Friday, 7 April 2017

The Select Committee report: what was said and what comes next

Stronger charities for a stronger society

The Select Committee on Charities has published its report into charity pressures. David Cook, WCVA Policy Officer, examines some of the recommendations and looks at the input the sector had into the report

(Source: WCVA)


Last week was a momentous one as the UK triggered Article 50, published a Great Repeal Bill White Paper, and the EU responded with an outline of negotiating priorities. What does this mean for the sector, and what should it be doing to respond? Trigger happy?
The UK triggered the once-obscure Article 50 clause in the same week that the rest of the EU celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which laid the foundations for ‘an ever-closer union among the peoples of Europe’. While the mood in Brussels was funereal, the public feeling in the UK is more divided than ever. According to Britain Thinks, there now appear to be four prevailing outlooks on Brexit: the die-hards, cautious optimists, accepting pragmatists, and devastated pessimists. We need as many people as possible in the middle two categories, and that goes for decision makers, as well as those seeking to influence decision makers.

Time is of the essence

The future is uncertain, and the scale of change will be dictated by the outcome of the UK-EU negotiations. A close trading relationship (that is looking more likely than it was) might result in relatively few dramatic changes, whereas no trade deal threatens to wreak havoc on the UK’s trade and regulatory landscape, with almost  no sector left unscathed. The clock is ticking for organisations to get to grips with how different Brexit scenarios might affect them, and for them to affect Brexit. To help our members prepare, we will be developing a ‘Brexit Planner’, so they ask themselves the right questions and can respond accordingly.
Notwithstanding a possible extension to flesh out the details and a likely implementation phase, organisations should work to the assumption that most key decisions will be made before ‘Brexit day’ on 30 March 2019. Moreover, due to events such as the French and German elections, most of the substantive negotiations will take place in a small window of opportunity between autumn 2017 and autumn 2018. This is also the window of opportunity for the voluntary sector to be influencing those negotiations.

Extinguishing regulatory bonfires

Many of our most important laws are currently derived from the EU, from employment rights to the protection of rare wildlife.  These laws, often hard won by our members, are under attack by those who are ideologically opposed to regulation. They claim that regulation is a block on economic growth, and see Brexit as an opportunity to weaken or remove huge swathes of it. Not only does this fail to recognise the social and environmental benefits of regulation – from clean beaches to employment rights – it misunderstands the economic impacts of regulation. Taking environmental regulation as just one example, research from the London School of Economics shows that it makes only a small difference to productivity, only marginally affects international competitiveness, and crucially – the benefits vastly outweigh any costs.
It’s the government’s intention to transfer as much EU law into UK law as possible following Brexit, and this should be welcomed. Given the huge volume of EU law that will need to be converted, ministers will need to make technical changes (eg removing references to the EU) during this process, using ‘delegated powers’ that allow them to make changes without full parliamentary oversight. However, it’s crucial that the ‘great repeal bill’ (its actual name is likely to be more prosaic) does not allow the government to make material changes to legislation without parliamentary oversight.  So we welcome the government’s commitments in the great repeal bill white paper that ministers will only use delegated powers to make technical changes. But what constitutes ‘technical’ is open to interpretation and civil society will need to be hyper-vigilant to ensure that material changes are not made via delegated powers. Indeed, some organisations are already making lists of the technical amendments that would be necessary to convert EU law into UK law, so they can react quickly to any unnecessary changes that overstep the mark.
Irrespective of which, the government would be wise not to attempt to weaken regulation in the first place. There appears to be little public appetite for a regulatory bonfire, and a recent survey of Conservative supporters found that the vast majority wanted to strengthen or maintain environmental regulations after Brexit. More importantly, the draft EU negotiating guidelines are clear that the EU will not sign a trade deal with the UK if it ‘dumps’ stringent regulations in favour of lax ones. The position of the EU will largely determine the outcome of the negotiations and I would urge organisations to use continental networks, as we will be doing, to influence that side of the table.
In response to the EU’s negotiating guidelines, the prime minister was quick to say that the UK would maintain regulatory equivalence with the EU, thereby enabling a ‘fair and open trading environment’. These are welcome words, and the sector must hold the government to them. A failure to do so would put people, the environment and the economy at considerable risk.

(Source: NCVO)

Commission freezes One Direction-backed charity’s bank account

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry and frozen the bank account of an organisation that supports terminally ill children. 

