Last week the Electoral Commission published updated guidance for “non-party campaigners”, which includes charities and not for profits. See this Bates Wells briefing explaining why we have welcomed the new guidance, and for links to a suite of free resources to help charities navigate the rules around campaigning.
At a glance
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has published its annual review of adult social care complaints for 2018/19.
The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has published a reminder about where to find guidance on the political campaigning rules for Scottish charities.
ICSA: The Governance Institute has changed its name to become The Chartered Governance Institute.
Name of organisation
Bristol Sheltered Accommodation & Support Limited (1136521)
The inquiry was opened to investigate continuing concerns about the charity, including payments to trustees, conflicts of interest and financial controls and governance. The inquiry discovered that five residents had died at Wick House, a hostel operated by the charity, since 2014.
The report is critical of the trustees’ failure to show that they had addressed the lessons from serious incidents involving the well-being of beneficiaries, including their failure to report the deaths of residents to the regulator.
The commission says that this and other cases have highlighted wider issues around the oversight of supported accommodation which it is discussing with government, and other decision makers.
Anything unusual e.g. unusual facts or novel/rare use of Commission’s powers
In August 2019 (i.e. towards the end of the inquiry), the charity was issued with an Official Warning which stipulates that the charity is to ensure that all serious incidents, including safeguarding related incidents, are promptly reported to the commission. The warning also contains provisions about dealing with conflicts of interest and trustee benefits.
Two of the former trustees signed voluntary undertakings offered to them by the inquiry and have undertaken not to act as trustees of a charity for periods of four and five years.
The commission has issued a news story about reporting fraud, highlighting the need to use the online form for serious incident reporting.
The commission has published a report about its approach to whistleblowing and the reports that it received between 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019. The commission publishes this report as part of its duty in The Prescribed Persons (Reports on Disclosures of Information) Regulations 2017 to report annually on the whistleblowing disclosures that have been made to it. The commission received 185 whistleblowing disclosures between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019, up from 101 disclosures during the previous year. Over 90% of disclosures are received from employees and ex-employees of charities. The commission says that safeguarding concerns are reported most frequently, which is a change from governance issues in recent years and the most common action the commission took in response to the disclosure was to provide advice to charities.
Bates Wells’ Cecile Gillard has written “Your charity’s constitution – a new guide”. The guide is available free of charge to members of the Association of Chairs (AoC) and people who have joined the AoC Beacon programme which is a programme open to Chairs and Vice Chairs of smaller charities in England with an income under £1m.
ICSA: The Governance Institute has changed its name to become The Chartered Governance Institute. It changed its name by grant of a Supplemental Charter on 16 September (following consultation and a vote at the Institute’s AGM in September 2018). See their announcement here.
NCVO has launched the Trusted Charity Essentials tool – a free online health check designed especially for small charities, voluntary and community groups. It benchmarks a charity’s work in 10 key areas and helps assess impact and use of your resources.
NCVO has published a summary of highlights from the annual Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference which took place in September.
Elections and campaigning
Last week the Electoral Commission published updated guidance for non-party campaigners, which includes charities and not for profits. This Bates Wells briefing sets out the reasons why we have welcomed the new guidance. We’ve also prepared a suite of resources and guidance to help charities to negotiate the rules around campaigning. Click here to view.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) has announced that it has concluded its investigation into Better for the Country (BFTC), Leave.EU and two named individuals and found no evidence of criminal offences under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) or company law. The investigation centred upon loans totalling £8 million provided to BFTC and Leave.EU and followed a referral to the NCA by the Electoral Commission.
Also see under Scotland below.
Baroness Barran, the recently appointed minister for civil society gave an interview to Civil Society Media regarding her top priorities for charities. She mentions that the government are looking into the demands placed on charities that may arise due to Brexit but did not give specific details into what charities can expect in way of replacement EU funding in the form of the Shared Prosperity Fund.
Hansard have released the details of a discussion in the Commons concerning the UKSPF – charities and the sector were specifically mentioned several times within the discussions claiming that without the appropriate funding those who require the aid and money most of all will suffer.
