If you missed WVSC’s recent employment law training delivered by Higgs & Sons Solicitors, a West Midlands based law firm, you missed a golden opportunity.

 

They provided a useful update on both the New Charity Governance Code and the New Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 noting that the Charity Commission has welcomed proposals to make the Code more rigorous in response to changing needs and public expectations and that the update to the Code is “radical” and contains some “fundamental changes”. Here are the highlights:

 

New Charity Governance Code

The aim of the Code is to raise standards in various areas. It incorporates seven principles:-

       Organisation purpose and direction

       Leadership

       Integrity

       Decision-making

       Risk and control

       Diversity

       Board effectiveness

       Openness and accountability

 

There is a renewed emphasis on the Chair’s role in promoting good governance with several recommendations for Boards including; recognising and welcoming diverse and challenging views and ensuring that charities operate responsibly and ethically.

 

New Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016

The Charities Act 2016 clarifies and amends the law relating to social investment with a focus on charities investing money in a way which does not just seek to make a financial return, but also aims in some way to further a charity’s objects. It also gives additional powers to the Charity Commission to deal with abuse of charities, including power to disqualify trustees.

 

From 1 November 2016, the Charity Commission has the power to issue an official warning to charities or trustees where there is misconduct, mismanagement, or a breach of trust or duty. Failure to remedy a breach specified in a warning can automatically trigger a range of further regulatory activity.

 

Fundraising Review

There has also been a Fundraising Review conducted by Sir Stuart Etherington – The Chief Executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). This was prompted by concerns raised in the media about charity fundraising practices and is aimed at restoring public confidence. The Act includes three new controls on charity fundraising.

 

Fundraising Regulator

A new body, the Fundraising Regulator, oversees good practice in fundraising and will operate a new Fundraising Preference Service, due to launch in the summer of 2017. It allows individuals to register a desire not to be contacted by charities with any form of solicitation for money. The Fundraising Regulator and Charity Commission have developed a FAQ document about new fundraising rules.

 

EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The Brexit View is that the UK will need to implement at least some of the key provisions of GDPR as the UK needs to offer an ‘adequate level of protection’ (determined by the European Commission) before data exchanges can take place from countries in the EU to the UK.

One of the main changes that charities need to be aware of is concerning consent from individuals to the processing of their personal data; this must be unambiguous and given by means of clear affirmative action.

 

There are certain things that charities can be doing now including for example:

        Undertaking a data protection focused audit

        Reviewing existing supplier agreements and data processing agreements

        Reviewing internal policies (including data protection policy) and procedures

 

Reporting Serious Incidents – current regime

There has been a requirement to report to the Charity Commission since 2007. Responsibility for such reporting rests with trustees. In terms of good practice, any serious incident should be reported immediately, not just on completion of the annual return

 

Key Changes to Regime

The draft updated guidance includes a new checklist and a table of examples to help trustees understand when to report something to the Charity Commission, or to the police or to another regulator.

 

Gift Aid

There is also updated information on Gift Aid.

 

For the full powerpoint presentation, please contact me at snanan-sen@wolverhamptonvsc.org.uk

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