently the fourth most common cancer in England and the second biggest cancer killer. Over 34,000 people in England are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year, and over 13,500 people die annually from the disease.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way, as bowel cancer is treatable and curable, especially when caught early. That’s why Bowel Cancer UK are dedicated to raising awareness through our volunteer-led awareness talks.

What will be in the talk?

Our volunteers will deliver a 30-minute virtual presentation and highlight the following key awareness messages:

  • Signs and symptoms – learn the most common symptoms of bowel cancer
  • Risks – gain an awareness of the risk factors associated with bowel cancer
  • Bowel Screening – learn about the NHS bowel screening programme and the importance of taking part

Our volunteers will also be happy to answer any questions you might have. Very often, they have had personal experience of bowel cancer, and therefore have a great deal of knowledge and wisdom to share.

We really do rely on the support of workplaces and community groups to help us raise awareness of this common, yet curable, cancer.

October Finance Network Meeting – Book your place

Book your place at the October Finance Network Meeting on Wednesday 20th October! Find out all about the meeting and the guest speakers here.


The next Finance Network Meeting will take place on October 20th from 11:00 – 12:30 and the primary topic will be “Business Cases”. Helen Blundell and Jim Clifford, both from MHA McIntyre Hudson, will discuss the ‘What, Why, When, How, and for Whom’ of this simple but very important document. To book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk with: your name and role title; the name of the Brand Partner you are representing; and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent. You can also find out more about the meeting and both presenters below.

We tend to associate Business Cases with the purchase of a significant capital item, or the development of a substantial new initiative, but the need to produce a reasoned explanation to support the commitment of resources (people, time and money) to any proposed activity is nothing more than best practice and good governance. So when you plan to tender for a new service delivery contract, or to launch a new charged-for service, how do you justify sign-off if that is within your level of authority, or support a recommendation to the trustee board for approval, if it’s outside of your delegated authority?

Helen Blundell Biography

Helen leads the not for profit team in the Birmingham and Leicester offices of MHA MacIntyre Hudson, a Top 12 firm of chartered accountants and business advisors.  She has more than 20 years’ experience specialising in the sector advising a range of clients from small local bodies to large national and regional organisations. 

Her experience includes audit, independent examination, governance training as well advising on corporate structures and charity tax reliefs. Helen’s approach is a practical one of delivering solutions. Helen has first hand experience as a trustee, having served for 6 years as a trustee of Birmingham Cathedral.  She is passionate about making a difference through advising charities and not for profits.

Jim Clifford Biography

Jim leads Sonnet, a social enterprise, registered as a firm of chartered accountants, that brings together experts in finance, governance, corporate finance, economics and research.

Jim is a Chartered Accountant, social researcher and strategic consultant, specialising in helping organisations – charities and social enterprises, private and public sector – research and select the impact they want to deliver, develop the model for doing it, resource it, and measure and improve upon it.

He supports these at all stages of their lives, from inception through growth, through times of change and even insolvency.  He was awarded an OBE in 2013 for services to Social Investment. Experienced as a trustee and in charity management, he also teaches on the Bayes (formerly Cass) Charities and NGO Masters programmes, and has authored academic work, and the recent Demystifying Social Finance, as well as over 150 impact evaluation studies. 

Book your place

To book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk with: your name and role title; the name of the Brand Partner you are representing; and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent.

Finance Network Meetings – Programme into the Winter 2021-22

David Chenery from Age UK’s Financial Governance Team has published their planned schedule for the next four Financial Network Meetings, so that you can save the dates in advance.

Since January 2021, the Financial Governance team has been arranging virtual monthly Finance Network meetings for key people within Brand Partners – CEOs and members of their Senior Management Teams; Chairs, Treasurers and other interested trustees. Attendance has exceeded our initial expectations – we’ve consistently had over 100 attendees register for these meetings – and feedback has been extremely positive. It would appear that these meetings are addressing a need for information, help and guidance, from across the entire network. Read on to view the schedule for the upcoming Finance Network Meetings across the next few months.

So far, we have covered Cashflow Forecasting and budgeting, Reserves management, Full Cost Recovery, revised Audit requirements (Going Concern assessments) and VAT, along with some more generalised discussions about Building Back Better from the ravages of the pandemic.

