Coronavirus – Companies House
Companies House has updated its coronavirus guidance, making it clear that payment breaks for late filing penalties have now ended. If an extension is not applied for before the filing date and accounts are filed late, an automatic penalty will be imposed.
The Cabinet Office has launched a consultation on how the government should engage with business and civil society on implementation of the UK-EU trade and co-operation agreement. The purpose of the consultation, which closes on 14 September 2021, is to seek views on the government’s approach to a domestic advisory group representing independent civil society organisations and a civil society forum, both provided for in the agreement, and more generally on government interaction with business and civil society regarding the implementation of the agreement.
In the latest of our blogs on the Charities Bill, senior associate Mark Abbott examines how the Bill could make life easier for trustees dealing with defective trustee appointments; seeking remuneration for providing goods to charity or payment for work already done where payment was not authorised; as well as reducing red tape for corporate trustees needing trust corporation status.
Upcoming webinars for charities
The commission will be running a joint webinar with the organisation SFI (Strengthening Faith Institutions) on managing places of worship as trustees on Thursday 19 August.
The commission is also participating in a BOND webinar on safeguarding in international aid on Wednesday 25 August.
The commission has announced that it has opened a statutory inquiry into the MB Foundation (also known as the Mossad Horav Aryeh Halevy), a charity which says it provides financial support to help relieve sickness and poverty. The commission says that scrutiny of the accounts and information received from the trustees raised concerns about the charity’s governance, in particular, the trustees’ handling of conflicts of interest. The charity, whose trustees are all brothers, carried out several transactions with companies and individuals directly connected to the trustees or the trustees’ family members, including a total of four loans to a connected company totalling over £1.7M.
The commission has also announced a statutory inquiry into the Olive Grove Foundation, a charity with purposes to help people affected by poverty, wars or natural disasters anywhere in the world. The regulator had previously engaged with the charity over concerns about its expenditure in high-risk areas of the world. The commission says its current concerns include, but are not limited to, poor governance, poor monitoring of charitable funds and the use of a personal bank account to transfer money overseas.
As part of the Environmental Bill, the government has opened a consultation on plans for new Local Nature Recovery Strategies, which aim to help local communities work together on nature recovery and environmental issues. Local authorities and public bodies are encouraged to take part in the consultation (the deadline for response is Tuesday 2 November).
The government is to review green electricity tariffs and tighten rules to stop ‘greenwashing’, amid concerns that some retailers are exaggerating their environmentally friendly credentials.
Projects that tackle climate change and protect the world’s ocean have been given a £16.2 million funding boost from the UK’s Blue Plant Fund.
International data transfers
The ICO has published a consultation on data transfers from the UK. It includes:
- A new international data transfer agreement
- A new international transfer risk assessment and tool
- A draft addendum to the EU Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs)
Bates Wells’ Victoria Hordern comments “The good news is that the ICO has included a UK addendum to the EU SCCs which will enable companies entering into agreements which involve data transfers from the EU and the UK to rely on the EU SCCs and append the UK Addendum to comply with UK law. So this should simplify matters for global organisations when they’re entering into agreements involving EU and UK operations where data is being transferred cross-border. This is a public consultation process (ending on 7th October) so it’s not set in stone but shows the direction of travel. Until these documents are finalised, it is prudent for UK organisations transferring data from the UK to still follow the approved EU documents (e.g. EU SCCs) and EDPB guidance on the transfer risk assessment as has been indicated by the ICO.”
Data protection and employment
The ICO has also launched a call for views to help it create “practical employment guidance where personal data is used, that supports both employers and staff”. Click on this link to the survey. The consultation closes on 21 October 2021.
The think tank Pro Bono Economics has published its report, ‘Purpose: On Parallel Tracks’, on how the private and civil society sectors can better work together, particularly for small social sector organisations, with recommendations to bring these sectors onto a single journey towards purpose, in order to generate gains for society as a whole. Civil Society provides commentary on the report’s focus and recommendations.
Social investment and social impact investing news
Everyone in: how a government grant is helping to power ambitious housing funds. Pioneers Post reports on the progress of the 3-year social investment pilot, funded by the UK government and Big Society Capital, to provide homes for people sleeping rough in England. The article explains that the pilot is leveraging further investment, with those involved hoping it will encourage similar partnerships between impact investors and the public sector, while engaging specialist charities and social enterprises.
A number of Police and Crime Commissioners have successfully bid for funding to support programmes tackling domestic abuse and improving safety for victims. Some of the bids are in collaboration with charities.
£232 million will be provided by the government to support GB and Northern Ireland athletes in preparation for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
An expert panel has been created from across the housing sector to advise the government on the delivery on the social housing white paper. Members of the panel include the charities Shelter, HACT and the TAROE Trust.
The government will invest an additional £2 million into the #iwill Fund, which will be matched by the National Lottery Community Fund. The fund will be used to create new volunteering, social action and community activities for young people.
Pupils have received their GCSE, AS and A level results as well as results for vocational and technical qualifications. Ofqual has produced guides to the results (for GCSEs, AS and A Levels and VTQs) that help explain this year’s outcomes.
Schools Week reports an academy trust has threatened to take its battle with ministers to the High Court after being told for a second time it will be stripped of funding for an ‘inadequate’ academy.
The latest ESFA academies update can be found here.
Ofqual has announced the exam arrangements for vocational and technical arrangements for 2021/22, confirming that teacher-assessed grades are to end.
The latest ESFA further education update can be found here.
A record number of students will take up university places with more than 210,000 students accepting offers. The Student Loans Company has also offered support to students going through Clearing.
Additional funding for high cost courses has been announced by the Office for Students, increasing support for universities and colleges taking on additional undergraduates.
Stephen Lloyd Awards
Entrants with an early-stage project addressing a social problem in an innovative manner are invited to apply before 31 August 2021. Winners receive funding of up to £20,000, along with an opportunity to receive valuable pro bono support from experts in the charity and social enterprise sector. For full details on the application process and how to apply, please visit www.stephenlloydawards.org or email Mona Rahman at [email protected].
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Return to the Office webinar series– next instalment 2 September, 11am
How has your organisation been dealing with plans to return to the office? Our new free employment webinar series includes topics such as remote performance management; a guide to long covid for HR professionals; and data protection and the challenges of online working, among others. Watch the recording of a previous session, Flexible working requests – what does the law require and what does the future hold?
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 August 16, 2021.