The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill is reaching the final stages of Parliamentary scrutiny.
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At a glance
The Charity Commission has issued new versions of three key pieces of financial guidance for trustees.
The Cabinet Office has published new guidance for charities carrying out house to house fundraising under National Exemption Order holders.
Social Enterprise UK has published ‘Prospecting the future: social enterprise and finance data from 2011-2015’.
The Prime Minister has announced plans to require universities to publish statistical data on admissions by gender, class and ethnic background.
The Information Commissioner’s Office has launched a self-assessment tool that will help small and medium sized organisations to assess their compliance with the Data Protection Act.
The Commission has issued new versions of the following guidance:
- Managing a charity’s finances: planning, managing difficulties and insolvency (CC12)
- Charity reserves: building resilience (CC19)
- Charity governance, finance and resilience: 15 questions trustees should ask (previously called “Charity Trustee Meetings: 15 questions you should ask” and also previously known as “Big Board Talk”)
In the accompanying press release, the Commission states that “Charity trustees must engage with and use finance guidance from the regulator if they are to run their charities effectively”, which is consistent with the current policy of stating that trustees must follow Commission guidance.
Charity names/links between a charity and another organisation with a similar name
Third Sector reports that the Charity Commission is to review its policy on the naming of non-charitable campaigning groups connected to charities after receiving a complaint from the fracking company Cuadrilla about Friends of the Earth Ltd, the non-charitable company that set up the charity Friends of the Earth. Third Sector reports the Commission as saying that it would be re-examining its policy for situations where a charity has a similar name to a non-charitable body as “when this happens there can be confusion for the public between the two bodies…Such confusion might damage the reputation of the charity and public trust and confidence in charities.” There has been no official Charity Commission announcement of any review.
The text of a speech which Sarah Atkinson gave to Westminster Policy Forum on the future of charity law and regulation, on 26 January, can be found here.
The Commission has:
- opened a statutory inquiry into Gaunts House Charitable Foundation Limited, registered charity number 1120688. The charity was formerly part of the commission’s double defaulters class inquiry in 2014. The inquiry is examining "concerns about the financial management and overall governance of the charity, due to the inability of the trustees to manage conflicts of interest and therefore, potentially putting the charity’s funds at risk."
- published an Inquiry Report on Little Love Lane Pre-School, registered charity number 1099863, a “double defaulter” charity.
Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill
This has finished its passage through the House of Commons – the next (and near final stage) is that the House of Lords will now consider amends made in the Commons. This is due to take place on 2nd Feb.
Also see item under Fundraising below.
Charity Law cases
You may remember in 2009/2010 Messrs Maidment and Ryan successfully appealed to the Charity Tribunal in relation to a Charity Commission scheme for land held by Dartford Borough Council on charitable trusts (the Kidd Legacy/Hesketh Park). Mr Ryan recently filed a further appeal in relation to the same charity, appealing against a 2015 “decision” of the Commission which was essentially an email from someone at the Commission saying that it would not be giving any further consideration to some issues raised with the Commission by Mr Ryan. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Tribunal held that the email was not an appealable decision within the list in Schedule 6 to the Act.
Tax and VAT
See item under Faith-Based Organisations below.
National Exemption Orders for house to house fundraising
It came to light last week that in December the Cabinet Office published new guidance for National Exemption Order holders (“NEOs”) and also published a series of new forms which charities holding NEOs must use to report to the Cabinet Office.
The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee has published its report into Kid’s Company.
Last week, during a speech given at Davos, David Cameron seemed to be encouraging NGOs to campaign in relation to the EU referendum: “Now, in terms of the debate I think we need to have, obviously the politicians are going to play a big role in this debate, and I hope to play a big role myself. But I hope that business, NGOs and other organisations won’t hold back.”
Big Society Capital has published its “key numbers” for 2015.
Also see this Big Society Capital blog about social investment and community-led housing.
If you have not heard the amazing story of FC United of Manchester, see this blog for the story of this football club’s funding of its new football ground.
BWB Partner Julian Blake has recently been appointed to provide an expert external perspective on a Cabinet Office panel considering implementation of the Social Value Act by Central Government.
The shortlist for the Government Social Value Awards has been announced.
Social enterprise/spin outs
See case below under Public Procurement.
Social Enterprise UK and the Access Foundation have published this report ‘Prospecting the future: social enterprise and finance data from 2011-2015’. The report concludes that social enterprises, businesses with a social or environmental mission, are increasingly in need of working capital to finance their operations and deliver contracts.
See here for a list of community interest companies registered in December 2015.
Yesterday the Prime Minister announced plans to require universities to publish statistical data on
admissions by gender, class and ethnic background.
Health and social care
Reading Borough Council has been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 costs in relation to a prosecution under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 relating to the death of a pensioner in a care home from legionella.
Churches' Legislation Advisory Service has obtained this clarification from the Chancellor in relation to the proposed higher rate stamp duty for additional homes. "Work related accommodation which is provided and owned by an employer, such as a parsonage house, does not count when considering whether an individual is purchasing an additional property or not. This will mean, for example, that a member of the clergy who purchases a first property to rent out (whilst living in accommodation provided by the church) will not be subject to the higher rates.” The clarification was given in a letter from the Chancellor to the Bishop of Derby.
In R (P) v Secretary of State for Justice, the claimants successfully challenged the disclosure of criminal records scheme.
This is a slightly chilling example of a local authority spin out where 9 years later the local authority awarded the contract to supply the services to someone else. In this case substance abuse services were spun out from Sunderland local authority into a CIC in 2007, and then more recently the contract for services was awarded to an NHS Foundation Trust. The community interest company, Counted 4 CIC, challenged the procurement process and obtained a suspension of the new contract. The local authority applied to the High Court for the suspension to be lifted but the High Court refused. The judgment is worth reading as it sets out the factors the High Court took into account. BWB Partner Abbie Rumbold comments“Many new spin out organisations view the contract for services awarded to them by their parent public sector body as just the beginning. This case shows they are right to do so. New social enterprises need to ensure they are sustainable and one of the best ways to do that is to diversify income streams and look for business opportunities outside of their core contract.”
The Information Commissioner’s Office has launched a self-assessment tool that will help small and medium sized organisations (SMEs) to assess their compliance with the Data Protection Act. The toolkit provides links to relevant guidance and further information, and will generate a rating based on responses.
OSCR is publicising that applications are now open for the 2016-17 Water Exemption Scheme that enables charities to pay less on their water bills: . The Scheme is administered by the water industry on behalf of the Scottish Government.
CCNI have announced that it is holding a consultation event on its new accounting and reporting guidance on February 9 in Derry/Londonderry.
Stephen Lloyd Awards 2016
The Stephen Lloyd Awards 2016 are now open for entries!
The Stephen Lloyd Awards Committee announced yesterday (01 February) that they are now open for entries to the 2016 Stephen Lloyd Awards. The aim of the awards, in line with Stephen’s own approach, is to help create success by finding and nurturing innovative ideas and projects that can lead to practical, sustainable social change. The awards committee is particularly interested in supporting ideas that address social problems at a systemic level.
Entries for the awards will have an eight week application window, closing on 25th March 2016. Applications should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Stephen Lloyd Awards or specific entries, please contact the Stephen Lloyd Awards Committee.
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Disclaimer - The information contained in this update is not intended to be a comprehensive update - it is our selection of the website announcements made in the week up to last Friday which we think will be of interest to charities and social enterprises. The content is necessarily of a general nature - specific advice should always be sought for specific situations.
Posted on 03/02/2016 in Legal UpdatesBack to Knowledge