Following BWB’s two recent seminars about the Information Commissioner’s fines for charities, we have published this blog summarising our answers to some of the key queries raised by attendees. Also see today's Briefing for how to sign up for a joint ICO, Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator event in February.
At a glance
The published European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill 2016-17 had its Second Reading debate yesterday (Tuesday 31 January).
HMRC has published guidance on how a charity can apply for permission to redact information it is required to report about grant recipients under the automatic exchange of information regime (which includes the Common Reporting Standard (CRS)).
BEIS has published a Green Paper “Building our Industrial Strategy”.
The Lenehan review into care of children with learning disabilities has been published.
The Commission has announced that is has opened an inquiry into Beth Yosef Foundation (1071268), a charity to advance the Jewish Religion, in particular as practised by Sephardic Jews. The inquiry was opened following a compliance visit, which was arranged by the Commission because the charity had failed to submit annual returns since 2012 and its objects suggested it might be operating in high risk areas. The inquiry will examine various issues including: the validity of trustee decision making, including around the appointment of trustees and the disposal of charity property, conflicts of interest, and financial management.
New Interim Manager appointment
The Commission has announced that it has appointed Brian Johnson of HW Fisher & Company as Interim Manager to the armed forces charity Support the Heroes (1155853). A statutory inquiry into the charity was opened in November 2016 following allegations about its fundraising practices, and the interim manager appointed on 9 December to act to the exclusion of the current trustees. The charity has filed an appeal against the appointment of the interim manager in the First Tier Tribunal (Charity).
Inquiry Reports – double defaulters
Two inquiry reports have been published in relation to “double-defaulting” charities, they are: GO TV (1119306) and The Apostolic Faith Mission International Ministries UK (1096543). The charities have now filed the outstanding annual accounting information. The Commission issued a press release in relation to The Apostolic Faith Mission International Ministries UK, which is now compliant with its reporting obligations for the first time in ten years.
Common reporting standard
HMRC has published guidance on how a charity can apply for information it is required to report about grant recipients under the automatic exchange of information regime (which includes the Common Reporting Standard (CRS)) to be redacted where the charity has a reasonable belief that exchanging data about those recipients would threaten their human rights. This followed an extremely successful initiative by the Association of Charitable Foundations, with BWB acting as their lawyers. BWB Partner Melanie Carter explains more here.
The UK constitution
The published European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill 2016-17 had its Second Reading debate yesterday (Tuesday 31 January), with conclusion of Second Reading today. The Bill is then due to be considered in Committee on Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 February 2017, concluding in Committee on Wednesday 8 February 2017 when the remaining stages are also due to take place. Click here for the link to the Bill, and in due course, links to the Parliamentary debates.
The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee is conducting an inquiry into the expected impact of Brexit on the UK labour market and is seeking the views of UK businesses and experts.
The House of Commons Library has published a paper considering the impact of Brexit on those currently exercising free movement rights. The European parliament is to investigate the British Government’s treatment of EU nationals living in the UK who have applied for citizenship or permanent residency since the Brexit vote.
Charity sector implications
Charity Finance Group have written a blog piece considering the impact of Theresa May’s latest Brexit rhetoric on the charity sector.
Also see under Sport below.
On Monday 30th January, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) announced it has informed eleven charities that it intends to fine them for breaching the Data Protection Act. The charities will be given 28 days to respond to the ICO’s findings and the ICO has said it will consider representations made by each charity before making a final decision about enforcement action. The ICO has also said:
- There are no other outstanding investigations into charities as part of that operation.
- The ICO is now focusing its attention on ensuring compliance within the charity and fundraising sector. A conference aimed at helping charities and other fundraising groups comply with the law will be held at Manchester Town Hall on February 21. The Fundraising and Regulatory Compliance Conference has been jointly organised by the ICO, Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator. It will set out the regulatory requirements and expectations for fundraising bodies and their boards under current and forthcoming data protection legislation. The free, one-day conference is aimed at trustees and decision-makers. Organisations can apply to attend here.
Fundraising Preference Service
Civil Society Media reports the Fundraising Regulator has appointed an agency to deliver the Fundraising Preference Service.
Social Finance has published the Final report on the Energise and Teens & Toddlers Social Impact Bonds.
