The Charity Commission’s annual survey of public trust and confidence in charities makes disturbing reading for charities working across the UK. The level of trust in the sector has declined from 6.7 to 5.7 out of ten (where 0 means ‘I don’t trust them at all’ and 10 means ‘I trust them completely’) since the collapse of Kid’s Company and death of Olive Cooke last year.

Pro Bono Economics (PBE) is working to restore public trust in charities by offering high quality consultancy from professional volunteer economists to charities. To date, PBE has worked with over 300 charities and has its sights set on helping many more in the future.

“In a world of shrinking budgets and a spotlight on accountability, charities and social enterprises need help to show they are making a real difference to society. This is a challenge we embrace, our mission is to help them demonstrate the impact they make and the value they create." Julia Grant, CEO, Pro Bono Economics

PBE recently worked with Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET), a charity that provides educational opportunities for prisoners to make a positive change in their lives.

The PBE report, which looked at the impact of PET’s funding of long-distance education for prisoners, took a wide ranging view of the benefits of the programme, taking into account reductions in reoffending, as well as reduced costs to society, the criminal justice system and victims of crime. The report showed that the programme would need to reduce reoffending by a mere 1% to be cost effective.

With sweeping changes to the prison education system announced in the Queen’s Speech in May this year, PET’s work in providing prisoners with access to higher education will be an important element of successful reform.

“It is hugely helpful for a charity like PET not only to have robust evidence that our work makes a difference but also that it is highly cost effective.  The work of PBE has been invaluable in making that case.  The findings will help us to extend and build on the support we give, help more prisoners turn their lives around and make our communities safer.” Rod Clarke, CEO, Prisoners’ Education Trust

PBE is optimistic about the role it can play in restoring trust and confidence in the charity sector moving forward. We welcome our new Prime Minister's thoughts and insights on how best to support the sector in a time of tight budgets and increased scrutiny.

18th July 2016