Charity policy round-up: August 2019

As this past month has shown us, there is no more such as thing as a ‘quiet August’. And of course it ended with the unexpected announcements of a spending review and of a prorogation of Parliament. If you want to know more about what prorogation might mean for charities, read Chris’ blog.

For all the other policy developments relevant to charities, I hope you find my summary below helpful.

Sexual harassment in the workplace – key changes for charities and volunteering

The government has opened a consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace and the legal protections available under the Equality Act 2010. The changes that are being proposed are relevant to charities, both as employers and as volunteer-involving organisations.

Shaun Delaney has written a blog post explaining what the consultation is about, what the key issues are and what the implications might be.

NCVO will be submitting a response and we would like to hear your views about the proposals. Please email us at

No-deal Brexit funding for charities

Government departments have been asked to submit bids to the Treasury for extra funding for a no-deal departure from the EU. We have written to the new minister for civil society urging her to ensure that charities are not overlooked.

This means not only that funds available for no-deal planning should be explicitly open to charities, but also that government should set up a ‘resilient communities fund’ to particularly support community charities and help them mitigate the effects of a no-deal Brexit.

Read the full letter to Baroness Barran.

Charity chief executive pay

It wouldn’t be August without a story in the papers criticising how much some charity chief executives are paid. This time around, the article came courtesy of the Daily Mail.

Despite the article being predictably generic, and in some part inaccurate – for example comparing part-year salaries with full-year salaries – it is a strong reminder for all us that more can be done to better explain charities’ approach to pay.

In particular, the recommendations of the inquiry into senior pay in 2014 made it clear that charities should be more transparent about how they decide how much they pay. They can do this by:

  • publishing an annual statement explaining their charity’s ethos and policy on remuneration
  • explaining how this impacts on the delivery of their charitable purposes
  • reporting the actual remuneration, roles and names of individual, highest-paid staff.

I’m pleased that more charities are adopting these each year.

The Charity Commission in the meantime is expected to publish a report later this year covering senior staff pay, now that it has collected data on this through new questions in the annual return. It has also, in the case of Marie Stopes, made clear that it will take regulatory steps with individual charities where necessary.

New research on skills in charities

New NCVO research has analysed data from two national surveys to help us understand what skills are existent or missing in the sector’s current staff and job applicants.

The findings suggest that charities are employing highly qualified staff, but this may be at the cost of excluding people who face greater barriers to education and experience.

Report author Keeva Rooney has written a blog post drawing out some of the key findings and you can read the the full briefing here.

Safeguarding report-handling toolkit

BOND have published a toolkit to strengthen safeguarding report handling, to address the issue of under-reporting and provide best practice guidance.

The toolkit provides principles and a description of the core elements of a safeguarding report-handling mechanism. These can help charities evaluate their safeguarding reporting-handling mechanism, and identify strengths, weaknesses, or gaps.

Charity Commission safeguarding guidance – survey

In October 2018 the Commission launched refreshed guidance about Safeguarding and protecting people for charities and trustees.

The Commission is now seeking feedback on its current safeguarding guidance via this survey.

Inquiry into the future of the National Lottery

The DCMS Committee recently announced an inquiry to consider whether changes are needed in the operation of the National Lottery, as the process begins to award a new licence from 2023.

We have made a short submission to the inquiry, focusing on the issues of transparency and umbrella lotteries. In particular, we continue to urge for more transparency about the breakdown of lottery proceeds going towards prizes, expenses and good causes.

Exempt charities

The Charity Commission’s guidance on exempt charities (CC23) has been updated to include amended details of principal regulators and information about recent regulations that have come into force.




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

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