BWB highlights

Fundraising remains in the headlines, with the publication at the weekend of a letter signed by seventeen charity chief executives, some of whom will be giving evidence this week before the Parliamentary inquiry into fundraising.


At a glance 

The Commission has announced the content of the annual return for 2016 will remain broadly the same as the content of the annual return for 2015. Plans to introduce a question about spend on campaigning have been dropped. 

The Institute of Fundraising has appointed a new lay chair of Standards Committee, Suzanne McCarthy. 

The Social Market Foundation and Big Society Capital have published “Good pensions:  Introducing social pension funds to the UK”. 

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has published a consultation on a fundamental review of the feed-in tariffs (FITs) scheme.

An unincorporated charity, Friends of Devonport Park, has succeeded in preventing a new company from using a nearly identical name. 

A consultation has been launched on new accounting and reporting regulations for charities in Northern Ireland.

We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming Charity and Social Enterprise Tea Party. Please see here for timings and topics we will be covering.


Charity Commission

Annual return 2016 

The Commission has announced the content of the annual return for 2016 will remain broadly the same as the content of the annual return for 2015. (The only changes will be to the financial information required of charities with an income of £500,000 and over, reflecting the changes needed as a result of the new SORP.)  It is very welcome news that the Commission has decided not to add an additional question about spend on campaigning – BWB advocated against this.  The Commission has apparently recognised the “the administrative burden that such an additional question would place on charities”. See here for more.  

Has published:

  • case report into Scope – the Commission had received several complaints about Scope’s decision to exit (either by closure or by changing the type of service provided from residential care to supported living) 11 of their 35 care homes.   The Commission concluded “While the closure of care homes is likely to be a difficult and controversial process, it is for the trustees to determine how a charity carries out its objects having followed a proper decision making process. Following the assurances and evidence presented to us, we determined that there were not any regulatory concerns.”  

Charity/company names

An unincorporated charity, Friends of Devonport Park, has succeeded in obtaining an order from the Company Names Tribunal that a new company, Friends of Devonport Park Ltd, name must  change its name.  The new company had been set up by some disaffected members of the charity.


Fundrasing

Seventeen charity chief executives signed a letter co-ordinated by the Institute of Fundraising, published in the Sunday Times on 6th September 2015.  Among other things, the letter calls for the establishment of a new and independent regulator with the power to proactively investigate, audit and impose strong penalties on any charity that breaks the rules on fundraising.  The Times’ article reports Richard Taylor (Chair of IOF) as saying the new regulator should be a unit inside the Charity Commission — funded by a levy on all charities — and should replace the existing regulator, the Fundraising Standards Board, whose powers are limiting to naming and shaming, with no power to fine.

PASC inquiry

On Tuesday 8th September, the IoF will give evidence alongside the PFRA, FRSB and Oxfam, Save the Children, RSPCA and NSPCC.  

IOF Standards Committee

IOF has appointed a new lay chair of Standards Committee, Suzanne McCarthy. She is Chair of two charities and was previously Immigration Services Commissioner and Chief Executive of both the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.   Three additional lay members of Standards Committee have also been recruited, names to be announced shortly.

Charity data sharing practices investigation

Following the announcement on Radio 4 last week that the Information Commissioner’s Office was launching an investigation into charity data sharing practices, this is a blog published by the Information Commissioner.


Social finance

The Financial Conduct Authority has launched a new Financial Services Register. The register will include firms that the FCA has been told are providing regulated product and services without the requisite authorisation and firms that are knowingly running a scam (such firms will be highlighted in red in search results). It will also include firms with interim permission. Note that the mutual register will not be included in the new register and will need to be searched separately.   For more information on the interim permission register, see here.


Social investment

The Social Market Foundation and Big Society Capital have published “Good pensions:  Introducing social pension funds to the UK”.


Education

See this Department of Education press release about free schools, including the announcement of 18 new free schools.


Role of regulators

See item under Freedom of Information below.


Freedom of information

The Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) has set aside a First-tier Tribunal decision that the Nursing and Midwifery Council had been obliged under section 40(5)(b)(i) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to confirm or deny whether it held the names of witnesses interviewed at an investigating committee hearing.  The tribunal had failed to take account of the fact that the witnesses were data subjects to whom the data protection principles under paragraph 6(1) of Schedule 2 to the Data Protection Act 1998 applied. The tribunal had also failed to take account of the fact that the information held by the NMC would be available elsewhere. The Upper Tribunal therefore remitted the case to the First-tier Tribunal for rehearing. 


Northern Ireland

consultation has been launched on new accounting and reporting regulations for charities in Northern Ireland. 


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Christine Rigby

Senior Consultant

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Posted on 08/09/2015 in Legal Updates

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