BWB Briefing for Charities and Social Enterprise

At a glance

To mark Trustees Week last week, there were several interesting reports about the the role of trustees.

New Philanthropy Capital has published interim findings from its online survey into what the public thinks of charities.

The Cabinet Office has issued guidance for companies seeking accreditation as Social Impact Contractors.

For schools, the Department of Education has published procurement advice for schools working collaboratively and the National Audit Office has published a report looking at management of conflicts of interest at Durand Academy.

Bond has published a new report – “Payment by results: What it means for UK NGOs”. Bond has also welcomed the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill 2014/15.

The Sport and Recreation Alliance has launched its second edition of the Voluntary Code of Good Governance.

A report has been published on “The impact of commissioning and contracting on volunteers and volunteering in Voluntary Services Groups”.


Charity Commission

Has agreed to register Full Fact which has objects that include the advancement of citizenship and civic responsibility. The Commission, which previously refused to register Full Fact (and there was an unsuccessful appeal to the Charity Tribunal), took into account revised objects and the inclusion of provisions for independent review of Full Fact’s work within its Memorandum of Association.

The Charity Commission has published:

The Commission is holding its next public meeting on Tuesday, 2 December 2014 in Norwich.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has published the result of its project on the review of charities’ strategy development, implementation and review. The ICAEW report makes a number of recommendations for the Charity Commission’s guidance, regulatory approach and future research. The commission has published a response setting out how it and other key players in the sector can take forward these recommendations.


Protection of Charities Bill

Following the appointment of a Joint Committee, the committee has published its call for evidence on 17 November, see here for details.

Some of the questions the Committee are inviting evidence on include:

  • What is the current nature and extent of mismanagement and misconduct in the charity sector? Is the Charity Commission an effective regulator? If not, is this due to limited powers, reduced resources or problems with its strategic approach?
  • Would the draft Bill give the Charity Commission the powers it needs? How do its powers compare with those of other civil regulators?
  • Is the Government right to expand the criteria for the automatic disqualification of trustees? Should the disqualification power also extend to persons holding other positions of responsibility in a charity?
  • Are there sufficient safeguards in the Bill for those subject to sanction by the Charity Commission? Is the role of the Charity Tribunal sufficient?
  • Should the Charity Commission be able to issue statutory warnings? Should it have the power to prevent or restrict actions which it believed would amount to misconduct or mismanagement if allowed to proceed?

BWB's Stephanie Biden has been appointed as specialist adviser to the Committee.


Governance

Trustees Unlimited has published the results of a survey of its database of 2,000 trustees. The aim of the survey was to understand more about how board performance is measured and the contribution trustees make to enhance their organisation’s performance. The survey asked trustees about some unusual styles of behaviour. Whilst over 70% recognised the ‘Helpful Person’ who always offers their time and input, nearly 46% recognised the ‘Obsessive’ who pays too much attention to the small details and 36% the ‘Parsley on the Fish’ a board member that looks good, but doesn’t do much. There are also many ‘Colonels’ sat on Britain’s boards, trustees who are excellent at giving direction and opinions, but not so good at action, and almost a quarter of respondents said they recognised the ‘Gong Hunter’, someone who is only looking for glory.

CAF is carrying out a survey on engaging young trustees, with a view to developing best practice around recruiting and working with young trustees

Onboard is carrying out the second phase of its Boardroom Behaviours survey and is inviting chief executives, deputy chief executives, heads of governance, company secretaries and anyone who works closely with their board to participate. The survey can be found here. All participants will be automatically entered into a prize draw to win a Kindle, a copy of You and Your Non-profit Board: Advice and Practical Tips from the Field's Top Practitioners, Researchers and Provocateurs (Charity Channel Press) or a copy of Good Governance: a practical guide for trustees, chairs and CEOs (Dorothy Dalton, NCVO).

Also see item under Sport below.


Tax

The Government has issued this press release about updating the model gift aid declaration.


General

New Philanthropy Capital has published interim findings from its online survey into what the public thinks of charities. The survey was carried out for NPC in mid-October 2014 by Ipsos MORI.


