Dynamic, thought-leading business owners are failing to include a business lasting power of attorney in their crisis management preparations, a leading solicitor has claimed.

Posted by Claire Currie

Mon 05th, Aug

Dynamic, thought-leading business owners are failing to include a business lasting power of attorney in their crisis management preparations, a leading solicitor has claimed.


Claire Currie, head of the Private Client department at Kirwans law firm, said she has been alarmed to discover a lack of awareness among the region’s business community around the importance of making a business LPA (BLPA) to ensure their firm could continue to operate if a significant decision maker was to become incapacitated.


Financial LPAs have long been recognised as vitally important for those with any kind of asset, while health LPAs are equally as crucial in order that an individual’s wishes in relation to their health and potential medical treatment are recognised.


However, Claire said that little attention has so far been paid to this important part of business planning – appointing a lasting power of attorney to ensure the continued smooth running of the business should a problem arise that the business owner is unable to deal with.


She said: “In my role as partner and head of Private Client, I spend a lot of time talking to business leaders in the region and I have been genuinely concerned at the amount of people who say they have crisis management plans in place but have not included a BLPA in those plans.


“Without a BLPA, a huge amount of risks arise. Say, for example, one of the bank account signatories suddenly becomes incapacitated. The bank would freeze the account in order, meaning that invoices would go unpaid and even wages would be stopped. Paying tax bills could be a problem too, causing potentially long-lasting effects on the business’s credit record that may take some time to sort out.


“Even contracts signed by the person could suddenly become worthless, due to their lack of capacity.


“There would be no overnight resolution to these issues either; instead, an application would have to be made to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy; a process that could take many months.”


Claire explained that business owners need to invest in an LPA that specifically concentrates on the business so that a suitable person could take over the running of it and implement pre-agreed plans that would be in the best interests of the firm.


It isn’t just company directors who need to safeguard their business in this way; sole traders are also at high risk of business problems and complications should they become incapacitated, and Claire advises that they too consider appointing a BLPA.


“Should the worst happen and a sole trader finds themselves unable to look after their business affairs, invoices and tax will still need to be paid in order to avoid problems,” she said.


“Many sole traders are the only people who understand what is happening in their business at any one time, and if they are removed from the equation the whole business could go to the wall.


“The best way to avoid these worst-case scenarios is to prepare for the worse – and then to hope it never happens.”

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Start-ups and SMEs looking for sources of funding need to think carefully before signing personal guarantees, according to a leading corporate lawyer

Posted by James Pressley

Associate Solicitor, Kirwans

Wed 31st, Jul

Start-ups and SMEs looking for sources of funding need to think carefully before signing personal guarantees, according to a leading corporate lawyer.

James Pressley, Corporate and Commercial solicitor from Kirwans law firm, said that many business owners looking to give their company or start-up a financial boost to help deal with the uncertainty around Brexit may be tempted to take on personal guarantees without properly assessing the risk, or whether an alternative funding source might be available.


While personal guarantees can act as a lifeline for obtaining finance, they can result in business owners being pursued through the courts for unpaid debts, should their businesses meet the same fate as that of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants Jamie’s Italian, which lost branches in cities including Liverpool and Manchester in May.

Jamie Oliver is reported to have signed personal guarantees to the bank HSBC and food supplier Brakes, putting his own fortune at risk.

James said: “Personal guarantees are often wrongly portrayed as being the road to financial destruction, but this isn’t necessarily the case.

“Whether they are right for an SME or not depends on the circumstances of each individual business. For some they allow the opportunity to accumulate much-needed supplies or finances at a crucial stage in the business that will ultimately result in financial growth, while for others it could be that different forms of finance would be far more suitable.”

Perhaps surprisingly, given the part it plays in keeping some businesses afloat, research has shown that more than half (55 per cent) of SME business owners don’t actually know what a personal guarantee is.

In fact, according to research by SME loan provider Wirefund, 21 per cent of SME business owners believes it only means that business owners would pay money back on time to the best of their ability.

Furthermore, nearly two thirds (61 per cent) have no idea that personal assets can be clawed back if they default on the loan, believing that only business assets would be affected.

Here James looks at the key points SMEs should consider when thinking about signing a personal guarantee:

1)  Personal Guarantees allow lenders to call on your personal assets if you can’t pay back your business loan (plus interest!)

