As the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill continues its progress through the House of Lords, important amendments have been put forward in relation to fundraising, and to clarify the powers for charities to carry out social investment. See today’s briefing for details.
The BWB Briefing is taking a summer break, and will be back the week beginning 24th August, when we will include a round up of all the summer announcements. Have a good summer!
At a glance
HMRC has published updated guidance on direct mail and VAT and a consultation on simplifying the Gift Aid donor benefit rules.
The Electoral Commission (EC) has published its final update on the rules on non-party campaigning.
The Department of Health has published details of new “payment approaches” to underpin new care models.
The government has established an independent, cross-party Commission on Freedom of Information.
The government has published point-of-sale information designed for use by retailers (in store and online) to help consumers know their new consumer rights.
- a case report relating to the charity World Mission Agency - Winners Chapel International. The reason for publishing the report is that the Commission investigated a number of serious allegations and the report is the Commission’s way of putting on record that the allegations were unsubstantiated.
- an inquiry report into the charity Islamic Network. The Commission found that the charity’s website had hosted historic material from 2004 that legitimised the killing of gay people and encouraged the killing of Muslims in certain circumstances. It concluded that the material encouraged violence and denigrated particular faiths and was inappropriate for the charity to host in its name on its website. Although none of the current trustees were trustees in 2004, the Commission concluded that more should have been done by the current trustees to monitor the charity’s website to ensure its content was appropriate and found that the current trustees (despite their action in removing the material from the charity’s website) were too slow in implementing their new policies designed to ensure extremism and hate material is not promoted.
Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill
On 20th July the Bill proceeds to report stage in the House of Lords. After that, there will be a third reading in the House of Lords and then the Bill will proceed to the Commons.
Also see item below under Fundraising.
Other charity law reform
Want to know what BWB said in its submission to the Law Commission consultation on charity law reform, but don’t want to read the full report? See here for a quick summary of the key points we made.
Tax and VAT
HMRC has published:
- Updated guidance on direct mail and VAT
- A consultation on simplifying the Gift Aid donor benefit rules. The deadline for responses is 9 October 2015. BWB’s Bill Lewis comments “HMRC have been considering the donor benefit rules on an informal basis for the last year and have now moved to a more formal review. I would recommend that all charities that provide donor benefits should respond to the call for evidence with a view to protecting existing statutory and concessional donor benefit reliefs and with a view to expanding and clarifying reliefs. This is the sector's opportunity to influence the debate here and indeed future law.”
- The results of qualitative research into why people donate, and the use of tax reliefs amongst individuals earning over £100,000 pa.
The government has put forward these amendments to the Charities (Protection and social investment) Bill to regulate fundraising:
An amendment to the Charities Act 1992 to add a requirement for a contract between a professional fundraiser or commercial participator and a charity to include:
- details of any voluntary scheme for regulating fund-raising, or any voluntary standard of fund-raising, that the professional fund-raiser or commercial participator undertakes to comply with;
- how the professional fund-raiser or commercial participator is to protect vulnerable people and other members of the public from certain behaviour – which is defined to include “ unreasonable intrusion on a person’s privacy”, “unreasonably persistent approaches for the purpose of soliciting or otherwise procuring money or other property” and “placing undue pressure on a person to give money or other property.”
- arrangements enabling the charitable institution to monitor compliance with the above.
An amendment to the Charities Act 2011 to require the following information about fundraising to be included in the annual report of charities with gross income for the year exceeding £1million (or the charity's gross income in that year exceeds £250,000 and at the end of the year the aggregate value of its assets (before deduction of liabilities) exceeds £3.26 million):
- "the approach taken by the charity to activities by the charity or by any person on behalf of the charity for the purpose of fund-raising, and in particular whether a professional fund-raiser or commercial participator carried on any of those activities”;
- “whether the charity or any person acting on behalf of the charity was subject to an undertaking to be bound by any voluntary scheme for regulating fund-raising, or any voluntary standard of fund-raising, in respect of activities on behalf of the charity, and, if so, what scheme or standard”;
- any failure to comply with a scheme or standard mentioned in the paragraph above;
- whether the charity monitored activities carried on by any person on behalf of the charity for the purpose of fund- raising, and, if so, how it did so;
- the number of complaints received by the charity or a person acting on its behalf about activities by the charity or by a person on behalf of the charity for the purpose of fund-raising;
- what the charity has done to protect vulnerable people and other members of the public from “unreasonable intrusion on privacy”, “unreasonably persistent approaches” and placing “undue pressure” on a person to give.