The regulator announced today it has begun an investigation into Believe in Magic, for which pop group One Direction has raised over £5m, following “indications of misconduct or mismanagement”

(Source: Civil Society News)

Lord Grade writes to 11 charities to ask for ‘remedial action plans’

The chair of the Fundraising Regulator will ask all the charities fined by the Information Commissioner's Office to explain what happened and what "remedial steps they have taken"

See more at -

(Source: Civil Society News)

Charities apologise after ICO fines

One of the the 11 charities named and fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office have said they are considering an appeal but the other ten have all accepted the ruling.  

(Source: Civil Society News)

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Charity Commission opens compliance cases into 11 charities fined by ICO

The Charity Commission has opened compliance cases into the 11 charities who have been fined today for data protection breaches by the Information Commissioner’s Office.
The 11 charities were fined earlier today by the ICO for numerous breaches in data protection law, including the use of wealth screening and tele-appending of personal data.
In a statement, the Commission said that the compliance cases will look at whether the trustees of each charity “have acted in accordance with their duties under charity law”.
Under its recently issued CC20 guidance, the charity watchdog said that trustees of fundraising charities need to “understand and comply with the relevant data protections laws and requirements”, which the ICO has found each of these charities were in breach of.
A spokesman for the Charity Commission said that given the “serious nature of the breaches discovered by another regulator”, the commission was right to open compliance cases into the 11 charities.
He said that the Charity Commission had also opened compliance cases into both the RSPCA and BHF, after both charities were issued with fines by the ICO in December 2016.
The commission said it “has met with all 11 charities who acted properly in reporting the ICO investigations and notice of financial penalties” and said all are cooperating with the regulator on its compliance cases.

‘Charities must learn the lessons from these breaches’

David Holdsworth, chief operating officer at the Charity Commission, said the charitable sector as a whole must learn from these further ICO fines and breaches of data protection law.
Holdsworth said: “It is regrettable that further charities have been found in contravention of data protection requirements in this way. Charities must learn the lessons from these fines and breaches.
“The generous British public expect charities to safeguard their data and raise funds responsibly, and in return they donate in their millions. Sadly in these cases charities have not kept their side of the bargain.
“We are working with the charities concerned, the Information Commissioner and the Fundraising Regulator to ensure that any necessary remedial action is taken.”
“The charities were investigated by the ICO as part of a wider operation into data protection practices. There are no other outstanding investigations into charities as part of that operation.
The Charity Commission continues to work with the ICO and the Fundraising Regulator to ensure the wider lessons from these cases are shared, and charities are meeting their responsibilities to protect donors’ personal data.”
- See more at:

Swyddi! Jobs!

Mae Cymdeithas Mudiadau Gwirfoddol Powys yn awyddus i benodi i’r swyddi canlynol:
Swyddog Datblygu – Trydydd Sector Llewyrchus
35 awr yr wythnos
Cyflog: £25,694 yf
Lleolir y swydd yn Llandrindod neu’r Drenewydd
Cyllidir y prosiect hyd at fis Awst 2019
Bydd deiliad y swydd yn gweithio’n agos gyda sefydliadau’r trydydd sector i gynnig cymorth
dwys ar ddulliau llywodraethu da.
Swyddog Gwirfoddoli Sgiliau Trydydd Secotr
35 awr yr wythnos
Cyflog:£24,694 yf
Lleolir y swydd yn Llandrindod neu’r Drenewydd
Cyllidir y prosiect hyd at fis Ebrill 2020
Bydd deilydd y swydd yn adnabod angen, sefydlu platfform ar lein a recriwtio a lleoli ymddiriedolwyr ar draws Powys
Dyddiad cau i dderbyn ceisiadau: Ebrill 7
Cynhelir cyfweliadau ar gyfer y swydd ar Ebrill 26/27
Mae pecynnau cais ar gyfer y ddwy swydd ar gael trwy wefan PAVO:
neu drwy e-bostio: neu ffonio: 01597 822191

Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations has the following vacancies:
Development Officer Thriving Third Sector
35 Hours per week
Salary 25,694 pa
Based in Llandrindod Wells or Newtown
The project is funded until August 2019
The post holder will work closely with third sector organisations to provide intensive support on good governance
Third Sector Skills Volunteer Officer
35 Hours per week
Salary £24,694 pa
Based in Llandrindod Wells or Newtown
The project is funded until April 2020
The post holder will identify need, set up an online platform and recruit and place trustees across Powys
The closing date for applications is: April 7
Interviews for the posts will be held April 26/27
Application packs are available for both posts from the PAVO website:
or tel:01597 822191

Funding available to Welsh charities too !