When it came to planning for the coming months (October through to January), we wanted to really hone in on the issues which are likely to be of help to the majority of Partners who, we anticipate, will be developing plans for 2022-23 and beyond, and also thinking about changes to their business models – perhaps introducing new services, or scaling up existing ones to meet increasing demand. I’m confident that what we’ve put together will be of interest to all.

October 20th – “Business Cases”

The subject will be ‘Business Cases’, when Helen Blundell and Jim Clifford, both from MHA McIntyre Hudson, will discuss the ‘What, Why, When, How, and for Whom’ of this simple but important document.

We tend to associate Business Cases with the purchase of a significant capital item, or the development of a substantial new initiative. However, the need to produce a reasoned explanation to support the commitment of resources (people, time and money) to any proposed activity is nothing more than best practice and good governance. So, when you plan to tender for a new service delivery contract, or to launch a new charged-for service, how do you justify sign-off if that is within your level of authority, or support a recommendation to the trustee board for approval, if it’s outside of your delegated authority? Helen and Jim will look at trustees’ responsibilities here, as well as the decision-making which needs to happen, and the information which should be considered and presented.

November 24th – “Making Difficult Decisions”

David Brown, a volunteer consultant with Cranfield Trust, will present on ‘Making Difficult Decisions’ and I’m really excited by this one! He’ll be exploring the options for SMTs and trustees to consider when faced with a significant deficit budget forecast which, if forecasts for 2022-23 already provided to us by Partners are correct, is likely to be the case for most of the network. As an aside, we’re forecasting a network-wide surplus of around £14m for 2020-21, but the current year (2021-22) could see an adverse swing of £24m to a network deficit of £10m, with 2022-23 not likely to fare any better at the moment.

Many people see just three possible options for a deficit budget: 1) add more income to the forecast – usually a Fundraising line; 2) cut costs – usually staff costs, given that they are the major proportion of the outgoings for a Partner; or 3), do nothing, in the hope that something will turn up – the Micawber approach. David will suggest that there are other ways of addressing this issue and I think we’ll be in for a very interesting session.

December 15th – “Charity Legal Structures”

Nick Vaughan, another Cranfield consultant, will talk about Charity Legal Structures which sounds a bit dry, but it’s important to have a clear understanding of legal and good governance issues surrounding the use of subsidiary trading companies to deliver services / activities.  Issues like non-primary purpose trading, and consideration of a subsidiary’s use for primary purpose trading as well; Risk considerations – the avoidance of risk to charity assets; Independent governance (not all the charity trustees are directors of the subsidiary, and vice versa); Financing aspects – start-up funding; working capital; investment / loans (from the parent charity); Shared premises / staff / facilities – cross-charging / management charges.

If Partners are thinking about a changed business model, this could be a very timely session.

January 19th 2022 – “Guidance for CEOs”

In January, we’ll be giving the focus of attention to CEOs rather than to Finance personnel. Nick Wilkie, our presenter, has an impressive CV.  He has been chief executive of the National Childbirth Trust and London Youth, and UK director at Save the Children. He has also served on the boards of a number of charitable and public institutions and as a policy advisor to the Cabinet Office, HM Treasury and Number 10.

He will be talking around the following points to which every CEO ought to be alive:

  • Making sure everyone in the organisation (or at least in the SMT) knows where true north is, for the organisation
  • Knowing who the beneficiaries really are
  • Reserves – understanding what they are there for
  • In cutting out cost, do you want to salami-slice or cut off a limb?
  • Really understanding the Balance Sheet.

Again, I anticipate a well-subscribed meeting for January!

So I hope that there will be something here for everyone – CEOs, FDs, Chairs and Treasurers, and other trustees. Please note the dates in your diaries and watch out for further details and registration details for each meeting as we progress into the winter.

David Chenery – david.chenery@ageuk.org.uk
National Manager – Financial Governance, Age UK

Information & Advice Quality Programme – common areas identified for improvement

Age UK’s Quality & Transformation Team have identified some common areas for improvement across the advice sector. Find the most recent trends below.

Age UK’s Quality & Transformation Team regularly review areas of compliance with the I&A Quality benchmarks, so that we can share learning across the network. We have found that the most common areas identified for improvement are similar to those identified across the independent advice sector as a whole and are important elements of quality assurance. Read on to view the most recent trends.

