Fee Paying Schools Lose Business Rates Relief In Scotland

scotparlThe Scottish National Party Budget 2017 has removed business rates relief from Scotland’s (fee-paying) independent schools.

Currently, charities are awarded an 80 per cent mandatory relief on business rates, with an optional 20 per cent at the discretion of the local authority.

Derek Mackay, the Finance Minister, announced the change in the wake of a government review which said private schools should no longer benefit from reduced rates bills as charities.

The Barclay Report on Business Rates, said it was “unfair” that independent schools, unlike state schools, benefited from business rates relief due to their charitable status.

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Dogs Trust

dogs trust tempDogs Trust are the UK’s biggest rehomer of stray and abandoned dogs.

Full Annual Accounts for 2014 are readily available on the Charity Commission Website here.

The Dogs Trust do great work. But do they bully some of their staff? Read on and decide for yourself.

Dogs Trust Annual Accounts 2014 –Highlights

Annual Income = £84,743,000

Staff who earn £60,000 or more:

5 employee’s earn £60,001 to £70,000

1 employee earns £70,001 to £80,000

2 employee’s earn £80,001 to £90,000

4 employee’s earn £90,001 to £100,000

2 employee’s earn £120,001 to £130,000

1 employee earns £130,001 to £140,000

£165,000 was paid into pension schemes for these employees.

Member Of Staff Attacked

A member of staff was attacked one evening at Dogs Trusts Loughborough Centre when they entered a kennel to feed one of the dogs. They were completely on their own and had no protection other than a radio which they couldn’t get to, the dog was a Central Asian Ovcharka.

With only three other members of staff working that night, who were in completely different parts of the centre, nobody was even aware what was happening. The victim later described the attack to their Head Office as “absolutely terrifying, knowing you are on your own, completely vulnerable and know no help is coming”. The dog being the breed that it was meant they stood no chance.

Like many other staff they had received no Health and Safety training. They were also meant to receive training before being allowed with the dogs however they were in with the dog’s right from their first shift the first training they ever had was four months later. Their total training until they were attacked 16 months after they had begun working was around 30 minutes and never involved any actual dogs. No manager ever came out in that time to see how they were with the dogs, not even at their interview.

Luckily the member of staff having worked with dogs previously and having had very good training elsewhere managed to remain calm whilst being attacked and avoided giving the dog eye contact which was the only thing that saved them. They were then taken to hospital suffering with deep puncture wounds.

When they eventually returned to work they found out that Dogs Trust had already had huge concerns about this particular dog before they were attacked. The Head Behaviourist for the whole charity had assessed the dog as dangerous believing it had been used for fighting and were concerned it could cause a lot of damage to someone and had considered it to be unrehomeable then and at any point in the future.

Dogs Trust had decided NOT to share this information with staff.

Later they were told staff are never meant to see those kind of assessments.

They also found out the dog had actually tried to attack a colleague the day before they were attacked, again they had not been told.

Having spoken to a senior member of staff who informed them they were given several months of support following an accident at another Dogs Trust Centre the staff member told their Centre this, however the same was not given to them. They were given the equivalent of 3 days support where they had other members of staff walk dogs with them so they were not completely on their own before they were expected to be back doing their normal role again on their own.

Safety Concerns

Months’ later many staff were becoming increasingly concerned for their safety with accidents frequently happening but didn’t dare say anything. Staff at this time were unknowingly working with dogs that had been involved in near misses and accidents and were still not being told.

Not wanting anyone else to ever go through what they had they approached their Centre and raised safety concerns. After raising concerns they reported to their Head Office they were being intimidated and bullied.

They reported information was being said about them AFTER they raised concerns that was untrue and was being used as reasons why they shouldn’t be working for Dogs Trust anymore.

Such as:

They refused to go down to the kennels.

They had frozen in one of the managers offices and were completely unresponsive for 10 minutes.

(There was not one witness to either of these claims).

