The five-minute policy manager: February 2016

With a few days delay, here is my overview of key policy issues happening in February and of interest to charities and colleagues across the sector.

EU referendum

We recently held a breakfast learning session to discuss the rules that apply to charity campaigning and what these will mean for those wanting to engage in the EU referendum.

We had presentations from:

The Charity Commission also announced that it will be producing some supplementary guidance specifically on the EU referendum, which will be helpful considering the importance of this issue for many charities.

Fundraising – the latest on the ‘Fundraising Preference Service’

The Fundraising Preference Service working group has today published a ‘conversation paper’ setting out some of the key proposals developed by the working group and inviting comment on the questions that arise.

We have also produced a diagram which outlines how the FPS might be structured.

Charities and others are invited to submit comments to the working group chair George Kidd up until 31 March.

National Audit Office review of regulation

The National Audit Office is consulting businesses and civil society organisations on the Better Regulation Executive’s approach to reducing regulatory burdens.

In particular, the NAO is interested in the following:

  • What are the costs and benefits of regulations?
  • How does regulation impact on organisations?
  • Do departments and regulators consult enough when measuring and evaluating the actual impact of regulation?

The closing date for submissions is Friday 11 March 2016.

New guidance on grants to non-charities

The Commission has published draft guidance on ‘grant funding an organisation that isn’t a charity’.

The Commission has clarified that this guidance is taken from other existing guidance rather than representing any new regulatory requirement. The guidance includes sections on:

  • establishing whether another organisation is or is not a charity
  • understanding your charity’s purposes
  • risk assessment and assurance
  • setting the terms of the grant
  • monitoring
  • situations where extra care and scrutiny are needed.

Although the guidance will not be subject to a formal consultation, the guidance has been published in draft so that comments can be made to inform the final version. The deadline for doing so is 8 April 2016.

Gift Aid donor benefit rules

The Treasury has begun a consultation on simplifying the Gift Aid donor benefit rules. This follows a call for evidence last year.

Amongst the proposals one is to simplify the current monetary thresholds that are used to determine the amount of benefit that can be given for a Gift Aided donation (‘the relevant value’ test).

The closing date for the consultation is 12 May 2016.

Charity Commission charging

At its annual public meeting earlier this week, the Charity Commission announced that it will consult in the spring on charging charities for regulation.

NCVO is waiting to see the detail of these proposals and we will work with our members to inform our response.


The future of charity regulation

Find out more about this and get the latest updates on charity regulation from our policy team in our Annual Conference workshop on 18 April 2016.

Find out more about NCVO Annual Conference 2016


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Elizabeth was head of policy and public services at NCVO until 2020.

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