Policy Round-up: March 2017

ICO guidance on GDPR

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is consulting on its draft guidance on consent under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The guidance is designed to give more detailed, practical help for UK organisations on consent under the GDPR. See this ICO blog for more background and commentary.

The consultation is open until 31 March 2017.

Increase in probate fees

Following a consultation on fee proposals for grants of probate, the Government is proposing to change how probate fees are set: the current fixed fee of £155 is to be replaced with a a banded structure where the fees increase in line with the value of the estate, up to a maximum of £20,000. These changes are likely to have an adverse impact on charitable beneficiaries. The new rules will come into force in May, as announced by the Ministry of Justice.

Charity Commission guidance and consultation

Two pieces of Charity Commission guidance have been ‘refreshed’ over the last couple of weeks: “Charity Finances: Trustee Essentials (CC25)” and “Charity governance, finance and resilience: 15 questions trustees should ask”.

The Commission has also published operational guidance on disqualification of trustees. This relates to the new power to disqualify individuals from being trustees. Previously, only an Explanatory Statement and a Q&A document about the power were published on the Commission’s website.

The Commission has published a consultation paper on ‘The use and promotion of complementary and alternative: making decisions about charitable status’. The consultation is about the Commission’s approach to deciding whether an organisation which uses or promotes complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies is a charity.

The consultation will be open until 20 May 2017.

HMRC fit and proper person test

HMRC has updated its model declaration and guidance on the fit and proper persons test for individuals who manage charities, community amateur sports clubs (CASCs) and other organisations entitled to UK charity tax reliefs.  The model form now requires charity managers to make specific, detailed declarations that they have not used, or been involved in the design, or promotion of, tax avoidance schemes. Particular reference is made to the disclosure and promoters of tax avoidance schemes rules, and the general anti-abuse rule. Organisations will need to ask new trustees and managers to sign this updated declaration. At the moment however, it is not clear at this stage whether existing trustees and managers who signed the previous version should also be asked to sign the updated version.

Spring Budget

While it was a very quiet one for charities, the Budget earlier this month gave a clear indication of how the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, takes a more “strategic approach” than his predecessor. Read Michael’s analysis here.

Ilott v Mitson – good news for charity legacies?

By unanimous decision in the long-running case of Ilott v Mitson, the Supreme Court this month has ruled in favour of the charities involved, overturning the Court of Appeal’s previous award in favour of the deceased’s daughter.

Helpfully for charities, the Supreme Court has clarified that charities do not have to justify their position as beneficiaries, and that it is enough that a testator – exercising their testamentary freedom – chooses them. Indeed, if left a legacy, charities have a legal duty to ensure it comes to fruition and contributes to the charitable purpose for which it was left.

Webinar on Fundraising Code consultation

Earlier this month we hosted a webinar with the Fundraising Regulator to discuss the proposed changes set out in the consultation on the Code of Fundraising Practice. If you missed the webinar, you can watch a recording here.

The deadline for response to the consultation is the 28th April. The consultation document is available here.




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

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