Your personal assets don’t tend to stop at your watch, jewellery or car; we’re also talking about your home and life savings too. When it comes to personal guarantees, anything you own is up for grabs. If you die with a personal guarantee in place, the lender can even take action to recover money and assets from your estate.

2)  You may be able to negotiate the amount of the loan that must be guaranteed

There is often an assumption that the lender will want the entire loan to be guaranteed, but that’s not always the case. Ask whether they would be open to you reducing the amount that is guaranteed on a capped liability basis. Alternatively, the personal guarantee could be unlimited, meaning that the lender is guaranteed that they will recover the total amount of their debt, including any legal fees, from you. It is important to note that you will always be liable for interest and the lender’s recovery costs as well, even if you have agreed a cap on liability.

3) One in five companies fold in the first year  

If your business is a new start-up, is there a risk that it could be one of them? Risk assess everything to ensure you’re prepared for if things go wrong. A personal guarantee may be an appropriate risk if your business is stable and you have a plan for expansion, but it is unlikely to be appropriate if your business is struggling and you are juggling debt.

4) Personal Guarantee Insurance is now available

A new type of insurance which protects your personal assets should you default on the loan is now available, and is based on what percentage of the Personal Guarantee the owner wants to secure. There are some caveats, however, so be sure to discuss with your insurance broker before going ahead with an agreement.

5) Find out what constitutes a default

At what point will the lender invoke action against you, and what will that action involve? Will they issue a statutory demand which will allow you 21 days to pay up or agree on a new deadline? It is crucial to determine in advance exactly how the situation could look for you should you default on the loan. It is important to remember that, under most personal guarantees, the lender can just proceed directly against you and does not need to take legal action against your business first.

6)  You’ll still have to settle if the business becomes insolvent – even if you’re a limited company

 This is what the personal liability aspect is all about – reassuring your lender that, even in cases of insolvency, they’ll still be able to recover the debt. So, you won’t benefit from the security usually offered by administration; the word ‘personal’ in guarantees makes it clear that the directors’ own assets will become vulnerable.

7)   Find out what the process of enforcing the debt will be

There are a number of ways that the lender can enforce the guarantee, whether through a County Court or High Court Judgement, a Warrant of Execution which bailiffs will deliver, or a Charging Order. Once a charging order has been made, your creditor can apply to the court for an order for sale, to force you to sell your home. Discuss this with the lender so that you understand what exactly is at risk.

8)    Check with a solicitor before signing on the dotted line

As with all contracts, the detail with personal guarantees is in the small print. Make sure a solicitor experienced in dealing with this form of lending checks over the document before you sign to ensure there are no nasty surprises hidden within the wording

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John Drysdale, Managing Director at No Guru ltd

Posted by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Wed 31st, Jul

Introduce yourself – name, where do you sit in the business, and what does the business do?

John Drysdale, Managing Director at No Guru ltd.  We are a learning and development provider based in the wonderful Cotton Exchange in the heart of Liverpool’s Business District.

What changes would you like to see to improve or develop your sector?

A couple of things, one would be to stop viewing training as something that is always funded externally.  While I think that some of the funding initiatives have very much helped businesses in our region, it has also led to some poor quality training provision and to short term rather than sustainable benefits for the business.

Secondly, that leadership and skills such as coaching and mentoring are seen as having the undoubted value they have. I know from experience how developing leadership has transformed SMEs in our region, creating business growth.

What does a typical working day look like?

I am still actively involved in delivery so mid week I generally deliver workshops, seminars and courses.  I am back in the saddle with my running again, so ideally start with a run and space to think about the day ahead.  Then getting to the venue I usually run through my approach – I sometimes rehearse in the car what I am going to say and get the voice warmed up.  I like getting there early - my top tip is get there very early, get the tech working and run through any visuals you are using and set the room up to be a brilliant working environment.  I love feeding off the audience, stimulating discussion and using humour appropriately.  I work a lot in Universities with some really clever people so you have to be on your game. I like to think I give it my all which means after this, I generally catch up emails before recharging the batteries  for the next day.  I like to be in Liverpool at the start and end of the week and I’m heavily involved with networking and helping others generate referrals as well as hopefully picking up new clients for ourselves.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

To find out what you love doing much earlier.  I grew up thinking I was bang average at most things and settled for a lot of average jobs in which I excelled at being average. Landing on my feet one day, I was given the role as ‘trainer’ and immediately realised I was good at getting information across to people. I never looked back in my career and now my mission is to help people to ‘not settle for average’ in their working lives and beyond.

