BWB Highlights

The Government has announced new grant standards which do not include the controversial proposed “anti advocacy” clauses.  See today’s Briefing for details.

BWB is delighted to have won 'Most Committed Company to the Sector' at the Institute of Fundraising’s Awards 2016.  For more, see here.

BWB is partnering with NCVO to present the Christmas reception of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Charities and Volunteering and NCVO on the afternoon of 13th December, featuring talks from Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson, NCVO chair Peter Kellner, and Susan Elan Jones MP. If you would like to register your interest in attending, please email Woody.Faulkner@ncvo.org.uk.


At a glance

Three new members of the Charity Commission board have been announced.

The Fundraising Regulator has announced its plans for the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS).

Social Finance UK has published “Power to change” a report about community businesses in the UK.

New Philanthropy Capital has published a new report “What a difference a faith makes”.


Charity Commission

New Board Members

Three new Charity Commission board members were announced last week: Laurie Benson, the CEO of a media consultancy firm, Paul Martin, a security adviser, and Catherine Quinn, chief operating officer at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School. See sector reaction in this Civil Society article.

Inquiry report

The latest “double defaulter” inquiry report has been published, this time into Wales Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (1145230).

New inquiry

The Commission has announced that it has opened a statutory inquiry into The Cowesby Trust (223450), a charity for the relief of need, hardship or distress for residents of the parish of Cowesby or any neighbouring parish. Issues being investigated include that large sums of money have been paid from the charity to an unconnected company and to the charity’s trustee.

Statistics

The Commission has published its operational case statistics and monitoring case statistics for the year 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016.


Governance

Re the consultation on a revised Charity Governance Code, New Philanthropy Capital has published its comments on the draft Code.

Clore Social Leadership has published a framework setting out the key capabilities for charity leaders.  

Also see under Social Enterprise below.


Brexit

The Supreme Court’s website contains the timetable for the Supreme Court hearing, which is being heard from 5 to 8 December. Transcripts of the proceedings will be published on the website on a daily basis. As has been widely reported, the Court's judgement will not be announced this week. We expect that a decision will follow in the New Year, and the Supreme Court will issue an alert in advance of the date of publication.


General

Dame Louise Casey has published her report into social integration in Great Britain.


Grants

The Cabinet Office has published new standards to improve the management of government grants, which explicitly safeguard the important role of charities and others in presenting evidence to government and parliamentarians. Charities are delighted that Government has withdrawn the proposed anti-advocacy clause. Included in the new set of grant standards is the creation of a Grants Advice Panel to consider ‘high risk, new and contentious’ expenditure as well as any significant increase in funding to existing grant schemes.  In addition all departments will be required to have robust grants approval process for spend over £100,000, and all grants need to be reviewed annually at a minimum.  The standards also include a requirement for departments to ensure that grant agreements provide a clear outline of what the funding is to be spent on and how this would be monitored. The press release states “Standards would put an end to grant money being wasted on activities not specified in the grant agreement, such as political lobbying."

BWB's Melanie Carter advised NCVO, ACEVO and Social Enterprise UK on the anti advocacy clause.

See here for comment from NCVO and Social Enterprise UK.


Fundraising

Last Thursday the Fundraising Regulator announced its plans for the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS), with some further clarifications the following day. The plans follow a public consultation on the final proposals of the FPS Working Group (to which BWB, the Institute of Fundraising and many others responded).  The key headlines for charities are that:

  • The FPS is expected to be up and running from Spring/ Summer 2017.
  • The FPS will allow users to block all communications from individual named charities. This is a departure from the original proposals which were to allow people to press a “big red button” allowing them to opt out of all fundraising communications from all charities.
  • There will no longer be a need to define “fundraising communications” because where individuals use the FPS to block an individual charity from contacting them, they will be opting out of all forms of communication from that charity
  • This model removes the need for charities with pre-existing relationships with donors to “check in” with donors to ensure they were intended to be included in the FPS registration. The registration will only apply to the charity named by the FPS user.
  • The FPS will apply to all charities, i.e. it seems that there will be no exclusion for small charities.
  • Where an individual uses FPS to opt out of receiving communications from a charity to which it is a “committed donor”, the FR has indicated that the charity may still be able to contact that person in relation to direct debits and other matters where it is in its legitimate interests to do so. The FR has indicated a willingness to work with charities to resolve any problems in this area.
  • The FR plans to produce guidance for the public on the FPS.

BWB’s Mairead O’Reilly comments “The Fundraising Regulator appears to have listened to many of the concerns raised by the sector and we are pleased to see it is now proposing a much simpler model for the FPS.”


Mission-led business review

In a report published earlier this week (5th December), the advisory panel to the Cabinet Office’s Mission-led Business Review is recommending, amongst other interesting proposals, that the government explores the possibility of creating a new “benefit company” legal status in English law.

BWB have written this article about the review and their involvement in the key developments.

