Public Policy Round-Up: July 2017

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, previously referred to as the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ was introduced to Parliament on 13 July.

The Bill will have three main effects:

  • First, to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 (ECA) that enabled Britain to join the EU in 1973.
  • Second, the Bill will incorporate various types of EU law into domestic law.
  • Third, the Bill confers powers on Government Ministers which will enable them to repeal, amend, or replace the EU laws which have been converted into UK law by the Bill.

This is one of the most significant and potentially controversial pieces of legislation for this Parliament, and concerns have already been raised because of the broad powers granted to Ministers to make the legislation needed to facilitate the UK’s departure from the EU.

NCVO is part of a group of charities and wider civil society organisations that will be monitoring the passage of the Bill through Parliament, to ensure proper parliamentary scrutiny and that delegated legislation is not used to make substantial policy changes.

Please contact my colleague Chris Walker (chris.walker@ncvo.org.uk) if you would like to know more about the group and how to get involved.

 

Campaigning and political issues arising in the run-up to the 2017 General Election

The Commission has published its case report on campaigning and political activities in the run up to the 2017 General Election.

The report contains an analysis of some of the key issues that the Commission dealt with in cases it opened relating to campaigning and political activity by charities in the run-up to the General Election. The themes in the report include:

  • Visits to charities by prospective parliamentary candidates
  • Publishing educational material with political commentary or analysis
  • Providing explicit support for candidates and political parties
  • Use of charity material by candidates and political parties
  • Political activity by charity employees and trustees
  • Links with non-charitable organisations

The report also includes wider lessons for trustees, which are helpful to understand how the Commission’s CC9 guidance applies in practice and issues for trustees to consider when their charity undertakes a campaign.

 

House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civil Engagement – Call for evidence

The newly established House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civil Engagement has published its call for evidence.

The questions cover a number of important issues, from people’s identity as citizens to political engagement, the National Citizen Service and the role of society and education in supporting civic engagement.

NCVO will be responding to the Committee’s call for evidence, so if there is anything you would like to raise with us please get in touch with our Senior Parliamentary Office Chris Walker (chris.walker@ncvo.org.uk).

The deadline to make a submission is 8 September 2017.

 

Charity Governance Code launched

The revised version of the Charity Governance Code was published on 13th July, setting out a range of higher governance standards and measures which charities should be aiming to comply with.

Read Dan’s blog about the key changes of the new Code.

 

Fundraising Preference Service launched

The Fundraising Preference Service (“FPS”) was launched on 6th July by the Fundraising Regulator. The FPS enables members of the public to request that selected charities stop making direct marketing telephone calls or sending emails, text messages or addressed letters to them.

How the FPS works in practice is explained in this leaflet.

The FR has updated its FPS FAQs for charities to reflect the common questions being asked now that the service has been launched.

The FR has also uploaded a Public Register of charities to its website, to display all the charities that have registered with the FR including levy payers.

 

Public Law Toolkit – Save the Date

Bates Wells Braithwaite and NCVO would like to invite you to this seminar which will equip you with the public law tools to challenge decisions of public authorities and to use public law as a campaign tool. The seminar will take place on Thursday 12 October 2017, so save the date and I will be providing more details soon.

 

Clinks State of the Sector report

In collaboration with NCVO, Clinks have published their latest State of the Sector research.

The report is full of interesting findings, and although they focus on the criminal justice sector, issues such as the shifting funding landscape, increasing and changing service user needs, the need to develop more flexible and creative working, and a move towards recruiting more volunteers, will no doubt resonate with organisations working in all areas.

 

A youth-led approach to improving mental health

Involve has launched the final report for its project on youth mental health, MH:2K.

MH:2K is a pilot programme to improve young people’s mental health in Oldham. It has been led by 14-25 year olds working as volunteer ‘Citizen Researchers’ to identify the most important mental health challenges that young people face, and make recommendations for change to policy-makers. Their recommendations are really wide-ranging and include health professionals visiting religious buildings to give talks, mental health drop-ins at schools, and a free mediation service for extended families so young people’s voices are heard at home. Several of them are now being implemented in Oldham as a result of the programme.

 

Commission on Donor Experience final recommendations

The Commission on the Donor Experience has published its final outputs as part of its work to improve the relationship between charities and donors.

These include:

 

 

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Elizabeth Chamberlain Elizabeth is head of policy and public services at NCVO. She has been part of the policy team since 2008, as the expert on charity law and regulation. Her policy interests also include charity campaigning, the sector’s independence, transparency, and accountability.

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