Governance, Governance, Governance…
That seems to be very much the number one theme in the sector.
Of particular note are the New Governance Code and the House of Lords report. See more details in our separate Governance section below.
And this will indeed be the subject of our next seminars (Brighton 15 November, London 22 November) when we shall be taking you through the New Governance Code and helping you get the right balance and approach to the potentially overwhelming challenge of proper governance.
Please email Lucy Eldridge if you haven’t received an invitation to the seminar and would like more details.
Charity Commission news
We have become used to changes to the Charity Commission Annual Return every year. However, the proposals for the 2018 Return are perhaps even more wide-ranging:
- A significant number of existing questions will be transferred to ‘Update Charity Details’ – so you will need to go to that first before completing the Annual Return itself. Probably helpful and good news.
- But this move seems to be partly to make space for yet more questions, particularly on overseas (which refers sometimes to outside the UK, sometimes to outside England & Wales!) matters and on employees’ salaries. One proposed question is ‘How much is the CEO paid?’ We are not aware that this information will be on public record, but…
- CC25 – Charity finances: trustee essentials – as we pointed out at the last seminar, the Charity Commission is ‘urging trustees to get to grips with financial duties’ and reminding charities that all trustees are responsible for the charity’s finances.
- This is also something we have been ‘urging’ trustees to use.
- Grant funding an organisation that isn’t a charity…
Reporting serious incidents – guidance for trustees.
- The Charity Commission believes that too many serious incidents go unreported.
- The Charity Commission (necessarily) produces comprehensive guidance on governance matters for charities and their trustees.
- But…if you find the Charity Commission guidance rather lengthy and don’t want to read 40 or 50 pages…, we have something that may help.
- We get the feeling that the length of these documents might just occasionally put people off reading them. So while this is not a complete substitute for reading the whole CC publication, we have started to produce much shorter extracts of CC publications.
- The first two available are:
CC3 – The essential trustee (5 pages rather than 39 pages)
CC14 – Charities and investment matters (6 pages rather than 56 pages)
Email Lucy Eldridge for a copy of either (or both).
Authorising your accountants to submit accounts
- You can authorise your accountants (hopefully us) to submit your approved accounts electronically.
Contacting the Charity Commission by phone
- Not the easiest thing to do. The CC contact centre is open 10-12 and 1-3, Monday to Friday, on 0300 066 9197.
- Parliament has now begun the process for approving the necessary regulations to allow companies to convert to CIOs.
- The Government is currently proposing an implementation date of 1 January 2018, though a timetable allowing conversions is also expected.
New Governance Code
- We hesitate to say that the New Governance Code is the defining document amongst a plethora of governance guidance and updates, but it must come at least close to one and it is clearly very important for charities and their thinking about governance.
- We believe that every charity should be working through the Code and adopting the ‘apply or explain’ approach to what the Code proposes.
- In order to help with this, our November 2017 Seminars will go through the Code to help you find an effective way to implement the relevant governance for your charity. Take the opportunity to come as a group of trustees – and in so doing meet the recommendation in the Code of ongoing trustee training.
- And as those of you who have attended our seminars before know, our charge of £24 covers as many attendees from your charity as you want (the record is currently at 7 from one charity, but we’d love to see that beaten!).
House of Lords Report
- The House of Lords Select Committee has published a 156(!) page report on issues affecting the sector. We would expect that some of these matters will find their way into legislation or guidance in due course.
What Makes a Good Charity?
- We still think that this is a very useful tool for reviewing your charity’s performance and governance:
- But in the spirit of helpful summaries, we have condensed the guidance which may be an easier way to get started with it. If you want a copy email Lucy Eldridge
SORP 2015 Clarification
- The SORP committee has issued guidance clarifying a number of matters, for example on key management remuneration and on trustee donations.
- There has been a renewed emphasis on charity reserves since the problems of Kids Company.
- We would remind you that:
You should have a written reserves policy.
You should report in your accounts on the policy and the level of reserves.
You should review the reserves position regularly and the reserves policy periodically.
- We also think that there is sometimes a danger that reserves are too high and in such cases charities should consider how to increase charitable expenditure over the medium term in a sustainable way.
Independent examination – Updated guidance
The Charity Commission has issued updated guidance for examiners.
- There are now three new Directions:
Direction 2 – examiners must check for any conflicts of interest.
Direction 7 – examiners must check that related party transactions are properly disclosed.
Direction 9 – examiners must check whether trustees have made an assessment of the charity’s going concern position.
- On 25 May 2018 the new General Data Protection Regulation will come into force.
- This replaces the current Data Protection Act and it is vital that charities understand what is required.
- The Fundraising Preference Service was launched on 6 July 2017.
- Individuals can now use the online form to stop receiving direct marketing form charities (three at a time…).
- A number of useful new guides are available: