BWB Highlights

The Institute of Fundraising has announced two important new additions to the Code of Fundraising Practice. See today’s Briefing for details.

Sara Burgess, former Regulator of Community Interest Companies, joins BWB as a consultant this month.


At a glance

The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill has now been committed to a House of Commons Public Bill Committee which held its first meeting yesterday.

From 6 April 2016, the amount of Gift Aid top up charities can claim for small donations will increase from £5000 to £8000.

NCVO has published a list of FAQs about the future of fundraising self regulation following the fundraising summit on 4th December.

The Care Quality Commission has published its annual report “The State of health care and adult social care 2014/15.”


Charity Commission

Staff announcement

The Commission has appointed David Holdsworth as its new Chief Operating Officer, replacing Paula Sussex, who had been acting COO in addition to her role as CEO at the Commission.

Inquiries

The Commission has published its Inquiry Report into the charity Odyssey (Tendercare) Limited (registered charity number 1104244).  The Commission concluded that, while the charity may have provided some valuable services to people with cancer, the primary focus of the trustees was on running and maintaining its hotel business. The charity’s income, including a donation of around £3 million, was used to fund the hotel business with little to no return to the charity. During the inquiry, the commission identified acts of misconduct and breaches of fiduciary duty on the part of two of the charity’s trustees and the Commission reports that both of these individuals are now disqualified from trusteeship.

Case Report

The Commission has published a case report relating to The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (registered charity number 209302). The charity maintains and preserves the five homes and gardens linked to Shakespeare and his family in Stratford-upon-Avon and is governed by an Act of Parliament (The Shakespeare Birthplace and Trust Act 1961). The Commission received a complaint that the charity was proposing to dispose of land to enable a road to be built to the rear of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, without the necessary power to do so. However, Commission established that the sale was within the charity’s powers and the Commission’s consent was not required.

Other Charity Commission publications

The Commission has published an article by Sarah Atkinson, Director of Policy and Communications, encouraging feedback on the new draft fundraising guidance CC20. Sarah says that the Commission wants feedback from donor groups, fundraisers, the general public, but especially trustees of charities large and small.

The Commission has issued guidance about how charities can help communities affected by flooding, with particular reference to working with UK Community Foundations.


Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill

The Bill has now been committed to a House of Commons Public Bill Committee which held its first meeting yesterday. 

BWB drafted a technical briefing to support the proposed amendments to the Bill. Unfortunately, despite the support of many umbrella bodies as well as sympathetic briefings from the Charity Law Association (CLA), the government is pressing ahead with the Warning Power, without any amendments. We will now be pressing for a three month consultation on the Commission's draft proposed guidance on the Warning Power.


Charity Tribunal

There are several new appeals:

  • Pauline Densham – Third Sector summarises her case as “An allotment holder is taking the Charity Commission to the charity tribunal to challenge the regulator’s decision that allotments overseen by her local parish council should be considered charitable land.”  
  • Legal Action & Kevin Gregory – In November Kevin Gregory was refused leave to appeal against a CC decision relating to Legal Action.  Legal Action is currently the subject of a Charity Commission inquiry.
  • Lennox, Patrick, Ryan – Lennox and Ryan were the appellants in 2009 against a Charity Commission decision relating to land held by Dartford Borough Council, the Kidd Legacy.  So presumably the appeal relates to  that charity again.

And the appeal re Bath Recreation Ground has been remitted back to the First Tier Tribunal.


Tax and VAT

From 6 April 2016, the amount of top up charities can claim for small donations will increase from £5000 to £8000. 


Fundraising

NCVO has published this list of FAQs following the fundraising summit on 4th December.  

The Institute of Fundraising (IOF)has announced these new additions to the Code of Fundraising Practice.  

