BWB highlights

BWB acted for the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust as interested party in the recent Cage judicial review of the Charity Commission. The case raises important issues about the extent of the Commission’s powers.  See today’s Briefing for more information.

Many congratulations to BWB Partner Simon Steeden who has been named in the influential 2015 Power Part Time List. The Power Part Time list celebrates 50 of the UK's most senior and inspiring part time executives and includes employers such as the Bank of England, Amazon, Google, Innocent Drinks, Deloitte and Save the Children.


At a glance

William Shawcross, Chair of the Charity Commission, has spoken about possible further cuts to the Commission’s budget.

The Office for National Statistics has announced that private registered providers of social housing in England will be reclassified as Public Non-Financial Corporations in the national accounts.  

Big Society Capital has published the steps it will take to “make both its own operations and the wider social investment market more transparent.”

Bond has published details of a new index to measure the changes in perceived risk versus actual losses for International NGOs. 

The government is consulting on proposals for newly qualified level 2 or 3 early years staff to hold a paediatric first aid certificate. 

The government has published a Higher Education Green Paper “Fulfilling our Potential:  Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice”. 

The Crown Prosecution Service has been fined £200,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office after laptops containing videos of police interviews were stolen from a private film studio.  


Charity Commission

Last week, the Chairman of the Charity Commission, William Shawcross and one of its directors gave evidence to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) about fundraising practices in the sector and the commission’s handling of concerns about the former charity Kids Company.  See this press release for a Commission summary of some key points. The Commission has said it will review its guidance on reserves and fundraising.

See this Civil Society Media article setting out William Shawcross’ comments on the impact of potential funding cuts on the Commission.


Judicial review of the Commission with Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust as interested party

Rupert Earle and Rosamund McCarthy of BWB and Helen Mountfield QC acted for Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust in JRCT’s appearance in the case as an interested party. BWB has issued a summary noteon the case. An agreement was reached to settle the action with the Commission recognising that, “it has no power to require trustees to fetter the future exercise of their fiduciary powers under its general power to give advice and guidance” and that “there is no obligation on the trustees of JRCT to fetter the proper and lawful exercise of their discretion in future”.   

For other sector comment see these articles:


Tax and VAT

Churches with stocks of pre-printed collection envelopes have successfully lobbied HMRC to be allowed to use up existing stock post April 2016 when new Gift Aid declaration wording must be used.  BWB’s Bill Lewis comments “Any charities or CASCs likely to be in a similar situation with stock not used up by April next year should consider asking HMRC for a similar concession.”


Trustees' Week

At the NCVO/BWB Trustee Conference last week, BWB Partner Philip Kirkpatrick gave a keynote addressabout the state of the sector and putting "governance in context".

The Charity Commission issued a press release, to coincide with Trustees’ Week, to remind trustees of the importance of a charity’s governing document.  


Fundraising

Civil Society Media reports Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society, gave evidence to PACAC’s inquiry into fundraising that a new reserve powers will be put into the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill to give government powers to force charities to sign up to a fundraising self-regulator, and to introduce a statutory regulator if necessary.


Housing associations

On 30 October 2015, the Office for National Statistics announced that private registered providers of social housing in England will be reclassified as Public Non-Financial Corporations in the national accounts. Seehere for letters sent to large and small housing associations about the practical implications of this classification.


Social finance

Big Society Capital has published the steps it will take to “make both its own operations and the wider social investment market more transparent.”

See this press release about a Social Impact Bond (SIB) to tackle youth unemployment and generate a return to investors which has been delivered by pioneering London-based youth charity ThinkForward.   

NCVO has published this guide to social investment for trustees. 


Social impact

New Philanthropy Capital has published a review of the impact created by the KL Felicitas Foundation, which pioneers a new approach to investment by committing 100% of its assets to positive social and environmental impact.


Education

Early years

The government is consulting on proposals for newly qualified level 2 or 3 early years staff to hold a paediatric first aid certificate. The consultation closes on 10th December.

Higher Education

The government has published a Green Paper “Fulfilling our Potential:  Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice”Key proposals include:

  • Introducing a new Teaching Excellence Framework - Higher education institutions providing high quality teaching would be able to increase tuition fees in line with inflation.  
  • Setting up a new Social Mobility Advisory Group, with the aim of doubling the proportion of disadvantaged students entering higher education and increasing the number of BME students by 20% by 2020. 
  • The merger of HEFCE and OFFA.

Libraries

See this government press release about the future of libraries.


Health

This is a recently launched website which helps people make and record decisions concerning their end of life care in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act.


International development

Bond has published details of a new index to measure the changes in perceived risk versus actual losses for International NGOs. The first results from the summer 2015 index showed that the top six global risks are:

  • Political and labor unrest – 29%
  • Kidnap and ransom – 25%
  • Worker’s compensation – 17%
  • Property damage and loss – 13%
  • Terrorism – 10%
  • Disease – 6%

Data protection

The Crown Prosecution Service has been fined £200,000 by the ICO after laptops containing videos of police interviews were stolen from a private film studio.


Advertising

The ASA has published three rulings on the use of images of under-25s on Twitter feeds for gambling operators. They set an important precedent for the application of the CAP Code to social media - the Code applies to ads appearing in third party space under a marketer’s control. Organisations using Twitter to engage with consumers, need to be aware that a huge amount of tweeted material is likely to be advertising.


Scotland

The Scottish charity regulator, OSCR, has published three starter guides aimed at staff, volunteers and trustees of charities taking their first steps with social media.


Northern Ireland

From 24 to 26 November 2015, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and the Charities Regulatory Authority of Ireland, will host the 2015 meeting of the International Charity Regulators.   The three-day forum will be held in Belfast’s Metropolitan Arts Centre and the office of the Charities Regulatory Authority in Dublin, and attended by delegates from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Scotland, England and Singapore.

To mark Trustees’ Week 2015, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland published ten tips to help all charity trustees.  

A recent NI Charity Tribunal ruling contains an interesting consideration of the “person affected “ test for appealing against a decision of CCNI.  Robert Crawford was appealing against a CCNI order to remove him as trustee but he also sought to appeal against orders removing other trustees and an employee on the ground he was a “person affected” by those orders as well.  The Tribunal accepted he was a person affected by those other decisions but held this did not extend to him being allowed by proxy to pursue appeals against those orders unless the appeal related to an assertion of his own interests – which the Tribunal concluded they did not.


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Christine Rigby

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Posted on 10/11/2015 in Legal Updates

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