NCVO have released a useful note on no-deal Brexit and the voluntary sector including a look into the effects on charities and their beneficiaries.
NCVO have released their Charity Policy Round-Up which includes a piece focusing on Brexit funding for charities. The piece details that Government departments have been asked to submit bids to the Treasury for extra funding for a no-deal departure from the EU and that NCVO have written to the new minister of civil society to ensure that charities are not overlooked during the process.
Over the next few days, Chancellor Sajid Javid is due to announce a package of measures to “support the next generation, promote economic growth, and prepare for a post-Brexit future”. So far, he has confirmed that that the total amount covered by the Government’s guarantee to organisations in receipt of certain EU programme funding (such as the European Regional Development Fund and Horizon 2020) will be £4.3bn in 2019/20 and £16.6bn over its lifetime.
Health and Social Care
The European health sector stakeholders’ group came together in the European Parliament on 12 September to discuss the Parliament’s role in prioritising patients, public health and health security across Europe in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit, with particular emphasis on the possible impact on medicine supply chains, patients and medical research.
The Government has committed to funding healthcare for over 180,000 UK nationals living in the EU for 6 months following Brexit if we leave without a deal.
The HSJ has released an article stating that ‘mini-deal’ agreements are needed in order to keep both EU and UK patients safe due to concerns that despite all the planning for Brexit, a no-deal will affect people’s health.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has updated its guidance to help stakeholders prepare for the UK leaving the EU without a deal in place. Marketing authorisation holders, qualified persons for pharmacovigilance and parallel import licence holders will need to be established in the UK by 31 July 2021.
NHS England have updated their resources in relation to ‘Enabling staff movement’ and have updated their toolkit in an effort to assist with the recruitment of qualified medical personnel from overseas.
NHS England have released guidance in relation to data and preparing for the EU Exit. The practical guidance looks at the frequently asked questions in relation to data protection in a no-deal EU exit.
NHS England have released a brief guide for the NHS in relation to what Brexit means for EU research funding.
The Government have asked for public feedback on the UK’s proposed approach to cyber security certification following the UK’s departure from the EU.
The ICO have released guidance to help small businesses and organisations prepare for data protection compliance after a no-deal Brexit.
Faith based organisations
In open letters to the Prime Minister, cross-denominational Church leaders recently called on the government to publish evidence of the impact a no-deal Brexit would have on disadvantaged communities; leaders from over 100 faith organisations lobbied Boris Johnson to urgently resettle more refugees and 25 bishops from the Church of England warned the government against showing “a cavalier disregard” for Parliament by proroguing Parliament.
The House of Commons Library have published an insight piece on the EU immigration policy in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The government has announced revised immigration arrangements that will apply in the event of a no-deal Brexit to EU citizens (including citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, but excluding Irish citizens) and their family members living in the UK before Brexit, and to those arriving after Brexit. These arrangements replace those set out in the policy paper published on 28 January 2019. The new arrangements include:
- A transition period from the date of Brexit until 31 December 2020, during which time EU citizens who move to the UK for the first time will be able to apply for a 36-month temporary immigration status, called European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR). Applications to the new Euro TLR scheme will be simple and free and will be made after arrival in the UK.
- EU citizens who move to the UK for the first time after Brexit and who do not apply for Euro TLR will need to leave the UK by 31 December 2020, unless they have applied for and obtained a UK immigration status under the UK’s new points-based immigration system (due to be implemented in January 2021), or otherwise have a right to remain in the UK.
- Time spent in the UK with Euro TLR status will count towards settlement.
- There will be some visible changes at the UK border, and tougher rules for criminals, but otherwise EU citizens will be able to cross the UK border as now.