Civil Society Media reports the Scottish government has called on the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations to conduct its own “informal review” into fundraising practices in the country.
The Electoral Commission (EC) has published its 16th campaigner update on the rules on non-party campaigning. It includes information about:
- Submitting spending returns and the EC’s webcasts
- Where to find the template auditors report
- Government review of third party spending
- The EC’s report on the 2015 election
- May 2016 polls
- How to sign up for the EC’s referendum updates
Worcestershire County Council and Worcestershire’s three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have awarded the country’s first Social Impact Bond to help 3000 older people overcome loneliness in the county.
Social Finance has also reported that two social impact bonds, the Teens & Toddlers and Adviza, have performed above expectations and delivered outcomes sufficient to return investor capital earlier than expected. Full results will be published in 2016 when the projects come to an end.
Big Society Capital has published this web article about Social Investment Tax Relief one year on. Examples of projects utilising SITR include:
- a supporter-owned football club in Manchester which used SITR to raise £270,000 from fans and build a new 5,000 capacity stadium.
- a Bristol-based charity which works with the food industry to minimise in-date food going to waste. It raised £70,000 to expand its catering arm.
Also see this blog about a recent report on Futurebuilders.
See this blog from Social Enterprise UK about the 10th Anniversary of the birth of the Community Interest Company.
The First-tier Tribunal has decided that Shropshire Council was correct to list both a playing field and a car park as assets of community value.
The Department of Health has published details of new “payment approaches” to underpin new care models.
See this written ministerial statement by Sam Gyimah on school funding rates for 2016 to 2017. It includes the per-pupil funding rates for each local authority’s schools budget for 2016 to 2017, and the Education Funding Agency’s operational guide.
Primary schools that excel at teaching pupils to read are to receive £10,000 to help them spread their expertise to other schools.
See item under Social Investment above.
Rob Wilson has announced a new £1 million Youth Social Action Fund to encourage youth participation in social action.
The Information Commissioner’s Office has published this statement about a police force tweeting a picture of Michael McIntyre. “Police forces like all other organisations must comply with the Data Protection Act. The police especially must ensure that they have legitimate grounds for processing personal data and disclosing images of this nature without a justifiable policing purpose could potentially breach the Data Protection Act. We will follow this up with the Force concerned.”
The government has established an independent, cross-party Commission on Freedom of Information. The Commission’s terms of reference are as follows: The Commission will review the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’) to consider whether there is an appropriate public interest balance between transparency, accountability and the need for sensitive information to have robust protection, and whether the operation of the Act adequately recognises the need for a ‘safe space’ for policy development and implementation and frank advice. The Commission may also consider the balance between the need to maintain public access to information, and the burden of the Act on public authorities, and whether change is needed to moderate that while maintaining public access to information.
To help retail and online traders comply with new consumer law requirements, BIS has published point-of-sale information designed to help consumers know their new consumer rights, taking into account the different circumstances in which they may apply. The information is designed for use either in store eg by the till, or on a website during the online checkout process. Traders are not required to display the point-of-sale information by law but Government hopes that using the information will minimise confusion and unnecessary disputes for both parties. Each design is a basic layout which can be adapted by traders. Charities, their trading companies and social enterprises should consider displaying this information in their retail outlets and on their websites.
Trustees Unlimited has released the latest edition of Trustee Matters, highlighting their latest opportunities on charity boards. It also features an article from Kate Sayer on outstanding financial leadership in charities.
A recent newsletter from BWB’s Charity Legacies, Trusts & Probate Disputes team. Highlights this month include recovering a charity legacy wrongly paid to a third party by a professional executor, and advising a potential beneficiary of a large trust fund where proceedings have just been issued by family members.
Posted on 22/07/2015 in Legal UpdatesBack to Knowledge