BWB Highlights

Today’s Briefing includes comment on the Autumn Statement from BWB, Social Enterprise UK and Big Society Capital.

See below for the Breakfast Serial 2017 schedule. Whether you are from a new charity or are simply in need of a refresher, these free sessions will provide knowledge and clarity on a range of key legal issues.


At a glance

The introduction of provisions to automatically disqualify certain individuals from charity trusteeship has been put back until at least September 2017.

The Fundraising Regulator has published its adjudication decision on Neet Feet, the former Bristol-based fundraising agency.

The Ministry of Justice has published a report to the Joint Committee on Human Rights on the government's position on the implementation of human rights judgments of the domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights between 2014 and 2016.

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has announced that it is opening up its data for third party use.


Charity Commission

New inquiries

The Commission has confirmed in a statement the opening of its inquiry into 1st Knight Military Charity(1158071).

Inquiry reports

Three inquiry reports have been published by the Commission with regard to “double defaulters”; they are:

Each of the three charities has now submitted their outstanding annual accounting information.

Automatic Disqualification of charity trustees

Civil Society is reporting that the introduction of provisions to automatically disqualify certain individuals from charity trusteeship (contained in section 9 of the Charities (Protection & Social Investment) Act 2016) has been put back until at least September 2017 following concerns from charities working with offenders.


Funding of the Commission

The latest news is that a consultation on funding of the Commission is expected in December.


Charity law cases

Bishop v Charity Commission

The Upper Tribunal has refused the appellant permission to appeal (on the papers) against the decision of the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) in Bishop v. Charity Commission, which is the case where the FTT upheld the decision of the Commission to refuse to constitute Crocels Community Media Group (CMG) as a CIO and register it as a charity.


Charity accounting

According to new research by Sheffield Hallam University, almost 96 per cent of charities who say their accounts are ‘qualified’ when filing them with the Charity Commission have wrongly answered the question. “Qualified” means the auditor or examiner had some qualifications or reservations.  But this was misunderstood by many small charities who described their accounts as 'qualified', believing this was the correct terminology to use when there are no issues with their accounts.


Governance

This is an interesting paper about employee involvement in boards – published by Tomorrow’s Company, it is called “Bringing the Employee Voice into the Boardroom”.  It compares the options of (a) employees on a unitary board and (b) an employee advisory panel.


Annual Statement

See here for summaries/comment from:

Also see under Social Finance below.


Brexit

Political developments

On 22 November 2016, the Department for Exiting the European Union published a list of answers to frequently asked questions about the UK's departure from the European Union. The list answers questions relating to the referendum held on 23 June, including a government assurance that a second referendum will not take place, and questions on the process by which Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union will be activated.  Access the FAQs here.

Article 50 hearing

The Department for Exiting the EU has published a policy paper on the grounds of appeal on the art 50 challenge to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will hear the case between 5 and 8 December 2016, and it has also announced that it has granted applications to intervene from the Scottish and Welsh governments. The Government’s case for appeal can be found here.

Great Repeal Bill

On 21 November 2016, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper on Legislating for Brexit: the Great Repeal Bill announced by the Prime Minister on 2 October.

The briefing paper considers issues likely to be raised by the Bill, including the extent to which directly applicable EU legislation, such as EU Regulations, will be transposed into UK law.  The full briefing can be downloaded here.

Charity sector implications

This article by Charity Finance Group considers the economic outlook for charities in the wake of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and in the context of Brexit.

BWB Partner Simon Steeden has written this article on Brexit and charities featured in this month’s issue of the Solicitors Journal.


Fundraising

Neet Feet Adjudication

The Fundraising Regulator has published its adjudication decision on Neet Feet, the former Bristol-based fundraising agency. The decision finds several instances where Neet Feet breached the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Fundraising Practice (the Code). It also finds that seven charities of the charities who engaged Neet Feet breached the Code. See here for comment from IOF.

Gift Aid

See this Civil Society Media summary of Gift aid benefits announced in the Autumn statement.


Social finance

2016 Autumn Statement: key financial services announcements

The Autumn Statement included the following announcements that may be of interest:

  • From 2018, the government will expand on an existing scheme that incentivises credit union membership in communities that are at risk of being targeted by loan sharks. This will use funds recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) from convicted loan sharks.
  • To support investment in UK FinTech, the Department for International Trade (DIT) will provide £500,000 each year to FinTech specialists. The government has also commissioned an annual "State of UK FinTech" report on key metrics for investors, and will launch a network of regional FinTech envoys. In addition, the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group (JMLSG) has agreed to modernise its anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) guidance on electronic identity verification, to support the use of technology to access financial services.

BWB has sent out the first edition of its Social Finance and Social Ventures newsletter.  See here for a copy. You can sign up to receive the newsletter here.


Social investment

Writing in a personal capacity, BWB's David Hunter laments that social investment is becoming more about returns than impact. Click here to read the article.


Mutuals

See item under Governance above.


Human rights

The Ministry of Justice has published a report to the Joint Committee on Human Rights on the government's position on the implementation of human rights judgments of the domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) between 2014 and 2016. The report covers the following in this period:

  • Wider developments in human rights and the process for implementation of adverse judgments, including the Brighton Declaration of 2012.
  • The UK's record on the implementation of judgments of the ECtHR and an overview of significant ECtHR judgments.

The report also lists declarations of incompatibility by domestic courts under the Human Rights Act 1998 since 2000.


Data protection

This is an interesting blog from the ICO about the new trend from retailers to issue an email rather than paper receipt.


Company law

Companies House has updated its guidance on confirmation statements, formally clarifying that if the company is filing its first confirmation statement and hasn't previously filed a new style statement of capital (after 30 June 2016), it must file a full statement of capital with the confirmation statement. This is because it won't have previously given the aggregate amount unpaid on the total capital of the company.


Scotland

Applications for reorganisation

OSCR’s form for Application for approval of a charity reorganisation has recently been updated. OSCR has announced that old versions of the form will not be accepted after 30 November and have asked that all new applications are now made using the new version.


Northern Ireland

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has announced that it is opening up its data for third party use. This means sharing information it holds, in an accessible format, on:

  • Charities that are listed on the public register of charities including details of their purposes, beneficiaries and public address 
  • Charity income and expenditure - added as charities complete their annual monitoring return 
  • Data generated through research undertaken into public trust and confidence in charities in Northern Ireland

Personal information that falls under the Freedom of Information Act and other sensitive data will not be published.


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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.


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Christine Rigby

Senior Consultant

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+44(0)20 7551 7712

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c.rigby@bwbllp.com
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Posted on 30/11/2016 in Legal Updates

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