Where would we find you on your day off?

I enjoy running and the outdoors when I get the chance. My big passion is music, I am a musician (playing sax and guitar) and I enjoy all aspects of music and going to concerts with my wife Fiona – we are lucky as have similar tastes (mostly).

What is the best advice you have been given in your career?

A few years ago I felt a bit stuck in my own business and enrolled on the Asentiv programme in Liverpool.  One of the key things I learned was in being really specific about the target market you want to work in.  I work mainly with higher education people and I can describe precisely the sort of client I enjoy working with and who like what I do. It has changed my whole approach and the work with universities increased dramatically. I became a coach for Asentiv too as a result of the learning I received.

Who is your role model in business?

I suppose someone like Julian Richer of Richer Sounds. ‘Hi-Fi’ is such an old fashioned term these days but those of us who appreciated proper sound systems spent many happy hours in his stores buying kit to make lovely sounds. He has a reputation for his motivational style of management and recently transferred 60% of his shares into a trust giving employees control of the company (as well as cash).  Now that’s motivational!

Why choose Liverpool City Region?

I think it is an easy to place to make connections or rather, the right sort of connections to help your business.  It does have a vibrancy about it and working in the business district especially gives you a sense of that.  I find people really receptive to having a coffee and a chat and its great having local support networks, such as the Chamber, on hand to help your business.

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Mike Buxton of Mitchell Charlesworth looks at the challenges facing law firms

Posted by Mitchell Charlesworth

Mon 29th, Jul

In the first of a series of blogs, Mitchell Charlesworth partner, Mike Buxton, looks at the impact of Brexit on the legal sector.

Brexit has been looming over us for almost 3 years now and latest reports say that a no deal could cut the UK’s growth by half. That will inevitably have an impact on almost all businesses, including those in the legal sector.

There is a large risk of economic downturn once we move into the Brexit negotiation phase, but I am already aware of a number of companies that are putting their business growth strategies on hold due to Brexit, whether this be investing in new premises, acquiring new businesses or agreeing new supply contracts. Without doubt, this must already be impacting on the professionals dealing with these transactions such as law firms and, in turn, the fees generated from completing this work.

Brexit is such a moving feast that it has been difficult for businesses across all sectors to navigate and predict the new landscape and uncertainty remains a key issue at present.

Brexit will bring the biggest ever change to the UK’s legal framework, and it presents both opportunities and risks for the legal sector. Potential changes to legislation may mean that some areas of law are completely transformed, for example, employment, competition and intellectual property law are closely linked to that of the EU. Lawyers active in areas like trade, foreign investment, property and finance will also be affected. It is also unclear whether UK trained lawyers can still work in the EU and vice versa, following Brexit.

While it is difficult to prepare for the unknown, law firms need to be nimble enough to react to any impact and then be ready to exploit any opportunities that come their way. Once we begin to see adjustments to the laws and regulations affecting businesses, lawyers’ skills and knowledge will be in demand as business owners seek their advice on the changes.

If you would like to discuss the impact of Brexit on your practice, please contact Mike Buxton on 0151 255 2300 or email mike.buxton@mitchellcharlesworth.co.uk

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Whilst we have all been enjoying the recent heatwave, our computer equipment definitely has not

Posted by The PC Support Group

Mon 29th, Jul

When switched on, our computers’ internal components generate heat, so if they are exposed to additional heat, it can cause major problems.  For example, the hard drive can expand in heat and consequently fail which could result in you losing your files.

Here are our top tips to keep you and your equipment working safely:

     1.Avoid direct sunlight

If your computer is near a window, make sure it is not in the direct sunlight otherwise it could overheat and even become dangerously hot to touch. 

Consider closing a blind and opening a window or if either if these are not possible move to another part of the room that is not in direct sunlight.

     2. Think cool temperature

Make sure any place or room with equipment in is below 23 degrees centigrade. An airconditioned office is obviously best for maintaining a reasonable temperature but failing that get a fan to blow air onto the computer

Equally, if you have to leave your laptop or equipment in a car, make sure they are switched off and in a shaded place, preferably the coolest place within your vehicle.

     3.Equipment positioning

Make sure your computers and other computer equipment have access to an airflow/ventilation to keep them as cool as possible and, try not to put devices too close together. Servers in particular need to be kept cool so a small unventilated cupboard is the worst place for them in hot weather.