Under the Data Protection Act they also found out the following had been said and were then able to prove that they were completely untrue:

They had been bitten whilst working for a different charity and had suffered Post Traumatic Stress as a result (this never happened).

They had no recollection of the return to work interview following their accident (they were able to completely recall everything about the interview).

Their accident had also being downplayed so it read that they had just been bit and it was completely unexpected and was something that happens all the time at rescue centres.

This was said after the dog had been put to sleep by Dogs Trust (who have a non-destruct policy) on grounds of “Staff Safety due to the severity of the attack”.

Having legally being advised to obtain a copy of their RIDDOR report they discovered Dogs Trust had never legally reported the accident, four different excuses were given to them as to why this mistake had happened by different members of Head Office.


After raising safety concerns and reporting they were being bullied they were asked to attend a meeting to discuss their possible dismissal.

They asked their colleagues for help and staff gave witness statements saying they were afraid to help for fear of repercussions from management and for fear of losing their jobs.

In the two years they had been at Dogs Trust they had always had good reports, never been late, never had any time off sick other than for physical injuries and had got on well with every single member of staff that worked there.

Despite following protocol and having done nothing wrong nearly a year after they were attacked they were dismissed from Dogs Trust by the person responsible for the Health and Safety of the whole charity.

If you have a story about The Dogs Trust let us know.

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Scotia Aid Sierra Leone

scotia aid sierra leone logoYet another £1 MILLION charity is being probed after The Sunday Post revealed it pays only a fraction of its income to the impoverished people it claims to help.

Scotia Aid Sierra Leone, based in Uddingston Scotland, hands over just 13p of every £1 raised to good causes. Despite bringing in more than £1m last year, just £137,000 was donated to the needy.

Three bosses paid themselves £313,000 from the charity’s coffers, using shell companies to minimise their tax bill.

Local authorities in the areas where funds have been raised are hopeful that the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) will take action. However we are not expecting any action from them as they , like the Charity Commission in England and Wales, are not fit for purpose.

Indeed we are gathering evidence on a story about OSCR being told about corrupt dealings at a charity. When OSCR investigated they found nothing wrong! Upon review by another investigator it was confirmed that there was indeed something to be investigated. Very soon thereafter the second investigator was removed from the investigation and the review was carried out (against all principles of natural justice) by the original investigator, who again found nothing wrong!

You couldn’t make it up and you will see why Scotia Aid Sierra Leone will not be quaking in their boots at the thought of an investigation by OSCR.

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We’re back

nhslogo1After a period of illness we are back. Thank goodness for the NHS – what’s left of it. There can be no doubt that this present government are out to privatise the NHS. Free quality health care may soon be a thing of the past.

While we’ve been away it looks like nothing has changed in the corrupt and unethical world of charityville.

Enquiries into vulnerable people feeling so pressured into making donations to charities that some have committed suicide. Enquiries into charity staff being paid massive salaries and expenses. What do people expect – they are big businesses.

If you feel the urge to give to charity and want to know your money will be well spent then donate to a local hospice. They really do fantastic work.

Now where were we …


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Charity Commission Statement: charities funding CAGE

charitycommission-logoThe Charity Commission has released a statement regarding the funding of CAGE. They have announced that The Roddick Foundation and The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust have ceased funding CAGE and will not be doing so in future.

Read the full statement here.

If you missed the controversy surrounding the funding of CAGE read this.

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Top 10 Charities (Income)

loadsamoneyWe’ve argued often that some charities are so large that they should be treated  as businesses. The annual income of the top ten charities is astonishing.

The list below represents the top 10 charities by income.

Number Charity name Total income £000

Source: Charity Commission

See this previous post for top ten charity earners here.


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The Future of Charity Regulation

Good article and debate in The Guardian newspaper around the issue of charity regulation. Read it here.

What is the future of charity regulation? Is it a paid-for model? What should the role of the commission be? In order to cast some light on the issue, they held a live Q&A with sector experts.

The article contains some good links to further information.

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