Whilst the much anticipated “unlocking” of the UK fast approaches, this newsletter brings you the latest updates for the Charities Sector.
Coronavirus guidance for the charity sector further updated
The Charity Commission has recently made further updates to its COVID-19 guidance for the charity sector. Most notably, the “insolvency help for charitable companies and charitable incorporated organisations” section has been updated so that the temporary suspension of statutory demands and the restriction on winding up provisions will be extend until 30 September 2021, and the Commission has also updated the section on “AGMs and other meetings: postponing or cancelling meetings” to reflect their new approach to an extension for filing your annual return.
A copy of the updated guidance can be accessed here. Should you require any assistance in relation to any of this guidance, please do get in touch.
The Charity Commission issues alert to international aid charities to prevent exploitation and abuse
The Charity Commission published an alert on 24 June 2021 to more than 5,000 overseas aid charities to provide guidance on safeguarding. Whilst recognising the progress that has already been made by the sector since 2018, the alert highlights that further work is still required. The Commission provides a number of key steps for charities to follow, including:
- Develop reporting mechanisms having regard for the local context;
- Follow a “survivor-centred” approach when handling safeguarding incidents; and
- Join the Misconduct Disclosure Scheme to help to prevent individuals who pose a risk from moving between different organisations.
The full alert with recommendations can be accessed here.
Charity Commission updates guidance on preparing an annual return
The 2021 charity annual return service is now available, and the Charity Commission have updated its guidance “Prepare a charity annual return” to reflect its approach to filing extensions and have updated the excel document that lists the questions that are contained within the annual return.
The Supreme Court provides clarity on “statutory reverters” under section 2 of the School Sites Act 1841 in a recent judgment
In Rittson-Thomas & Ors v. Oxfordshire County Council  UKSC 13, the Supreme Court held that a school site which is subject to a statutory reverter under section 2 of the School Sites Act 1841 will not revert where the intention is to sell the site with vacant possession and “apply the money for the purchase or improvement of another (school) site”.
This decision not only provides guidance on the operation of statutory reverters, but it also provides more flexibility for how local educational authorities and charities can deal with land subject to a reverter. This decision will therefore likely be welcomed by the sector.
New fundraising guidance issued by the Fundraising Regulator
The Fundraising Regulator has published guidance for fundraisers and the public in relation to the Code of Fundraising Practice. The new guidance for fundraisers includes an explanation and examples of the four key values of the Code (open, honest, respectful and legal). The guidance for the public highlights the standards they should expect when asked to donate by fundraisers, how to find out further information, and an explanation of the different types of fundraisers.
The Government launches consultation on proposed business rates revaluations
The Government is consulting on the move to increase the frequency of revaluations for business rates from every five years to every three years. It is intended that this will make the businesses rates system in England fairer and more streamlined. This consultation forms part of the Government’s Fundamental Review of Business Rates, which is due to conclude in Autumn 2021.
The consultation can be viewed here, and closes on 24 August 2021.
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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