Also, laptops typically have fans underneath, so try to avoid having your laptop on your knee, better to have it on a flat surface.  If you can hear the fan constantly, it’s a sign of potential overheating.

     4. Unplug equipment that doesn’t need to be on

Make sure you unplug unneeded equipment to stop unnecessary heat from circulating.  If equipment is plugged in and switched on, it is generating heat.  Likewise, once your equipment is fully charged, remove the charger which can also overheat.

     5. Consider a move to the cloud

A move to the cloud means less physical equipment in your office or wherever you work which means less hassle for you.  Instead any equipment is looked after externally in a professional and well-equipped environment, that would take all of the above into consideration.

If you would like to find out more about IT and telephony support that we provide at The PC Support Group, please get in touch on 03300 886 116 or email us on info@pcsupportgroup.com if you would like to subscribe to our useful bi-monthly IT emails for SMEs.



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Posted by Debra Allcock

chief Executive, DSC

Mon 29th, Jul

If you ever said 'they're all the same', you are a reason you don't get the politicians you want.

If you ever said ‘they’re all the same’, you are a reason you don’t get the politicians you want. If you have been rude about a politician on social media, you are a reason you don’t get the politicians you want.

Well, I managed, through some miraculous (and, frankly, unfamiliar) feats of incredible self-control to navigate my way through the Christmas period without falling out with anyone about Brexit or politics. We have opposing and strongly held views, so it’s not always easy – but it works when we remember there’s a person behind the politics.

But folk are strange aren’t they? They complain that politicians are out of touch with real people, yet have a massive hissy fit if one lives in social housing.

They despise the “elite”, whom they accuse of not understanding the general public, yet vote for those very same people.

They say they want politicians to concentrate on running the country, yet object vociferously to salaries that in theory free MPs from worrying about the bills when they should be worrying about the state of the nation.

They accuse MPs of having big egos yet expect them to be immune to any and all personal attacks.

I have met quite a few MPs. Some I have found to be arrogant and dismissive of opposing views.

They’re the exception. Most of them I’ve experienced as hard-working, decent people trying to serve all their constituents, not just the ones who voted for them. They’re not all vying for power. Many of them just want to do a good job for citizens and country.

It seems to me that to stand as a public officer (MP or local councillor) takes an enormous amount of courage. They are vilified on mainstream and social media; their families are treated as fair game; they are subjected to breathtakingly shocking, horrendous personal attacks, especially if they are from a BAME background or a woman or gay, or hold a position contrary to yours.

If you stand for public office, you seem instantly to become a figure of hate simply because you have the letters “MP’” or “Cllr” attached to your name.

If you have ever said “they’re all the same”, then you are a reason you don’t get the politicians you want. If you have ever been personally rude about a politician on social media, then you are a reason you don’t get the politicians you want. If you have ever muttered “well they weren’t forced to be a politician, so they shouldn’t complain about being personally attacked”, then you are a reason you don’t get the politicians you want. And if you have ever said “they’re all in it for themselves”, then you are a reason you don’t get the politicians you want.

Of course, there is no denying that there are other problems with the way we get the politicians we get, such as the huge costs of running for office, but if you’re one of those people who think it’s ok to make ad hominem attacks on politicians, then you’re a powerful reason why lots of really good people are never going to stand for public office.

By all means criticise the policies, the positions, the politics. Vociferously. With passion. But lay off the personal attacks. Remember, there’s a person behind the politics.

This article was first published on the Third Sector website

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One characteristic that successful businesspeople display time and time again is the ability to see opportunities where others only see problems...

Posted by The PC Support Group

Mon 29th, Jul

One characteristic that successful businesspeople display time and time again is the ability to see opportunities where others only see problems.  And, the “Great BT PSTN/ISDN Switch Off” has got OPPORTUNITY written all over it!

So, what exactly is this big switch off and why should you be taking action sooner rather than later? Well, this is the process where PSTN (the traditional public switched telephone network) and ISDN lines will finally be switched off and everyone will move to cloud-based telephony or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).  And in case you were unaware the first stage of the process begins in just six-months’ time.

But the thing is, why wait? Because even without this move by BT, the advantages of VoIP telephony are so game-changing for SMEs that it’s a no-brainer! VoIP allows you to make voice (and potentially video) calls anywhere in the world, from any device – all you need is an internet connection.