Applications Open For Round Two Of Transform Foundation’s Charity Website Grant Programme

The ‘Q2’ round of the Transform Foundation’s 2017 Charity Website Grant Programme is officially open. Once again, this unique programme will be providing £18,000 grants to charities to fund the redevelopment of their websites in order to:

  • increase their ability to raise funds
  • more effectively serve their beneficiaries
  • raise broader awareness of their cause
If you’re a charity interested in redeveloping your website then click here to be taken to the Transform Foundation website for more information on the grant programme and how you can apply.

The 2017 Website Grant Programme funding round follows a highly successful pilot in 2016, which resulted in websites that collectively went on to raise over £1.3m online for the successful applicants.

The grant is principally aimed at charities with annual incomes between £350k and £30m, although smaller charities with ambitious plans for digital can also apply. Larger charities will also be considered for specific project or fundraising sites.

Any type of non-profit organisation may apply, with successful applicants in the past including causes as diverse as community development, disability, education, theatre, mental health, hospices, national heritage, volunteering, family, children & youth, addiction, homelessness, international aid, and arts.

To apply for the grant or to find out more details, visit the Website Grant Programme section of the Transform Foundation website.

One last thing! The Charity Website Grant Programme is just one of many programmes the Transform Foundation is running this year.

Other projects include the Facebook Advertising Grant, which provides £5k grants to charities to fund Facebook Advertising campaigns, and the Digital Skills Timebank that co-ordinates corporate volunteer time and matches it to digital projects for charities. The Transform Foundation is also running a programme of educational events and white papers to share digital best practice in the charity sector. These programmes form part of its wider efforts to help the charity sector transition from traditional forms of fundraising and service delivery towards more digitally focused models.

Charity Commission welcomes renewed court victory over safeguarding investigation

Commission welcomes judgement in Upper Tribunal

The Charity Commission has welcomed an Upper Tribunal judgment dismissing an appeal against its decision to investigate a charity over safeguarding concerns.
The regulator placed Manchester New Moston Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses (charity number 1065201 - ‘the charity’) under inquiry in May 2014 to investigate concerns about the charity’s approach to safeguarding.
The charity applied to the First-tier Tribunal (‘FTT’) for a review of the regulator’s decision on various grounds, including that the decision interfered with the congregation’s human rights and amounted to discrimination on the grounds of religion. The FTT upheld the Commission’s decision to open the inquiry in April 2015. The charity then appealed the FTT’s decisions to the Upper Tribunal (see endnotes).
These appeals have now been dismissed by the Upper Tribunal. The judge hearing the case, Mrs Justice Asplin, concluded that the FTT “was entitled to decide that there was no direct discrimination on the grounds of religion, the inquiry having been opened on the basis of unusual and distinctive factual reasons and […] that there were no other comparable cases from which to infer discrimination on the grounds of religious beliefs”.

Chris Willis Pickup, Head of Litigation at the Charity Commission says:

"This judgment confirms that the Commission acted lawfully in opening the investigation, and rejects claims that the Commission’s actions discriminated against the charity because of its religion. We regret that public and charity funds have been used on this protracted litigation, but we will continue to defend robustly our legitimate role in investigating serious concerns about charities. We hope and expect that this judgment concludes the litigation on this matter and allows us, and the charity, to focus our efforts on concluding the Commission’s inquiry."
The Charity Commission has continued to progress its investigation while the tribunal action was underway and aims to conclude and publish a report of the inquiry shortly.
(Source: The Charity Commission)

Monday, 3 April 2017

Commission launches ‘time saving’ accounts templates for charitable companies

Partnership between Companies House and Commission assists accounts preparation and filing for small charities which are also registered with Companies House.

The Charity Commission has today (31 March 2017) launched the accounts templates pack for small charitable companies to help trustees of charitable companies with an income of under £500,000 prepare their accounts.
For more information click on the following -

(Source: The Charity Commission)

Thought for the week

Good morning everyone and welcome to our Monday thought for the week to help keep us inspired and encourage us through the week ahead of Trusteeship!

"Thought for the Week"

“Don't let yesterday take up too much of today~ Will Rogers