Charities newsletter – August 2017

Posted by Kirsteen Hook, 16th August 2017
Our Charities team here at Blake Morgan regularly publishes e-bulletins to keep you up-to-date with breaking news and topical issues affecting the sector. We also offer regular charity trustee induction and refresher training.

We are delighted to announce that we have recently appointed a new Legal Director, Ben Brice, to head up our charities team. Ben has nearly twenty years’ experience as a solicitor, the last ten of which have been focussed on advising charities on all aspects of charity law and associated governance, regulatory and commercial matters. Ben has joined our Thames Valley Commercial Services team, but will work with our charity clients across the firm. For more details see our press release  or Ben’s profile here.

To find out more about the Charities team and the work we do, please visit our Charities web page.

Charity Governance Code

The Charity Commission has withdrawn its ‘Hallmarks of an Effective Charity’ guidance in favour of the new Charity Governance Code.

The Code starts with a core ‘foundation principle’ that all trustees should understand their duties as a charity trustee and should be committed to the charity’s cause and good governance. It then develops seven further principles including: leadership, integrity, decision-making, risk and control, board effectiveness, diversity, openness and accountability. We recommend that existing trustees review the updated Code and that it, along with other key Charity Commission guidance including ‘The Essential Trustee’, is brought to the attention of any new trustees on their appointment.

Charity Commission publishes first official warning

In July 2017 the Charity Commission published its first official warning under section 75A of the Charities Act 2011. This power was introduced by the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 and came into effect on 1 November 2016.

The Charity Commission can issue an official warning to a charity or charity trustee(s) where it considers that a breach of trust or duty, or other mismanagement or misconduct has been committed. The Commission has discretion over whether it will publish an official warning and will follow the same principles as it already does when considering whether to publish regulatory reports and statutory inquiries, including whether it is in the public interest to do so.

Data Protection: New GDPR guide and training for charities

The Institute of Fundraising has launched a new guide, ‘GDPR: the essentials for fundraising organisations’. The guide is intended to be a resource for charities to help them understand the impending changes in data protection law and to help them to prepare for the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will be introduced in May 2018.


Fundraising Regulator: Details of charities included in the levy to be published

In the interests of transparency and fairness, the Fundraising Regulator has announced that at the end of August it will publish a list of those charities within the scope of the fundraising levy together with details of who has and has not paid the levy.

Any charity that spends £100,000 or more per annum on fundraising is within the scope of the voluntary levy suggested by the Fundraising Regulator.

Fundraising Preference Service

The Fundraising Preference Service was launched on 6 July 2017. Within the first 24 hours, the Fundraising Regulator received more than 1,300 registrations, which had increased to 2,617 people registered by the end of the first month.

Changes to the Code of Fundraising Practice

Following its recent consultation, the Fundraising Regulator published details of changes to 6 key areas of the Code of Fundraising Practice in July. These changes included new requirements in relation to:

  • Charity trustees;
  • Asking for support;
  • Solicitation (disclosure) statements;
  • Raising concerns about fundraising practice (whistleblowing);
  • Charity collection bags; and
  • Fundraising agreements and monitoring third party compliance.

Charities have between 2 and 4 months to implement the changes.

Tax: Detailed guidance on the tax system

HMRC has updated its detailed guidance for charities on how the tax system operates, including tax obligations, Gift Aid and payroll giving, and available reliefs or exemptions.

The guidance can be viewed here.

Employment: Employment Tribunal fees ruled unlawful – what next for employees?

Now that the dust has settled over the recent surprise ruling from the Supreme Court that Employment Tribunal fees are unlawful, the immediate impact of which is that Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal fees ceased to be payable as of Wednesday 26 July, our Employment team consider some of the further details we know to date, and the implications this will have for employers both now and going forward.

To view our Employment team’s article click here.

If you have any queries or would like to discuss any matter please contact any member of our Charities team.

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