  • All permission statements (opt-in or opt-out wording to gain consent for marketing purposes) displayed in fundraising materials must be at least the same font size as the larger of (i) any text asking for the recipient’s personal details, or (ii) any text specifying the donation amount. If there is no text asking for personal details or specifying donation amount, any permission statements MUST be in the minimum font size of 10.
  • Organisations must include on all fundraising communications sent to a named individual, clearly displayed details of how the recipient can, by a single step, opt-out of receiving such communications from the charity on whose behalf the communication was sent. This must be at least the same font size as the larger of (i) any text asking for the recipient’s personal details, or (ii) any text specifying the donation amount. If there is no text asking for personal details or specifying donation amount, this information must be in the minimum font size of 10.

 The IOF has also published accompanying guidance.


Data protection

The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued an enforcement notice against an individual requiring him to stop making unsolicited marketing calls relating to potential claims for industrial hearing injuries.


Social finance

The Financial Conduct Authority has issued a call for evidence about legal, regulatory and other barriers to the growth of the social investment market in the UK. The FCA says it is interested in:

  • hearing feedback from social enterprises and those firms, such as financial adviser and crowdfunding platforms, who may market these investments to potential investors.
  • views about the potential risks to consumers investing in this sector as it is important investors are making informed decisions and understand the risks associated with social investments.
  • evidence about consumer demand for these investments, particularly which groups of consumers are making these types of investments.

BWB Partner Luke Fletcher comments “This is a really important opportunity to make suggestions which could lead to regulatory change.  I would encourage anyone with a view on or experience of the social investment market to complete the FCA’s online survey by the deadline of 14 March 2016”.  

Last week we mentioned a report published by Responsible Finance, formerly the Community Development Finance Association. BWB Partner Luke Fletcher comments  “We are privileged to work with many community development finance providers who manage to get finance to parts of the economy that others cannot reach and on fair and affordable terms as well. It is not always easy to communicate the significance of this work and its impact, so it is great to have a clear and compelling message that this is fundamentally about responsible finance, which speaks to the way the whole finance industry operates.”


Social enterprise

Sara Burgess, former CIC Regulator, is joining BWB as a consultant on community interest companies.   

Social Enterprise UK is carrying out a survey on social enterprise and the European Union.  


Education and children's services

On Monday this week the Prime Minister announced “radical reforms which will mean poorly performing children’s services must improve – or they will be taken over.”  High-performing local authorities, experts in child protection and charities will be brought in to turn children’s services around – including by acting as sponsors, forming ‘trusts’ to take over authorities which are judged to be failing.   

The Department for Education  has published a consultation on the government's proposals on the rights of parents and childcare providers to request wraparound and holiday childcare.   The consultation closes on 29 February 2015.


Health

The Care Quality Commission has published its annual report “The State of health care and adult social care  2014/15”   


Faith based organisations

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has announced that the issues raised by Digital Cinema Media’s (DCM) decision not to show a Church of England advert about the Lord’s Prayer in cinemas, will be examined as part of a major Commission report.  The  report, examining the adequacy of the law protecting freedom of religion or belief, will be published early next year. 


Sport

Sport England has published this guidance on taking ownership of community sport assets.


Communities

See item under Sport above.


Public Procurement

The Crown Commercial Service has published:

  • guidance on the new subcontracting provisions in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. This explains the scope of Regulation 71, which gives contracting authorities additional obligations and flexibilities to allow further transparency and oversight of working practices of the subcontracting chain. It includes answers to frequently asked questions as well as recommended contract clauses.  
  • Procurement Policy Note on the new threshold levels to apply from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2017 to public contracts, utilities contracts and defence and security contracts.

Advertising

The ASA has not upheld a complaint about a radio ad by the National Citizen Service Trust CIC. 


Scotland

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has:

  • announced it is seeking to appoint two new Board Members

Northern Ireland

The Department for Finance and Personnel have published a consultation paper on the future direction of non domestic rates in Northern Ireland. The consultation period will close on 25 January.   See here for analysis of possible changes impacting on charities.


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Christine Rigby

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Posted on 16/12/2015 in Legal Updates

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