Campaigning

Last week we highlighted new FAQs on campaigning by charities issued by the Electoral Commission with contribution from NCVO. BWB’s Simon Steeden comments: "We welcome the Electoral Commission's new FAQs on campaigning by charities on the regulated period before the election. In particular, we are pleased the Commission has recognised that a charity must exist to pursue charitable purposes, making it less likely that they should reasonably be regarded as intending to influence an election result when campaigning to further those purposes. The new guidance also takes a more measured approach to 'reactive' campaigning in response to policy announcements. Trustees should continue to be conscious of their duties when undertaking political activity, but we hope these changes will help ensure charities can 'carrying on campaigning' even as the election draws nearer."

NCVO has published its response to the Labour Party consultation on the Lobbying Act.


Social Investment market

On 7 November 2014, the Cabinet Office issued:

Guidance on the process and criteria by which the Minister makes decisions with respect to companies seeking accreditation as Social Impact Contractors; and
​Application Form for SITR re Accreditation.

More information can be found here: BWB’s Louise Saunderson explains the background: “This is part of a framework to encourage investment into special purpose vehicles, social impact contractors, through which a social impact bond is operated. Provided a company has been accredited by the Cabinet Office as a “social impact contractor”, investments by individuals into the company will be eligible for Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR). The Social Finance team at BWB are currently advising on a number of SITR applications in relation to social impact bonds and including advising on the accreditation process for Social Impact Contractors and the process related to successfully obtaining SITR.”


Social enterprise

Fast Growth, an accelerator programme for social ventures looking to scale, has opened its application round for 2015. The programme, from UnLtd, the foundation for social entrepreneurs, offers £20K funding, a dedicated business adviser, access to workshops from industry leaders and introduction to networks. The acclaimed programme is open to entrepreneurs who have a proven solution to a social problem which they are ready to scale. Deadline for applications is 12:00pm on Friday 2 March.


Education

Schools:

The National Audit Office has published a report of its investigation into the Education Funding Agencies oversight of related party transactions at Durand Academy. The report looks in particular at management of conflicts of interest.

FE:The first Annual Report of the Further Education Commissioner has been published.


Health

The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 have now been finalised. They impose on health service bodies a duty of candour and the obligation to ensure their directors are fit and proper people.

The Department of Health and Public Health England have published a factsheet for local authorities on health visiting and the commissioning of public health services for children aged between 0-5 years.

From 13 December 2014, new Food Information Regulations introduce detailed requirements to warn of potential allergens in food. There is however a specific exemption for individuals who are not food businesses and occasionally provide food at charity events or voluntary cake sales. For more information see this government guidance.


International development

A private members’ bill, the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill 2014/15 is making its way through Parliament. If enacted, the Bill would

  • put into legislation the target of spending at least 0.7% of national income on aid
  • create a new body to carry out independent evaluation of aid spending

Bond has issued this press release welcoming the Bill.

Bond has published a new report – “Payment by Results: What it Means for UK NGOs”. The report sets out from an NGO perspective the different factors that NGOs need to consider in deciding whether to bid for and engage with PbR contracts.


Sport

The Sport and Recreation Alliance has launched its second edition of the Voluntary Code of Good Governance. The Code has been refreshed to “reflect the significant governance changes that have taken place in the sector since its original launch in 2011”.


Volunteering

The National Coalition for Independent Action Inquiry into the Future of Voluntary Services has published a report on “The impact of commissioning and contracting on volunteers and volunteering in Voluntary Services Groups”.


Community buildings

See this press release about recent awards made from the Community Assets fund.


Fundraising

See item under Tax above.

This week sees the first evidence session of the parliamentary committee examining society lotteries. Those giving evidence include representatives from The Health Lottery, the Peoples' Postcode Lottery, NCVO and the Charity Law Association.


Intellectual Property

The Intellectual Property Office has published guidance on assignment of copyright.


Northern Ireland

Last week the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland published its first snapshot report from the new register. The report includes an analysis of trustee boards of the 500 or so charities registered.


Stephen Lloyd's Memorial Service

This will take place on Wednesday 21 January 2015 at 11.00am at St Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square. More information will follow in due course, but we wanted to let you know the date, time and venue as soon as possible. All are very welcome to attend and there is no need to RSVP.


Posted on 20/11/2014 in Legal Updates

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