Governance round-up: July 2017

New Charity Governance Code launched

The headline story this month has to be the launch of the new Charity Governance Code. After almost a year in development and having received over 200 responses to our consultation, the Code represents a collective contribution to strengthening charity governance from and by the sector. The final draft has benefited from the insight of our chair Rosie Chapman and the cross-sector steering group.

The Charity Commission has also endorsed the code and withdrawn its Hallmarks of Effective Charities guidance in favour of supporting the Code. Sarah Atkinson, the Commission’s director of policy and communications, said ‘the latest edition of the Code has raised the bar in response to the challenges that the sector has faced over the last two years’

The Code is deliberately aspirational, and it will without doubt be a stretch to achieve some elements of its recommended practice. This is intentional as we want the Code to be a tool for continuous improvement rather than a tick-box exercise. My blog from last week tells you more about what is new, how to use it and what NCVO is doing to support trustees in adopting the code.

Information Commissioner to speak at NCVO/BWB Trustee Conference ahead of the biggest change to data protection law for a generation

In 2018, new regulations come into force intended to give individuals greater control over how organisations use their data. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will affect how charities work with data and look after this valuable information. Alongside a range of workshops on other governance topics, Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham will deliver a key note speech at this year’s Trustee Conference ahead of the GDPR changes.

The new laws are more detailed and carry the potential for hefty financial penalties. We recommend you plan for this now. This conference will be your first step toward becoming GDPR compliant. If you are unable to make the conference but interested in the topic then we run training on GDPR and the ICO has published guidance on how to ensure you are ready for the changes.

Winifred Tumim Prize

Applications are now open for the Winifred Tumim Prize for best practice in charity governance.

If you’ve improved the effectiveness of your governance and delivered greater public benefit as a charity in line with the new Governance Code you could be in with a chance of winning.

Find out more and apply today.

People with significant control (PSC) changes

Companies, whether charities or social enterprises, need to be aware of the increased information requirements in respect of people with significant control (PSC) implemented from 26 June 2017.

Companies were required to make updates to their PSC registers but were not required to notify Companies House until the next annual Confirmation Statement was due, this has now changed. Companies are now required to update their register within 14 days of a change and send the information to Companies House within a further 14 days. Forms PSC01 to PSC09 should be used for notifying Companies House of the changes. The Confirmation Statement will no longer be used for changes to the PSC information.

Since April 2016, unlisted UK companies and LLPs have been required to keep a register of PSCs – these are people who own or control their company.  Broadly speaking, this is an individual who meets one or more of the following:

  • Holds more than 25% of shares in the company
  • Holds more than 25% of voting rights in the company
  • Holds the right to appoint or remove the majority of the board of directors of the company
  • Has the right to exercise, or actually exercises, significant influence or control over the company (in certain circumstances)
  • Holds a significant influence or control over the activities of a trust or firm, where such trust or firm would satisfy one of the above conditions if it were an individual (in certain circumstances)

Despite the above referring to individuals, relevant legal entities (RLE’s) will also need to be on the register where they own and control companies.

From the commission…

  • The commission has published its 2017 Trust and Confidence in the Charity Commission survey  which reports that public trust in the Commission has held steady since 2015 (at 6.0).
  • The commission has posted an update and guidance about its online services and their top queries which include changing your correspondence or email address, submitting an annual return and response times for general queries.

Upcoming training and events…

Dan Francis is NCVO’s governance consultant. For more regular updates follow @mynameisdanfran or @NCVO on Twitter.

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Dan is responsible for NCVO’s governance consultancy offer, focusing on governance reviews, board performance and trustee training. He joined NCVO from the National Union of Students (NUS) where, as a long standing consultant, he supported the organisational development of local students’ unions as charities.

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