Most common areas of non-compliance for Quality of Advice

  • Lack of sufficient relevant information gathered to give correct advice
  • Insufficient advice recorded or incomplete advice given e.g. no means-tested benefits check when disability benefits awarded
  • Limited use of Factsheets and Information Guides to back up advice given
What can be done to avoid these?

Training in case-recording and/or the key Age UK topic areas of benefits and community care can help ensure your clients are getting the correct advice – further details can be found on the loop here.

Most common areas of non-compliance for Service Management

  1. Data Protection / Client confidentiality e.g. lack of consent or secure storage of client data
  2. Not recording sufficient client details for information enquiries (leading to under- reporting of work, clients needing to repeat their story on returning)
  3. Lack of Technical Supervision of advisors (usually of the Manager), including regular file checking to ensure accurate advice is given
  4. Lack of planning for a sustainable service
What can be done to avoid these?
  1. Ensure you have evidence of the clients’ consent to process their data, including to store it, share it with third parties, and share it with Age UK for quality audit. Ensure you record and date consent on the client record.

Please Note: legitimate interests as a basis for processing the data should not be used for special category data (i.e. personal sensitive data e.g. health, politics, ethnicity, religion). The ICO sets a higher bar for the way this data is handled, as it could create a higher risk of, for instance, unlawful discrimination. Consent is the best way to treat this type of data, as it is most transparent and simple.

The GDPR Toolkit on the loop can be found here.

  1. Ensure all staff providing I&A are aware of your procedures for recording information enquiries. This helps ensure the client does not have to keep repeating their “story”, and ensures you are not under-recording your work and reach. Enquiries should not routinely be recorded as “Anonymous” – only if consent is not given, or for very simple enquiries.
  2. Ensure you have procedures for both regularly checking the accuracy of advice and that your case management procedures are being followed, as well as the more in depth file reviews (IFRs) carried out less frequently. Ensure these include the advice carried out by the Supervisor or Manager). This is even more important when staff are working remotely or from home.
  3. Ensure the current year 12 month plan and budget is regularly reviewed. A short outline plan for the following 2 years is needed – it does not need to be in detail but should include an outline plan for a sustainable service.

September Finance Network Meeting – Places still available

There are places still available at the next September Finance Network Meeting September 22nd from 11:00-12:30.


Places are still available for the next Finance Network Meeting on September 22nd from 11:00 – 12:30. The primary topic will be “SORP – what are the current requirements which all charities should be meeting?“. Unfortunately we are unable to use Eventbrite for this meeting, so to book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email David.Chenery@ageuk.org.uk or John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk with: your name and role title; the name of the Brand Partner you are representing; and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent. You can also find out more about the meeting below.

This latest Finance Network Meeting will include a reminder of the recent changes to the Going Concern assessment (ISA 570) and also a short explanation of the main differences between Charity accounting and ‘For Profit’ accounting as practised in the commercial world.

Some of you may remember that Richard Bowen, from Crowe, presented on this subject at a Finance Network meeting back in July 2019, when he covered Accounts preparation and Trustees’ annual reports preparation (That was when we were meeting in London, in a face-to-face setting which seems a lifetime ago now!). We received very positive feedback following Richard’s presentation and given the much-changed environment in which we must now report, felt that an update, to take in a reminder about changes to the Going Concern assessment, would be helpful. We also recognise that there have been quite a few new CEOs, Finance Directors and Managers, and Trustees, joining local Age UKs in the intervening period.

Presentation from Naziar Hashemi

This meeting, which will again be open to all relevant management and staff in Local Age UKs, and trustees, will be presented by Naziar Hashemi, Partner, National Head of Social Purpose & Non Profit Organisations, Crowe LLP.

Naziar joined Crowe in September 2008 from a Big Four Firm as a specialist non profits partner. In addition to providing assurance services Naziar also provides advisory services to a range of charities. These include assignments from risk and finance function reviews, systems, benchmarking and performance measurements and governance reviews.

Naziar leads Crowe’s work on Donor Audits and has knowledge of institutional funding requirements having produced reports for a variety of institutional and governmental donors. She also carries out training for charities and lectures and writes on a range of topics relevant to Trustees and management.

Book your place

To book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email David.Chenery@ageuk.org.uk or John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk with your name and role title, the name of the Brand Partner you are representing and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent.