Charity policy round-up: May 2019

Safeguarding Training Fund: what users have told us

As announced in one of my previous blogs, NCVO is leading a partnership of organisations to deliver phase one of the Safeguarding Training Fund.

As part of this we have been carrying out extensive user research into how people search for information about safeguarding, and the findings are fascinating.

Read about the user research findings in Lauren’s blog.

Rebalancing the Relationships: take part in our call for evidence

We have launched a call for evidence as part of our project looking at competition and collaboration between large and small voluntary organisations bidding to deliver public services.

The purpose of the call for evidence is to get a broad understanding of how organisations experience and respond to the competitive environment.

Read Rebecca’s blog and make sure you have your say.

Registration of charitable trusts

HM Treasury has published a consultation on the implementation of the Fifth EU Money Laundering Directive (5MLD).

The Directive is due to be implemented by January 2020.  One of the proposals is to extend the requirement to register UK trusts – which was introduced following the Fourth Money Laundering Directive (4MLD) for UK trusts paying UK tax – to all UK trusts, whether they pay UK tax or not. Charitable trusts, which have not generally been required to register under 4MLD, would now need to register. There are no exceptions, and no minimum registration thresholds.

The consultation does make it clear that government is considering whether some existing registration services could be used for particular trust types, to avoid duplication: so might accept that charitable trusts which are already registered with the Charity Commission should not need to register again. But charitable trusts which fall below the Charities Act 2011 registration services would now need to register under 5MLD.

The consultation closes on 10 June 2019.

Companies House consultation

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has launched a consultation on reforms to the Companies House register of companies, with the aim of tackling economic crime by increasing transparency.

The proposed reforms include various steps designed to improve the accuracy of data on the register:

  • Verifying the identity of those with a key role in companies (including directors and people with significant control)
  • Giving Companies House powers to seek corroboration of new information and routine cross-checking of information with data held by other government bodies.

Implementation of the reforms is likely to be relevant to charities that are also registered as companies, and will probably involve an increase in Companies House charges.

The consultation closes on 5 August 2019.

Social Investment Tax Relief: call for evidence

Government has launched a consultation on Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR).

The aim of this call for evidence is to enable the government to understand how the Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) has been used since its introduction in 2014, including levels of take up and what impact it has had on social enterprises’ access to finance. This will help determine the future of the scheme which is due to expire in 2021.

The consultation closes on 17 July 2019.

Devolution

On the 20th anniversary of UK devolution, the Institute for Government published Devolution at 20, a comprehensive analysis of how devolution has worked in the UK.

This new report argues that devolution has been a qualified success in its first two decades, and identifies big challenges for the future of devolution. In particular, it says Brexit has put the relationship between the UK nations under serious pressure

HMRC eases Making Tax Digital requirements for fundraising events

HM Revenue & Customs has made it easier for charities that run fundraising events to comply with its upcoming digital reporting requirements. The department has added a new section to its Making Tax Digital VAT notice, relaxing the requirement for charities to use digital links when reporting on fundraising events:

“Where supplies are made or received during a charity fundraising event run by volunteers you may treat all supplies made as covered by one invoice for the event, and all supplies received as covered by one invoice for the event, for the purposes of the digital record keeping requirements.”

Cyber crime

The Charity Commission has updated its guidance on protecting charities from fraud and cyber crime to include a new section about the cyber security toolkit for boards.

Good governance for safeguarding: A guide for UK NGO boards

Bond’s cross-sector safeguarding group published a new guide for charities on good governance for safeguarding.

The guide provides practical advice for trustees of UK-based NGOs suggesting ways in which they can take the lead on safeguarding. Although it focuses on the oversight and governance role of UK NGOs’ boards of trustees, it will undoubtedly be of benefit to all charities.

The guide reflects current guidance, in particular the various guidance and expectations disseminated by the Charity Commission and the Department for International Development last year.

Investing in quality: the contribution of large charities to shaping future health and care

The King’s Fund has published ‘Investing in quality: the contribution of large charities to shaping future health and care’.

By examining the work of six charities, the authors highlight the important and strategic role that large charities play in the health and care system. The report outlines how these charities have developed approaches to improving care that could help to tackle some of the most pressing policy challenges in health and care.

The report also reflects on how voluntary and community sector organisations can maximise their impact, in particular by sharing innovations and taking a long-term view of where they can best add value to people and communities in need of support.

 

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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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