Big Society Capital (BSC) – 2016 in Review
BSC has published an overview of their key activities and trends from 2016, with headlines including: (1) a cumulative amount of £893m investments signed by BSC and their co-investors (of which £340m comprise BSC’s own funds) across 63 different investments, (2) a rise in 140% of investments reaching the frontline, with a reduced drag time period between BSC receiving funds as a wholesaler, funds being committed to intermediary investors and subsequently being available to frontline organisations, (3) increased co-investment levels (particularly into social housing), and (4) increased innovation through approaches such as “evergreen holding structures” and growth in crowdfunding platforms.
Social Stock Exchange – Annual Investor Conference (1 February 2017)
The SSE will be hosting its 4th annual Investor Conference on 1 February 2017 at the Dutch Hall in the City of London, with the focus being on the UK’s position as a promoting organisations addressing social and environmental issues. Discussions will include topics on the alignment of values with investments, practical insights into member impact businesses seeking investment and advice on turning good intentions into successful investment strategies. Registration is free, and details of the full agenda and how to register can be found here.
BEIS has published a Green Paper, "Building our Industrial Strategy", which:
- Confirms that the government plans to consider whether any measures need to be taken to promote a more long-term approach to funding. The government has launched a new Patient Capital Review, led by HM Treasury. The review plans to publish a consultation document in the Spring to consider all aspects of the financial system affecting the provision of long-term finance to growing innovative firms looking to scale up.
- States the Financial Conduct Authority plans to release a discussion and consultation paper in the first quarter of this year, reviewing the structure of the UK's listed markets. As well as discussing whether changes to the listing regime are desirable, the review will also explore how the UK's primary markets can further support the provision of patient capital to science and technology businesses, which the Green Paper notes are crucial to the long-term success of the UK.
- Confirms the Minister for Small Business will take on a new role of Scale-Up Champion, overseeing a task force to support high growth scale-up businesses across the UK.
The deadline for responding to the Green Paper is 17 April 2017.
See Social Finance above for the Government’s Green Paper “Building our Industrial Strategy”. And see here for comment on the Green Paper from Social Enterprise UK.
Big Issue Invest has launched Impact Loans England, a new £5 million lending scheme aimed at enabling social enterprises to access loan funding of between £20,000 and £150,000. The programme is funded by Access - The Foundation for Social Investment, with finance being provided by its partners Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital.
ESELA (the European Social Enterprise Law Association) has sent out its latest newsletter here.
See here for a list of community interest companies registered in December.
The Lenehan review into care of children with learning disabilities has been published.
The King’s Fund has published this blog about “The conundrum of children’s and young people’s health: time to address it”
The Information Commissioner has published a response to the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) consultation on revised guidance on confidentiality.
The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper on tackling the under-supply of housing in England.
Bond has published some key trends, themes and issues for international development in 2017.
Civil Society Media reports that a new organisation, Disberse, has been launched which plans to use blockchain technology to help international development charities to transfer funds between countries. At its launch, sector leaders said International aid charities need to be more honest in how they communicate and be braver and more disruptive in their approaches.
Faith based organisations
Minister for Faith and Integration Lord Bourne has announced a £210,000 funding boost to be shared among Near Neighbours community projects in England. Near Neighbours brings together diverse communities and different faiths, through a range of activities that improve their lives and the local community in which they live.
The Sport and Recreation Alliance has published this blog about the impact of Brexit on the sale of sporting goods and services.
The Committee on Standards in Public Life has published a working paper summarising the discussion from its seminar on the impact of referendums in the UK.
See here for a podcast of CORE Director, Marilyn Croser, speaking to the Ethical Consumer conference about the successes and challenges in holding companies accountable.
See under Fundraising and Health above.
LAD Media, a company based in Greater Manchester, has been fined £50,000 by the ICO for instigating the sending of nearly 400,000 spam texts about debt.
OSCR has made some changes to its website, for more information see here. The changes include replacing “Hot Topics” with “News”, making the Scottish Charity Register search more prominent and including information about previous incorporations on register entries.
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Stephen Lloyd Awards 2017
Got an innovative idea? Apply to the Stephen Lloyd Awards!
The 2017 Stephen Lloyd Awards opens for entries on 14th February. We are encouraging anyone, or any organisation, with an innovative idea seeking to address a problem systemically, to apply. 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 close on 7th April 2017.
Applications should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Stephen Lloyd Awards or specific guidelines for the application process, please visit the Stephen Lloyd Awards website.
Posted on 01/02/2017 in Legal UpdatesBack to Knowledge