It will transform your business communications. With VoIP you’ll get:

  • substantial reductions – up to 70% – in business phone line and contract bills
  • next generation technology that’s simple to transition to and easy to use and maintain
  • flexibility to use your own devices, keep the same number across all devices, add and remove users at speed
  • access to the latest versions, updates and mobile working features
  • integration with your other business systems
  • a great phone system to boost productivity, agility and customer service - without ANY capital investment.

The process is simple too. The only things you need to do is check your current contract (don’t accidentally fall into long renewal) and then find a qualified supplier with VoIP experience.  We would strongly recommend one that doesn’t tie you in for any length of time, so you can easily change if your provider doesn’t deliver the service you need.

We know there are people who are still nervous about making the move – and we understand because our traditional phone lines have been so familiar to us for generations – so let us help you TODAY.  Here, at The PC Support Group, we look after many of our clients’ combined IT and telephony needs - using a single, trusted supplier will make life easier for you and is more likely to identify more opportunities to take full advantage of VoIP and save more money in the process.

So, if your business is still using the old ISDN lines or if you have already moved to VoIP but are not happy with the service you are receiving then why not email our team on info@pcsupportgroup.com or call them on 03300 886116 for an informal and confidential chat on making the switch to VoIP sooner rather than later.

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Posted by Debra Allcock

chief Executive, DSC

Sat 27th, Jul

The pain a chilli caused me reminded me that we need the milk of human kindness to restore some sanity.

I had a very unfortunate encounter with a chilli recently. Stupidly, I rubbed my eyes after chopping one. I was in agony!

My eyes were burning like the very furies in hell! I staggered about blindly, screaming “My eyes! My eyes!”, closely followed by my chap carrying a pan of milk, trying not to laugh and yelling: “Alkali, Debs! Alkali!”

He finally managed to bathe my eyes with the milk. I looked one hell of a sight with bright red bloodshot eyes and a face covered in milk and running mascara. But thankfully it worked and I regained enough vision to glare furiously at Andy for having the temerity to find my predicament funny.

It feels to me a bit like our country has accidentally rubbed chilli in its eyes and is running about screaming blindly, only it’s not remotely funny.

My problem was basic hygiene. I didn’t wash my hands properly. Is that what’s happened to our nation?

Is that why we’re in pain and cannot see? Have we forgotten the basic hygiene of good citizenship? Good manners? Listening? Understanding that others don’t see things the way we do?

Recognising that those of us who are comfortable in our lives are not representative of the whole? Noticing those crying out that they’re not being seen.

I’m a trustee of In Kind Direct, a charity that redistributes excess or unwanted stock to other charities.

At a recent board meeting we had a visit from the Oasis Partnership. Its representatives told us that the quality of the goods we give it to distribute to its community demonstrates to those it serves that they are respected, and the effect of that is to infer a sense of dignity.

They told us how treating someone as being worthy of nice things has an effect so profound it is hard to quantify. Oasis gives its folk the shea butter loo roll, the branded trainers, the posh pram. It believes that people who feel respected and who are treated with dignity are more likely to behave that way to others. And it’s right.

If only more of our politicians would emulate the Oasis Partnership’s standards of behaviour: behaving with dignity; treating others with respect.

Instead, we witness rudeness and condescension to those who see things differently; taunts and tirades that set a standard for public discourse that is toxic, infectious and emulated by folk with bad intent.

They’ve obviously forgotten that history will not be kind to them. Their bad-minded manipulation of certain sections of the public and media will one day come back to haunt them. They will not go down in history as mighty leaders but as purveyors of pain and discord.

I make no apology for over-stretching my metaphor. When my eyes were in pain and I couldn’t see, I needed my man with a pan of milk. Our country is in pain and it cannot see. What it needs from us is the milk of human kindness to heal.

This article first appeared on Third Sector.

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Posted by Debra Allcock

chief Executive, DSC

Fri 26th, Jul

I'm always quick to defend charities, but I have to own up to the reality that the nature of our work is such that we are inevitably held to a higher moral standard than is perhaps reasonable - but is not unjust.

 I’ve been thinking about Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK, scheduled for June, particularly about people highlighting the apparent hypocrisy of marching against him but not against leaders from other countries we don’t like, such as China and Zimbabwe. I think they have a fair point. So what makes this state visit sufficiently different that it mobilises the normally phlegmatic Brits?

Could it be because the US has always had a reputation (or at least held itself up) as the moral leader of the west, supporting merit, openness, fairness? That the colour of your skin, the look of your god(s) or prophet(s), your sex or indeed any other differences shouldn’t matter?

