BWB Highlights

The Fundraising Regulator has published its consultation on the Code of Fundraising Practice. We encourage all fundraising charities, and their trustees, to take part.

On Thursday 23rd February, BWB's Stephanie Biden will be in discussion with Michael Wear, one of President Obama's "ambassadors to American Believers", regarding Faith in Public Life. See below for more information.


At a glance

HMRC has published updated guidance for intermediaries on their authority to create Gift Aid declarations on behalf of donors.

The Government has published its White Paper titled “The UK’s exit from and new partnership with the EU”.

HMRC has released a policy paper about proposed reforms to the Social Investment Tax Relief scheme.

The Department for International Development has published its first Economic Development Strategy.

The House of Lords Select Committee on Charities has published written evidence submitted to it by a number of charities, individuals and other organisations.


Charity Commission

Consultation on Code for Good Governance

The Commission has published its own response to the consultation on the draft new Code for Good Governance which has been drawn up by the Code Steering Group (which includes a representative from the Commission). The Commission says that:

  • It welcomes the approach the Code Group is taking in making the Code more rigorous in response to changing needs and public expectations.
  • It welcomes the new “Foundation Principle”, setting out that as a starting point all trustees understand their roles and legal responsibilities, with particular reference to CC3 (The Essential Trustee) and the charity’s governing document, although there could be more emphasis on trustees ensuring that they meet this.
  • The Foundation Principle creates a helpful distinction between basic legal and regulatory compliance and higher levels of achievement of, or aspiration to, good practice and excellence which are at the heart of the Code.
  • The encouragement in the introduction for larger charities to publish a statement in their annual report setting out how they apply the Code should be a recommendation.
  • The consultation draft does not appear to cover a charity’s relationship with trading subsidiaries or members of any group structure. Whilst some elements of such relationships fall within the regulator’s remit, this can be a vital area for good practice.
  • The Code belongs to the sector, not the Commission. The Commission intends to continue to endorse and promote it as the standard of good governance practice to which all charities should aspire.
  • The Commission proposes to withdraw the publication The Hallmarks of an Effective Charity (CC10) and will instead refer charities to the Code as setting out relevant standards of good practice.

Charity Commission funding

Civil Society Media has reported that a consultation into charging charities for their regulation has been delayed because the Treasury has not yet agreed to it.

New inquiry

The Commission has opened an inquiry into the Suyuti Institute (1151600), a charity with objects to advance the Islamic Faith through education and distributing literature. The case is looking at concerns about a lecture given by a trustee of the charity and whether the content of that speech was appropriate and furthered the charity’s purposes, and also whether the trustees have acted in the best interests of the charity in accepting the assets and liabilities of a private trust. 

IM appointment

The Commission has appointed an interim manager of the charity The Central Gurdwara (British Isles) London Khalsa Jatha, whose task is limited to determining the membership of the charity. The charity’s trustees remain responsible for the day-to-day management of the charity, including its financial management.   

Charity Commission reports

The Commission has published:

  • a case report into Giraffe Conservation Foundation, a conservation charity which was the subject of complaints that its executive director has assumed a dominant position in the charity and was overruling the decisions of trustees. Issues included a dispute among the trustees as to which of them was legitimately appointed, and plans to close the charity and transfer its operations to Namibia.
  • Its inquiry report into Urban Relief (former charity number 1114537).  The inquiry was opened following the conviction of one of the trustees for a number of criminal offences. The inquiry found no evidence that the charity’s funds were obtained or applied in furtherance of the objects and that there had been a number of instances of mismanagement and misconduct committed by the trustees in the administration of their charity. The fact that the charity had been used for a criminal purpose was clear evidence of abuse of the charity. Whether or not the trustees were or were not aware of this fact was irrelevant, as being responsible for the administration of the charity they should have been aware of this fact and either failed to act to prevent that abuse or condoned it.

Four inquiry reports have been published in relation to double defaulters:


Charity law reform 

The House of Lords Select Committee on Charities has published written evidence submitted to it by a number of charities, individuals and other organisations.


Tax and VAT

HMRC has published updated guidance for intermediaries on their authority to create Gift Aid declarations on behalf of donors.  

Third Sector is reporting that HMRC has granted an exemption to charities from a new government scheme to force most businesses to introduce digital record keeping and produce quarterly updates, although trading subsidiaries will be expected to comply. Civil Society Media is reporting that the decision that trading subsidiaries will have to comply will waste millions in charity funds.


Brexit

Brexit plan and negotiations

The Government has published its White Paper titled “The UK’s exit from and new partnership with the EU”. The White Paper sets out Government’s aims in the Brexit negotiations, which include: providing certainty and clarity; taking control of UK laws; strengthening the union of the UK; protecting ties with Ireland; controlling immigration; securing rights for EU nationals in the UK and vice versa; protecting workers’ rights; ensuring free trade with European markets; ensuring the UK remains the best place for science and innovation; cooperating in the fight against crime and terrorism; and delivering a smooth and orderly exit from the EU.  The key points raised by the White Paper include:

  • Freedom of movement could continue beyond 2019.
  • The UK may continue paying significant sums into the EU.
  • Elements of single market membership could be maintained.
  • No solution has been found to the Northern Ireland border problem.
  • European Arrest Warrant could be here to stay.

