BWB highlights

BWB Partners Simon Steeden and Rosamund McCarthy prepared a briefing in relation to a proposed amendment to the EU Referendum Bill, which was debated in the House of Lords yesterday. See today’s Briefing for details.

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At a glance

The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill will have its 2nd reading in the House of Commons on 3rd December.

Lord Grade has been appointed as interim Chair of the new Charity Fundraising Regulator.

The Institute of Fundraising and the Small Charities Coalition are working together to engage smaller charities on the fundraising reforms coming into effect next year.

This week the ICO will write to more than 1,000 companies involved in buying and selling people’s names and numbers, as part of its ongoing crackdown on nuisance calls.

New Philanthropy Capital has published a briefing paper for trustees on “Developing an effective strategy”.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, have published a research report into employer-supported volunteering.


Charity Commission

Has published a review of charity accounts which show an unusually high proportion of expenditure on governance costs.   

Has published a case report into Cowbridge Comprehensive School Trust, which sought permission to spend £300,000 from its permanent endowment building a new sixth form centre.  

Has issued an alert to charities to draw their attention to the Financial Action Task Force’s public consultation to consider amendments and updates to its Interpretative Note for Recommendation 8 focused on non-profit organisations and the risk of terrorist abuse. 


Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill

The Bill will have its 2nd reading in the House of Commons on 3rd December. It will represent the first opportunity for substantive Commons debate on the bill (as the first reading was a formal presentation only with no accompanying debate).


Governance

New Philanthropy Capital has published a briefing paper for trustees on “Developing an effective strategy”. 


Charity Tribunal

The Commission has obtained leave to appeal to the Upper Tribunal against the First Tier (Charity) Tribunal’s decision that the appeal in relation to Annuity Helpline (brought by Stephen Hunt) was brought in time.


Tax and VAT

In a written response given in the House of Commons on 16 November 2015, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Damian Hinds, confirmed HMRC's policy for reclaiming tax where a taxpayer has made a donation to a charity under the Gift Aid scheme but ends the year having paid insufficient tax to cover the Gift Aid claimed on all their donations in a tax year. In practice, HMRC may invite the charity to make good any shortfall on behalf of their donors. However, and importantly, he has confirmed the charity is not legally obliged to repay any over-claimed Gift Aid.

Also see items under Sport and Northern Ireland below.


Fundraising

New Fundraising Regulator

Lord Grade has been appointed as interim Chair of the new Charity Fundraising Regulator.  According to a government press release, he will “work quickly to appoint a board and chief executive, and start working with charities to build the tough new self-regulatory system”.

Civil Society Media reports Charities Aid Foundation has agreed to provide bridging finance to help set up the new Fundraising Regulator and will open an account to hold in trust any contributions for its establishment from fundraising charities.  

The Institute of Fundraising and the Small Charities Coalition have announced that they will work together on a new joint initiative aimed to engage smaller charities on the fundraising reforms coming into effect next year.   This includes launching an online survey and holding a forum to discuss issues and priorities.  People can register their interest in this work or share their views by emailing feedback@institute-of-fundraising.org.uk.

Fundraising Preference Service

Civil Society Media reports a survey by Rogare shows the proposed Fundraising Preference Service could cost the sector £2bn and the majority of fundraisers are against its introduction.

Also see item under Scotland below.


EU Referendum Bill

BWB Partners Rosamund McCarthy and Simon Steeden have prepared a briefing in relation to a proposed amendment to the EU Referendum Bill, which is currently being debated in the House of Lords. The amendment is aimed at ensuring charities are given clear regulatory guidance on the ways in which they can engage in the EU Referendum.   

See Simon's blog in Civil Society Media on referendum campaigning for charities.


Equality

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published a report, Is Britain Fairer? The state of equality and human rights 2015. The report is part of the Commission's statutory duty under section 12 of the Equality Act 2010 to report on the status of equality and human rights in England, Scotland and Wales.


Lottery funding

NAVCA has highlighted this blog post which says the Government is planning to reduce the level of good cause money going to the Big Lottery from 40% to 25% and increasing that going to sport, arts and heritage.


