BWB Briefing for Charities and Social Enterprises

BWB Highlights

BWB urges any charities and organisations with experience of campaigning in the last election to take part in the review of Third Party Campaigning. See today’s Briefing for details of the call for evidence.

The Guardian Charity Awards 2015 are now open for entries. See below for details of all the fab prizes, including a day's free trustee training from BWB.


At a glance

The Charity Tribunal has ruled that the Charity Commission should register the new press regulator, the Independent Press Regulation Trust (“IPRT”), as a charity.

The government has published a consultation paper on draft regulations relating to the post January 2016 requirement for companies to keep a Register of People with Significant Control.

The National Audit Office has published a report, “Outcome-based payment schemes: government’s use of payment by results”.

The Scottish Government is consulting on extending the Scottish Freedom of Information legislation to organisations providing certain educational and public services.


Charity Commission

Has published:

  • A case report into the charity, Bait Ul Mall. The commission had received complaints about the charity’s fundraising - it was alleged that funds were benefiting the trustees, rather than being applied for charitable purposes and it was alleged that the charity used illegal immigrants to collect funds on its behalf. Neither allegations were found to have any substance but as part of the case, the commission noticed the charity’s governing document included several different versions of trustee payment provisions (all options in the commission’s model had been included when just one option should have been chosen). The case report states “If multiple options for trustee benefits are left in, our view is that this means there is NO power for trustees to receive any benefits (because of the contradictory nature of the various powers)."
  • details of a final decision made in relation to the Steiner Academy Bristol. The commission had initially refused consent under section 198 of the Charities Act 2011 for a change of objects but on review overturned that decision and granted consent to the change. In what looks like a website glitch, it is not possible at the moment to see any further detail of the decision e.g. what the proposed change was.
  • reports of its inquiries into the following “double defaulting” charities: AS Charitable Trust and Dominion Bible Church

Has appointed an interim manager to the charity Revelation Foundation which runs a TV channel. This follows the opening of an inquiry into the charity in September last year.


Charity Tribunal

As has been trailed in the sector press, the tribunal has ruled that the Charity Commission should register the new press regulator, the Independent Press Regulation Trust (“IPRT”), as a charity.


Campaigning

The Review of Third Party Campaigning being led by Lord Hodgson has issued a call for views and evidence. The consultation is in four broad sections:

  • examining underlying issues associated with third party campaigning, and asking what the purpose and principles of a robust regulatory system should be
  • asking for views on the definitions and concepts of third party campaigning
  • examining the current elements of the regulatory system
  • exploring what the future of third party campaigning may look like

BWB partner Simon Steeden is advising Lord Hodgson on the review. The consultation closes on 30th July.


Charity accounting

Changes to UK-Irish accounting practice due to take effect from 2016 mean that the Charities SORPs (Statements of Recommended Practice) will need to be updated. The Charity Commission for England and Wales and Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, who together are the SORP-making body, have launched a consultation to hear charities’ views on the proposed changes to the SORP. They include that:

  • the Charities SORP (FRSSE) will not apply for reporting periods (financial years) beginning on or after 1 January 2016
  • changes are needed to the Charities SORP (FRS 102) effective for reporting periods (financial years) beginning on or after 1 January 2016

The consultation closes on 18th September.


Payment by results

The National Audit Office has published a report “Outcome-based payment schemes: government’s use of payment by results”. NCVO has commented on the report here.


Public services

See here for a speech given by Matthew Hancock, Minister for the Cabinet Office, about public service reform.


Social enterprise

Social Enterprise UK has published its response to the government consultation on business rates. SE-UK argues this review presents the Government with a golden opportunity to level the playing field between social enterprises and charities.


Education

See item under Charity Commission above re Steiner Academy Bristol.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan made several keynote speeches last week about these areas of education reform:

Also see item under Scotland below about extending the Freedom of Information regime in Scotland to some schools.


Health

Jeremy Hunt has described the first steps in a new deal for GPs.

The Department of Health has published guidance “Attributing the costs of health and social care Research & Development (AcoRD)”. It is described as establishing “a new mechanism for the department to meet some of the costs of charity-funded research in the NHS”.


Environment

Communities Secretary, Greg Clark, has announced local residents must have the final say over whether onshore wind farm applications get the go-ahead in their area.


Information

See item under Scotland below.

The Competition and Markets Authority has published a report setting out its findings following a call for information about the commercial use of consumer data. The CMA hopes the report will help to inform the debate on the issues around the collection and use of consumer data both in the UK and more widely.


Fundraising

See here for the speech given by Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, at the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association AGM last week. His comments include that charities have been given a "window of opportunity" to prove that fundraising self-regulation can work.

Earlier in the week, Civil Society Media published this article about a letter from Rob Wilson to the Institute of Fundraising suggesting five changes to fundraising self-regulation. The article lists the changes as:

  • Charities should have an opt-in policy for data sharing, including guidance on font sizes
  • Fundraisers must obey 'no cold calling' stickers
  • Charities using offshore companies must follow Telephone Preference Service rules
  • There should be a common list for the removal of personal data from contact lists
  • There should be a cooling-off period before donors can be contacted again and asked to increase their donation

See here for the Institute of Fundraising’s published response to Rob Wilson on these issues.


Company law

The Law Commission has launched a consultation on consumer prepayments on retailer insolvency. The consultation asks for comments on matters including:

  • Whether reform of protections given to consumer prepayments on retailer insolvency is necessary, particularly in relation to gift vouchers and deposits.
  • Whether protections which can be offered, such as trust arrangements, bonding and insurance, should be mandatory or voluntary.

The consultation closes on 17 September 2015, and the Commission aims to publish a final report by summer 2016.


Scotland

The Scottish Government is consulting on extending the Scottish Freedom of Information legislation to include: contractors who run privately-managed prisons providers of secure accommodation for children grant-aided schools and independent special schools

The consultation closes on 4th September 2015.


The Guardian Charity Awards - now open for entries

The Guardian Charity Awards were established to celebrate UK social welfare charities that demonstrate excellence in what they do. Enter for free and you could be one of five winning charities that will each receive £3,000, an iPad mini, specialist communication training from the Media Trust, mentoring packages and NCVO membership. BWB will be providing a day's trustee training to one winner. Find out more and enter here.

 


Posted on 24/06/2015 in Legal Updates

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