BWB Briefing for Charities and Social Enterprise

At a glance

The government has published its second Social Justice progress report.

The Competition and Markets Authority has issued a consultation on draft consumer protection law advice for UK higher education providers in relation to their dealings with undergraduate students.

The Department of Health and the Association of NHS Charities have published outline guidance for NHS charities on conversion to independent status.

The Scottish Charity Regulator, OSCR, has a “new look” website.


Charity Commission

Representatives of the Commission have given evidence to the Parliamentary Joint Committee considering the draft Protection of Charities Bill.

The Commission has issued a statement about charity campaigning, explaining that:

In the pre-election period, it has set up a rapid response case handling system to follow up concerns about charities’ campaigning activities.
Findings from its election case work, along with the impact of the Lobbying Act, will be reviewed after the election. Such a review may or may not recommend changes to the current guidance CC9 but any planned revisions will be subject to consultation.

Has published an inquiry report into Leeds Islamic Centre, investigated because of “double defaulting” on filing accounts and annual returns.


Protection of Charities Bill

Many of the provisions in the Draft Protection of Charities Bill amend or add to the Charities Act 2011. To help readers understand the effect of the draft bill the Cabinet Office and the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel have worked with the legislation team at The National Archives to create a Keeling Text version of the Charities Act 2011. A Keeling Text is a ‘marked up’ version of the current act, showing the effect the draft bill would have on individual provisions.


Charity Tribunal

Bryan Gunn, a former trustee of the Dove Trust, has been unsuccessful in two appeals against orders made by the Commission in relation to reviewing the appointment of an Interim Manager and issuing freezing orders to four banks.

New appeals have been filed by Patrick Shakespeare and Kathleen Atherton. No details available yet.


Tax and Gift Aid

Last week we flagged a government announcement about plans to revise the Gift Aid declaration. That announcement included links to research by HMRC into “understanding donor behaviour”. The report covers how Gift Aid is understood, how decisions around Gift Aid are made, how to present Gift Aid, and how to explain Gift Aid. The scenarios covered are: donating online, via post, via SMS, and to a charity shop.


VAT

Longridge on The Thames, a registered charity, has won an important VAT and construction case in the Upper Tribunal. Longridge constructed a new property at its water sports facility and claimed the VAT at zero rate. HMRC argued Longridge was a business because it charged fees, that the property was not being used for a relevant charitable purpose, and so was subject to VAT on construction costs. Both the First Tier (Tax) Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal on appeal found that given Longridge kept the fees as low as possible for the people they provided the facilities to, given they were heavily subsidised by volunteer time and donations, and given their intention was not to run a business but provide a charitable facility as cheaply as possible, Longridge was not carrying on a business, even though it was clearly making supplies for a consideration. BWB’s Bill Lewis comments “Sense has prevailed, we are looking at substance over form. The fact this is a decision of the Upper Tribunal is particularly good because it is binding as a precedent in future cases, so will benefit other charities.”


Campaigning

See item under Charity Commission above.


Education

HE: The Competition and Markets Authority has issued a consultation on draft consumer protection law advice for UK higher education providers in relation to their dealings with undergraduate students. The deadline for responses is 18 December 2014 and the final advice is expected to be published in early 2015. There is also expected to be guidance for undergraduate students' to raise awareness of their rights under consumer protection law.

Traineeships - Skills Minister Nick Boles has announced plans to widen the traineeships programme including:

19 to 24 year olds who already have the equivalent of a full Level 2 qualification will become eligible – in line current eligibility for 16 to 18 year olds (from January 2015)
better use of destination and progression data for traineeships, based on improved definitions of positive outcomes for trainees
simplified funding arrangements to bring closer alignment across the 16 to 24 age group but taking an evolutionary approach following consultation feedback


Health and social care

The Department of Health and the Association of NHS Charities have published outline guidance for NHS charities on conversion to independent status.

The Care Quality Commission has agreed in principle to publish information for social care providers, as well as for people who use services and their loved ones, about the use of covert or overt surveillance to monitor care.


Fundraising and philanthropy

See items under Tax and Gift Aid and General above.

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association has published its newest magazine on face-to-face fundraising.


Information

The Information Commissioner’s Office has ordered Grampian Health Board (NHS Grampian) to take action to make sure patients’ information is better protected. The warning comes after six data breaches within a thirteenth month period where papers containing sensitive personal data were left abandoned in public areas of the hospital and one case where the information was found at a local supermarket.


Scotland

The Scottish Charity Regulator, OSCR, has a new-look website. One big change is that the site invites you to choose between a 'public' website with general information about OSCR and Scotland's charities, and a 'charities' website with more detailed information aimed at supporting you in getting things right. If you're a charity representative or advisor, this is the section for you. As well as OSCR’s guidance material, this is where you'll find OSCR Online - rebranded as 'Online Services', on the left hand side of the Home Page.


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 26/11/2014 in Legal Updates

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