Social finance

The Care and Wellbeing Fund has launched with £12 million of investment from Big Society Capital and Macmillan Cancer Support. The fund will be used to develop and scale new and existing community care services for people affected by cancer and other long term conditions. Its first investment will tackle loneliness and social isolation in Worcestershire.

BWB's Selman Ansari and Simon Steeden act for Community Energy England challenging the Government’s announcements on changes to Enterprise Investment Scheme. Click here to read the summary letter.


Education

The government is proposing to increase inspection fees for children’s settings over the next few years until providers are paying the full cost of their inspections (which they do not currently do) with a 10% increase starting next year

Schools

The Office of the Schools Adjudicator has held that the admission arrangements of an academy trust which gave priority in its oversubscription criteria to the sons of old boys of the school did not comply with paragraphs 14 and 1.8 of the School Admissions Code.


Health

See item under Social Finance above.

The Local Government Ombudsman has published its complaints statistics for adult social care – including data for both councils and independent care providers – in its Annual Review of Adult Social Care Complaints 2014/15.  The LGO received 2,803 complaints and enquiries about adult social care in 2014/15, which is 18% more than received the previous year.


Arts and culture

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has published a report setting out information on the usage of the Charities Act 2006 s.70 by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Section 70 sets out a power for Ministers to give financial assistance to charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institutions.  During 2014-15, using the Section 70 power DCMS made grants totalling £4.51m and loans totalling £2.50m.


Sport

HMRC has updated its CASC guidance notes. Annex 2 of the guidance was updated in November 2015 (see new paragraphs 6.3 and 6.4) in relation to no gain/no loss CGT treatment when assets of an unincorporated club are transferred to a new company.


Research Councils

In December 2014, the government announced an independent review of the role of research councils.  Now, Sir Paull Nurse’s review and recommendations relating to research councils has been published as“Ensuring a successful UK research endeavour”. 

There are separate recommendations on:

  • Enhancing Research Councils’ effectiveness 
  • Interacting with the wider research world 
  • Governance and structures.

Volunteering

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, have published ‘On the brink of a game-changer?' a research report into employer-supported volunteering (ESV). The research found a lack of understanding between charities and companies about the costs and benefits involved in ESV, with some companies unwilling to contribute to the costs involved in hosting volunteers. Similarly, some of the businesses interviewed reported that charities often overlooked the additional benefits of a one-off placement, including the potential of sponsorship or support from the company in the future.  


Data protection

This week the ICO will write to more than 1,000 companies involved in buying and selling people’s names and numbers, as part of its ongoing crackdown on nuisance calls. The ICO expects the companies to set out exactly how they comply with the law, including what data they share, how they get people’s consent to share their data, as well as a list of all the companies they’ve worked with in the last six months.  Where companies do not respond to the letter, the ICO will look to take action to require the information to be provided. The ICO has the power to issue Information Notices, which legally oblige an organisation to provide us with information, with the threat of court action if they do not. One such company was prosecuted in October, and the courts fined them £2,500.


Freedom of information

NCVO has published its submission to the Commission on the Freedom of Information.  See this blog for a summary.


Public procurement

Recent EU procurement developments include:

  • ruling that, in the context of a public procurement procedure, contracting authorities can require bidders to submit declarations stating that they will comply with national legislation on employment conditions for their employees and subcontractors in the performance of the public contract, including an hourly minimum wage requirement.
  • an Advocate General’s opinion that it is not permissible to restrict a tenderer's use of subcontractors.

Approcahes to regulation

This is an interesting example of a regulator reviewing its approach to regulation - the ASA is implementing a series of new principles as part of its drive towards becoming a more proactive regulator. Under these new prioritisation principles, it will:

  • Consider what harm or detriment has occurred or might occur.
  • Balance the risk of taking action versus inaction.
  • Consider the likely impact of the ASA's intervention.
  • Consider what resource would be proportionate to the problem to be tackled.

Scotland

This week, on 26th November, there is a summit on the future of self regulation of fundraising in Scotland.


Northern Ireland

From April 2018, the rate of corporation tax in Northern Ireland will be 12.5%.


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Christine Rigby

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Posted on 24/11/2015 in Legal Updates

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