Charity policy round-up: February 2020

Rebalancing the Relationship: Emerging findings and draft recommendations

We are over halfway through our Rebalancing the Relationship project, which explores how large and small voluntary organisations bidding to deliver services can work better with, and alongside, one another.

This interim report includes both emerging findings as well as draft recommendations for organisations.

The draft recommendations are based on good practice from organisations we have engaged with. We would like to hear what you think. Do these findings reflect your experience? Would these recommendations help you to work in a more collaborative way? What type of support would you need to adopt these recommendations? Your feedback will help us to develop the final recommendations and consider what support we may need to offer organisations.

If you would like to have your say, please read the report and email a brief response to by midday 27 March 2020.

New immigration system

Following the government’s announcement of the new immigration system, we’ve had a look at how the proposals will work and what they could mean for charities.

There are still areas of uncertainty, but given that the new system is set to come into effect as soon as January 2021 it is important for charities to prepare as much as they can.

So read the blog and NCVO’s guidance on charities and Brexit.

Budget 2020 submission

In advance of the budget on 11 March, NCVO has written to the chancellor in partnership with other charity infrastructure bodies, setting out how the government can support the social and economic infrastructure needed for communities to thrive.

Our proposals call on the government to:

  • review the funding for local authorities in order to reduce the financial strain on public services
  • release more details about the long-awaited UK shared prosperity fund (UKSPF)
  • create a community wealth fund using money from the next wave of dormant assets, to create a long-term endowment for deprived communities
  • increase support for communities and environmental causes by working with charities to implement the recommendations of the independent Charity Tax Commission.

Charity Commission complaints report

The regulator has published a review of the complaints and reports about charities that fall below the threshold for regulatory action.

The lack of direct regulatory action is because:

  • they were not serious enough, or not supported by enough evidence, to justify direct regulatory action
  • the charity had taken appropriate action already.

The aim of this report is to share learning about the matters raised by the public, so I would recommend reading it.

This commentary of the report by Anne-Marie Piper at Farrers is also worth a read.

Fundraising Regulator complaints report

The Fundraising Regulator has also published its latest complaints report.

The report includes examples of the regulator’s casework, provides analysis of complaints reported by charities and shares learning from the investigations carried out.

The key themes emerging from investigations include:

  • safeguarding vulnerable people
  • the use of misleading information in fundraising communications
  • a failure to observe ‘no charity bag’ signs when fundraising using clothing collections.

The Fundraising Regulator has also commissioned an independent evaluation of the Fundraising Preference Service. This includes a questionnaire for organisations which needs to be completed by 23 March.

Consultation on expanding the dormant assets scheme

The government has launched a consultation on its proposals to expand the dormant assets scheme to include new financial assets.

The current scheme enables participating firms to voluntarily channel funds from dormant accounts (cash accounts with at least 15 years of customer inactivity) towards good causes. The proposed expansion would include new dormant financial assets such as the proceeds of savings endowments, term insurance, whole-of-life assurance, investment bonds, share proceeds, and investment asset distributions and proceeds.

The consultation closes on 16 April 2020.

Impact and Learning: The pillars of stronger foundation practice

ACF’s Stronger Foundations initiative aims to identify and help foundations pursue excellent practice.

This latest report Impact and Learning: The pillars of stronger foundation practice focuses on foundations achieving impact in pursuit of their own missions as charities, and calls on foundations to understand the total impact they are making with all their resources, avoid harmful processes, and learn from failure.

In a similar vein, New Philanthropy Capital has published Understanding Impact, a new report to help charities and funders who are looking to gain more useful insights into their work.

Trust Registration Service

At the end of January HMRC and HM Treasury published a consultation into the proposed extension of the Trust Registration Service as a result of the Fifth Money Laundering Directive.

Government’s proposal was that the rules should not be extended to charitable trusts: this is because the risk of these kinds of trusts being used for money laundering or terrorist financing activity – which is what the Directive is intended to prevent – is low.

The consultation closed on 21 February and NCVO submitted its response jointly with ACF, Bond and CFG (PDF, 300KB), to support the government’s proposal that charitable trusts are not in scope to register with the Trust Registration Service as they are well regulated and deemed to be low risk by government.

Commission on social investment

Lord Victor Adebowale CBE, Chair of Social Enterprise UK, has announced the creation of a new commission on social investment.

The commission will examine the current state of the social investment market, and the wider products and services available in mainstream finance. It will make practical recommendations for government, social investors and social enterprises on what needs to grow the wider investment market.


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

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