This is a country claiming to value decency, respect differences and fight for the rights of the oppressed, things to which we also aspire in the UK. And there is little doubt that the US and the UK have been close allies for decades. In intelligence slang we’re “cousins” and there are no two more closely integrated intelligence services than ours. But our close ties aren’t just about geopolitical necessity. No, they go much deeper and are based on language, heritage, political systems, law and civic norms, making us feel like kin.

So, although allegedly legendarily polite Brits expect to have to hold their noses when Her Maj welcomes tyrants, corrupt goons and dictators from other parts of the world, we have higher standards for “family”. And I suppose that what makes Donald Trump so abhorrent for many people is that he does not share or promote our common values: quite the opposite, indeed. There is incontrovertible evidence of his racism, misogyny, xenophobia and Islamophobia. I suppose it seems worse somehow when the leader of a country we think of as family has turned against our values, for profit, for pride and for the popular vote.

Of course, many politicians do that to some degree. But this man is doing it in a way that makes many people in the western world afraid. Not of bombs, but of the creeping likelihood of a far-right state if views that demonise whole sections of humanity or prioritise profit over people prevail.

We are told we should respect the job title even if we don’t respect the person holding it. But that seems to me to be what allows evil to prosper, so I don’t think we can separate them – and when it comes down to it, I don’t think we should.

All of which brings me to our sector. Regular readers will know that I am not infrequently irritated by ignorance about how our sector operates or by the constant negative messaging to which we seem to be subjected.

I’m always quick to leap in and defend charities, and I can get very annoyed when I feel folk are being unfair or unreasonable. But on reflection I have to own up to the reality that the nature of our work is such that we are inevitably held to a higher moral standard than is perhaps reasonable – but is not unjust. Those who aspire to serve others need to hold themselves to unreasonably high standards. Because we’re family.

This article first appeared on Third Sector.

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Posted by Debra Allcock

chief Executive, DSC

Thu 25th, Jul

Recent reports from the Fundraising Regulator have misused numbers to paint a picture of the sector that is bleaker than the reality.

 “Politicians use statistics like drunks use a lamppost, for support rather than illumination.” I have a degree in psychology and got part way through a physics degree (which involves quite a bit of higher maths). These two disciplines are very strict about data – how you gather it, analyse it and report it – because it is so easy to manipulate and misrepresent to promote a particular agenda.

Some years ago a company that was tendering for some work for the Directory of Social Change did some analysis of our customer base. According to its research, 80 per cent of our customers had given a particular, very worrying response. It turned out that the sample size was 10 out of a customer base of more than 15,000, a number that is not only statistically invalid, but also factually useless! If I hadn’t understood enough about statistics to ask about sample size we might have made a catastrophically bad decision.

Reporting data and statistics properly really matters. Which is why I worry about the way the Fundraising Regulator has presented statistics about complaints in its recent reports and commentary. There are two core issues that would have had my stats tutor chucking chalk. First, the use of technical statistical terms without context. For example, the regulator refers to “significant numbers” filing complaints without clarifying what “significant” means. It refers to “high numbers of complaints received” without giving a comparator.

Second, its use of percentages masks underlying numbers that matter. For example, it says that complaints to the regulator increased by 18 per cent in the period between September and March 2017/18, compared with the same period in 2016/17. This statistic is probably right, but because we don’t know what the actual number of complaints was for that period we can’t compare. It does tell us that it received an additional 367 complaints for 2017/18, which brings the total number for the whole year to 1,080.

Statistics on the number of asks to the public are incredibly hard to come by, but based on approximately £10bn of voluntary donations it is not unreasonable to assume there are millions of fundraising contacts each year. I don’t wish to diminish its significance, but 1,080 complaints is small compared with the millions of interactions that could lead to a complaint. So in that context it’s hard to argue that 1,080 is significant.

The regulator says it investigated 55 complaints and in 81 per cent of those cases the complaints were upheld. Again, 81 per cent sounds a huge proportion, but amounts in fact to only 44 complaints. So the way these figures are presented gives the false impression that lots of charities are irresponsible fundraisers.

We all want fundraising in our sector to be of the highest standard, but I don’t think it helps to have uncontextualised statistics and technical terms hurled about as if by a metaphorical drunk trying to find something to lean on to support himself. We need data soberly presented, without being under the influence of an agenda. That way the whole picture is illuminated and we can make better decisions.

This article first appeared on Third Sector.

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