Charities Newsletter – July 2020


29th July 2020

We hope that, wherever you are reading this, you remain safe and well in what has been a very difficult 2020 so far. The lockdown restrictions are not as tight as they were when we sent out our last newsletter back in April, but charity leaders everywhere continue to work very hard to do the best for their beneficiaries in these very difficult circumstances.

This edition of our newsletter, like the last, focuses on guidance that is out there to assist in the COVID-19 crisis, but also addresses wider issues that are still as relevant as ever as we begin to see some light at the end of the tunnel on the other side of the pandemic.

Guidance on minimising the risk of being a victim of cybercrime published by the Charity Commission

Many third sector organisations have been filling in where the public and private sectors have been unable to meet basic needs in the COVID-19 crisis. Some have found that this new activity makes them a target for criminals, who purport to help the organisation to provide those services while in fact opening them up to theft or fraud.

With this in mind, the charities regulator has published guidance (available here) specifically aimed at how organisations can minimise the risk of being exploited through cybercrime. Alternatively, you can read our blog post here for a summary.

Charity Commission addresses Coronavirus-related Serious Incident Reporting in latest guidance

Unlike leaders of other types of organisation, charity trustees are required to report all serious incidents that arise to their regulator. The current global pandemic has left trustees with a new dilemma: which coronavirus-related incidents are serious enough to require a report?

Earlier this month, the Commission published new Reporting Guidance on this issue. In the guidance, it includes common examples of coronavirus incidents and which of these requires a report. We posted a blog on this (available here) which includes a useful downloadable PDF of the Commission’s common examples. This accompanies their standard SIR Guidance, which remains in place and is an important read for all trustees.

Charities regulator issues guidance on managing financial difficulties caused by Coronavirus

It goes without saying that many organisations across all sectors have been dealing with the prospect of financial difficulties in the past few months, and charities are no exception.

The UK government has introduced legislation to help incorporated organisations, including charitable companies and CIOs, deal with financial issues faced as a result of the pandemic. The Charity Commission updated its COVID-19 guidance (available here) to reflect the legislative changes and we published a blog post summarising the key changes which is available here.

The Commission has also published this Guidance in order to signpost charity leaders to its own resources on managing charity finances, as well as several third sector bodies, such as the NCVO and the Institute of Financing. In the guidance, it also reminds trustees that they must always consider the best interests of the charity in their decision-making, and provides an idea of actions that charity leaders can take if a charity cannot continue to operate in the circumstances.

Charity Commission alert on the importance of transparent and accountable governance

The Charity Commission has sent out a regulatory alert to leaders of large or complex, service-providing charities to highlight the importance of transparent and accountable governance. The alert includes advice for trustees and executives of such organisations. It also has states that the Commission will follow up later in the year by contacting a sample of recipients of this alert to understand what measures are in place to manage identified risks. A web version of the alert can be found here.

CICs regulator and the DCMS publish their own Coronavirus guidance

In a press release that can be seen here, the Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies (CICs) has issued its own guide on what is in place to maintain services for CICs and protect employees during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Regulator is updating the post regularly and has addressed queries on a wide range of filing requirements and the availability of wider government support.

Additionally, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has provided some information and advice for voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations. It acknowledges the positive impact that such entities have on the lives of many and lists many resources that their leaders can use, from the UK government and the NHS to various sector bodies such as Social Enterprise UK and The National Lottery Community Fund. The information can be found here.

HMRC issues advice for those choosing to give up income to donate to charity

The advice (accessible here) is wider ranging than just for those donating to charity, but alerts individuals to Payroll Giving, a way of giving money to charity without paying tax on it, via PAYE. There is also guidance specifically on Payroll Giving for employers and employees and charities here.

 

Our Charities team publish e-bulletins to keep you up-to-date with breaking news and topical issues affecting the sector.

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

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