The full White Paper can be downloaded here.

The Commons Committee stage of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill took place yesterday with the Report stage and Third Reading on Wednesday. In the formal vote, the Bill passed in the Commons with 498 votes against 114.

EU Funding

Sadiq Khan, is calling on Government to make an urgent decision on how more than £600m of crucial funds that London receives from the European Union will be replaced in the aftermath of Brexit.

Immigration

The Migration Observatory has published a report identifying post-Brexit labour migration policy challenges, and considering several different labour migration models which could be used.


Fundraising

Consultation on Code of Fundraising Practice

The Fundraising Regulator has published its consultation on the Code of Fundraising Practice. The consultation seeks views on the following areas:

  • Charity trustees 
  • The fundraising ask 
  • Solicitation (disclosure) statements 
  • Raising concerns about fundraising practice (whistleblowing) 
  • People in vulnerable circumstances 
  • Charity collection bags 
  • Third parties 
  • General questions on the Code

The deadline for responding is Friday 28th April 2017.

The Institute of Fundraising has welcomed the consultation saying it will be responding formally to the consultation through its Standards Advisory Board and will publish a draft response with the opportunity for members to feedback, ahead of its final submission.


Social finance

Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) reforms finalised by HMRC

HMRC has released a policy paper regarding the finalising of the certain reforms to the SITR scheme. SITR allows investors who put money into certain regulated social organisations, including charities, to claim back part of their investment against their tax bills. The proposed changes are:

  • The amount of qualifying investment a qualifying social enterprise (which is less than seven years old) can raise will increase in most cases, from the current 3 year rolling limit of €344,000 to a maximum of £1.5 million over its lifetime. For older social enterprises, the limit will remain at €200,000 over 3 years.
  • The maximum number of full time equivalent employees of a qualifying social enterprise will be reduced from 500 to 250 - volunteers do not count towards this limit.
  • The excluded activities list will be updated to exclude a number of low risk activities from the SITR: asset leasing, on-lending to other social enterprises, receipt of royalties and licence fees, nursing homes and residential care homes (although the paper mentions that the government intends to introduce an accreditation scheme to allow SITR investment in affordable nursing and residential care homes), and generation of power or production of fuel.
  • The measure makes a number of other changes to ensure the new scheme is properly targeted and meets EU rules under the General Block Exemption Regulation.

The changes, which are included in amendments to the Income Tax Act 2007, will apply to investments made on or after 6 April 2017.

Bridges Ventures reports that its Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund has partnered with HCT Group, the social enterprise bus operator, to develop a new training programme in Lambeth that helps children with special educational needs (SEN) travel independently to school via public transport. At present, local authorities are currently required by law to provide private transport to school for SEN children, usually via specialist minibuses or taxis. On average, this costs about £6,000 per SEN child per year, equating to a total cost of about £500m per year across the UK – and with an increasing number of children being classed as SEN, this cost is rising. With Bridges as the provider of up-front funding, HCT Group will deliver this programme under an outcomes contract, with Bridges only receiving payments from Lambeth Council if it achieves specific independence outcomes for the young people, including completion of the course and continued achievement of independent travelling.


Education

The Annual report of the Chief Schools Adjudicator for England has been published


Sport and recreation

The Sport and Recreation Alliance has launched Reconomics Plus, an online resource designed to help members and the wider sector champion the value of outdoor recreation to the economy, our health and to creating strong, vibrant local communities.  

The Premier League has released their interim report on disabled access at football grounds.


International development

The Department for International Development has published its first Economic Development Strategy which “sets out how Britain will establish new trade, investment and economic links and end global poverty”.  For comment from BOND, see here.


Equality

The government has published its response to the Women and Equalities Committee's report of August 2016, which called for better pregnancy and maternity protection.

The House of Commons Petitions Committee and the Women and Equalities Committee have published a joint report, 'High heels and workplace dress codes'.

The Women and Work All Party Parliamentary Group has published a report analysing the barriers faced by women who wish to return to work after a career break of more than 6 months, with recommendations for government and employers on how they could be better supported.


Information

A business owner has been prosecuted for failing to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) because she was using in-store CCTV.

A Birmingham company has been fined £20,000 for unlawfully trading personal information.

The Information Commissioner has published this blog about the ICO’s international strategy. 

The First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) has ruled that information relating to the risk assessment of schools carried out by Norfolk County Council (council) was exempt from disclosure under section 36(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).


Scotland

The Office of  the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR ) has issued a reminder to Scottish charity trustees that they may want to amend their governing document in order to choose not to have an audit if it would not be otherwise required.

OSCR has updated its MoU with the Scottish Housing Regulator.


Northern Ireland

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) has issued a warning about the use of social media in the run up to the Assembly elections, following concerns about some charity postings.


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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 08/02/2017 in Legal Updates

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