The House of Commons have released a report on Brexit and the effects on the agriculture and environment generally, including an analysis of the effects on new regulations and trade in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The Department of International Trade (DIT) has announced the launch of an online service enabling British businesses to report any barriers to overseas trade that they may be facing. Trade barriers are wide-ranging and cover tariffs, non-tariff or overseas direct investment restrictions that block or delay investments, exports or the potential to do business overseas. The online service gives the following examples:
- Regulations in an overseas market preventing a business from exporting or investing there.
- A requirement to pay unnecessary charges to supply services overseas that gives an advantage to domestic suppliers.
- Delays in goods getting to market due to lengthy customs procedures.
Once a barrier has been reported using the new service, it will be forwarded to the DIT’s global trade team who will assess those barriers and work with other governments to resolve them.
Code of Fundraising Practice
Don’t forget that the new Code of Fundraising Practice comes into force on 1st October!
See under Brexit above.
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LG&SCO) has published its annual review of adult social care complaints for 2018-19. According to the report, the level of fault finding has risen to 66% (a 4% increase from the previous year) and 8% higher than all other case work. The report shows that during 2018-19 the LG&SCO:
- Upheld 73% of its investigations about residential care (up 5%) and charging for social care (up 6%).
- Completed 1,220 investigations, 8% more than the previous year.
- Only experienced a single instance of a local authority or care provider failing to comply with its recommendations.
Inspiring Scotland: Survivors of Childhood Abuse Support Fund now open. The new £10 million fund aims to help organisations improve access to services which can reduce the impact of inequalities and disadvantage experienced as a result of childhood abuse. The deadline for bids is Friday 1 November 2019.
Stars or strategies – who to back? The impact investment dilemma. Russell Hargrave, Media Manager at NPC, writes for the Pioneers Post/EVPA Impact Papers series, looking at how investors have different approaches and philosophies around risk and judgement.
Social investment partners join forces to provide capacity-building support for heritage organisations. RePlan is part of the Heritage Impact Fund initiative which launched earlier this year, a £7m UK-wide social investment loan fund that provides tailored loan finance, such as acquisition or working capital loans, for charities and social enterprises to help them deliver economic and social impact from the re-use of UK’s historic buildings.
The Cabinet Office has published:
- the Community Resilience Development Framework – this guidance helps emergency planners ensure communities are central to emergency planning, response and recovery; and
- Planning the coordination of Spontaneous Volunteers Guidance – this is guidance for emergency responders to assist in the planning, coordination and management of spontaneous offers of support from the public during an emergency.
Civil Society reports a number of international development charities have raised concerns about government plans to spend £1bn on climate science research, which they fear could divert money from the aid budget.
The government has made various funding announcements including:
- £515 million to help get over 12 million children – half of them girls – into school.
- a new UK aid package which will “help mobilise £500 million in private sector investment and create 50,000 jobs across sub-Saharan Africa”.
- new package of UK aid to the Rohingya crisis.
See under Brexit above.
The UK Government is co-creating a global partnership to help protect one billion people in developing countries from the impact of extreme weather events. The Risk-Informed Early Action Partnership will help deliver earlier warnings of potential disasters such as typhoon and hurricanes, and the UK government is contributing £85 million in funding to the partnership.
The government has announced a new £220 million fund to save endangered animals.
Faith based organisations
See under Brexit above.
The Prime Minister has appointed Rehman Chishti MP as his Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, succeeding the Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon. The role’s responsibilities include:
- bringing together the efforts of Government, faith actors and civil society to promote the UK’s stance on religious tolerance abroad;
- to continue to lead the implementation of the recommendations from the recent independent review into FCO support for persecuted Christians, led by the Bishop of Truro; and
- to be a dedicated champion on the issue of religious freedom.
The Chartered Governance Institute (formerly ICSA) has published its response to the consultation on corporate transparency and register reform.
The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has published a reminder about where to find guidance on the political campaigning rules for Scottish charities.
OSCR is publicising changes to the fundraising code.
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is publicising changes to the fundraising code.
Disclaimer – The information contained in this update is not intended to be a comprehensive update – it is our selection of the website announcements 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.
This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.
All content on this page is correct as of October 1, 2019.