In his letter to the Mission-led Business Review Advisory Panel, Rob Wilson MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the DCMS, mentioned the online tool that BWB and UnLtd are developing to help entrepreneurs to set up “businesses where the governance approach reflects the mission of the business founders, as well as their desire to make a profit.”


Social finance

Big Society Capital – strategy review

Cliff Prior, CEO of Big Society Capital, has announced that BSC has kicked off an overall review of its strategy (as its existing strategy covers the period from 2014 to 2017) in three key stages: (1) a review of where social investment in the UK has reached so far, (2) a review of some high-level choices as to where BSC should focus, and (3) considering how BSC should operationalise these choices in practice. BSC has also released a paper that outlines its current views of the social investment landscape, focusing on current challenges and opportunities, and feedback is invited from those participating in the social investment sector.

Social Finance UK has published “Power to change” a report about community businesses in the UK. 

Civil Society Media reports the social investor, ebsi, has gone bust just ten months after it received a £475,000 investment from Big Society Capital, because of lack of local authority interest in social impact bonds.  


Social enterprise

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published a Green Paper on corporate governance reform.  It focuses on three specific aspects of corporate governance: 

  • Executive pay. The Green Paper asks for views on a range of options for strengthening shareholder influence over directors’ remuneration, increasing transparency and simplifying and strengthening long-term incentive plans. The government's objective is to achieve executive pay that is long term, fair, transparent and related to performance.
  • Employee and customer voice. The Green Paper examines approaches to strengthening the employee, customer and wider stakeholder voice in the boardroom.
  • Corporate governance in large private businesses. The Green Paper explores whether and to what extent large privately-held businesses should meet higher minimum corporate governance and reporting standards.

The Green Paper also invites suggestions on other themes, ideas or proposals that could be explored which could strengthen the UK's corporate governance framework.  The deadline for responding to the Green Paper is 17 February 2017.

Social Enterprise UK has published this initial response.


Education

Social Mobility Commission report shows a wide progression gap between post-16 choices made by bright poor kids and their affluent peers.  

Schools

The government has announced new funding to “address underperformance and help ensure every child has a good school place”.


Libraries

The government has published a new strategy for libraries, 'Libraries Deliver: Ambition for Public Libraries in England 2016-2021'.


Employment services

recent review shows how employment plays an important role in improving the wellbeing and self-worth of people with drug and alcohol addiction.


Faith based organisations

New Philanthropy Capital has published a new report “What a difference a faith makes”.  Following an 18-month programme of research into the role of faith-based charities, this report draws together the key findings including what makes faith-based charities unique, the contribution they make to the wider charity sector, and the challenges and opportunities they face.   BWB’s Leona Roche and Stephanie Biden were both on NPC’s reading group for this and contributed to the survey/report.  The publication explores questions such as:

  • What is a faith-based charity?
  • What do we know about the faith-based sector?
  • What strengths and challenges does being faith-based bring?

review of religion and belief law, published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission has found that legislation is generally effective but a lack of understanding of the law has led to misinterpretation and confusion.  According to David Isaac, Chair of EHRC “Businesses need to take a common sense approach to managing religion and belief in the workplace”


Children 

The Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) and Broadcast Committee on Advertising Practice (BCAP) have launched a consultation on new rules prohibiting the sexual portrayal or sexual representation of under-18s (or those who appear to be under 18) in advertising. The new rules are being proposed to protect the welfare of under-18s due to the issue of premature sexualisation and its links to harm. The concern is about the potential for some adults to view under-18s as sexual beings and also the protection of the individual models featured in such advertising.  The proposed rules not only aim to provide vulnerable people with greater protection, but also advertisers with greater certainty on the types of imagery they can use without risking regulatory intervention.  CAP and BCAP are asking respondents if they agree with the proposed rules and to provide any evidence or reasoning in support. The consultation closes on 19 January 2017.  


Sport

The Sport and Recreation Alliance has published this statement about safeguarding and protecting children in sport.


Public procurement and state aid

The European Commission has announced that it is conducting a review of the Code of Best Practice on the conduct of state aid control proceedings.


Data protection

Two companies responsible for millions of spam texts offering easy access to loans have been fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).  Silver City Tech, fined £100,000 by the ICO, was found to be behind over three million texts in around five months.  Oracle Insurance Brokers was found to be responsible for around 136,000 texts and has been fined £30,000.


Public Services Ombudsman

The Government has published a draft bill setting out in detail its plans to introduce a new Public Service Ombudsman. The new proposals seek to bring together the responsibilities of the current Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and the Local Government Ombudsman to create “a new organisation with strengthened governance and accountability”.


Scotland

OSCR has published some advice on giving over the festive season.


Northern Ireland

CCNI has also published advice about giving during the festive season.

CCNI has published thematic reports on the lessons learned from the first set of Annual Returns in Northern Ireland.

See here for the first update on progress of the NI Fundraising Regulation consultation.


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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

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Posted on 07/12/2016 in Legal Updates

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