BULLETIN No. 160: January 2017 My monthly attempt to keep my contacts, friends, friends of friends, etc. in touch with what's going on in the world of charities. A distillation of the many briefings that arrive on my desk, plus whatever I've gleaned ...

 

 
 


 

   

BULLETIN No. 160: January 2017

My monthly attempt to keep my contacts, friends, friends of friends, etc. in touch with what's going on in the world of charities. A distillation of the many briefings that arrive on my desk, plus whatever I've gleaned from charities I'm currently working with. Always glad to get your comments and suggestions;

Daryl Martin

d.martin@afvs.org.uk

What do we have this month?

1. Jedi not Recognised by the Charity Commission
2. CIOs Four Years On
3. Data Protection Policy
4. Complaints Policy
5. Staff Handover Document
6. Setting up a Social Enterprise
7. Charity Toolkit
8. Trustee Training
9. Charity Healthcheck
10. Staff Handbook
11. Volunteers
12. Resources
13. And Finally...

1. Jedi not Recognised by the Charity Commission
Commission, in its decision, noted that it will not recognise as a religion 'everything that chooses to call itself a religion' and was unconvinced by evidence proposed to support Jediism as a legitimate faith. 'The Commission is not satisfied that the observance of the Force within Jediism is characterised by a belief in one or more gods or spiritual or non-secular principles or things which are an essential requirement for a religion in charity law.” I understand your disappointment, but put those lightsabers down now and go about your business quietly. Let the Jedi in, and they’d be wanting to register Discworld next. Three charities which did pass the regulator’s recent scrutiny were Little Hiccups, Allo Mate, and Classrooms in the Clouds. If you’re setting up a new charity, a chat with us might help you on your way to a good outcome.

 

2. CIOs Four Years On
CIOs have bedded down nicely with coming up to 12,000 across the UK. This structure doesn’t only appeal to small charities; the biggest CIO has £2.3b assets. I’ve prepared a briefing to summarise where we are today with them. I tried not to get into too much detail. If you’re still an unincorporated charity and thinking about moving across, take a look at my briefing: afvs.org.uk/public_resources/CIOs 4 Years On.pdf.

 

3. Data Protection Policy
A number of enquiries on this subject recently, mainly asking whether they should be registered. That’s probably the wrong question. Better to ask: do we have a robust policy in place? I’ve recently been involved in a heavy duty subject data request situation. We have a template policy for you to adapt which is available on the AFVS members area (we make a small admin charge for non-members; email Becky for details). I’ve listed it to write a briefing on the importance of keeping data properly. It’s a complex area, but it can be costly in time and money if you get it wrong. Let me know if you need help in this area. I’m also trying to build into this briefing something on Record Retention. Oh, and a national charity was fined recently for sharing data with another organisation.

 

4. Complaints Policy
Earlier this month I was asked what I meant by ‘Secondary’ policies. Complaints is a ‘secondary’ policy; but woe betide you if the Charity Commission asks to see it and you don’t have one. A couple of points to remember if you’re a fundraising organisation:

  1. Organisations MUST have a complaints procedure which MUST also apply to any Third Parties fundraising on their behalf.
  2. Organisations MUST respond to any complaints from donors, beneficiaries or other parties in a timely, respectful, open and honest way.
  3. Organisations MUST ensure that the learnings from any complaints are acted upon.

I recommend you build these points into your policy (makes note to check it’s in our policy template, which is available to download from: www.afvs.org.uk/public_resources/Complaints%20Policy.pdf ).

 

5. Staff Handover Document
We duly had requests for this and I set to work. Pleased with the result and getting some good feedback. It’s in the AFVS members area on the website (we make a small admin charge for non-members; email Becky for details). You won’t be disappointed. A useful aide-memoire should you or other kept players ever move on; also useful for any staff or volunteers who leave.

 

6. Setting up a Social Enterprise
Emma Moresby sends us an occasional piece on charity-related issues. This time it’s a well-written piece aimed at readers who are thinking of taking on the challenge of a Social Enterprise. If this is you, it’s worth studying, with some interesting links. This link takes you to her article.

 

7. Charity Toolkit
First 4 parts of the VAT section have been received from Les Howard, a widely respected charity VAT specialist. (Always there if you need reliable guidance on charity VAT.) Just need the final parts before the next edition comes out. Someone wrote to ask me about a policy on what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Section 6.3 covers this nicely.

This link will take you to a list of contents to give you an idea of what else the Toolkit contains (Toolkit_Contents_List.pdf).

 

8. Trustee Training
Boards are increasingly becoming aware that a solid briefing will help them stay up to date and safe. I work through my Toolkit, providing the back stories on why it’s important to keep governance in good order. I focus on simplicity and proportionality amongst other things. E-mail if you’d like me to show up at one of your board meetings. Flexible on content and costs.

 

9. Charity Healthcheck
Becky recently sent me a couple to review and provide feedback on. We used to call it the Charity MOT (I still do, but don’t tell Becky). It is FOC to AFVS members and accessible via the member’s area of the website. If you want access and are not members please contact Becky for more details on how to subscribe to membership, and what benefits and services are available for your charity (bbenford_blows@afvs.org.uk). To some extent, it was overtaken last year by the Toolkit. It still has a place, though. If you want a simple tool to give you a good overview of how well your charity is doing from a regulatory and operational standpoint, it’s surprisingly easy to fill in. Send it through to us, and we’ll give you an evaluation with recommendations and any other help you might need.

 

10. Staff Handbook
I spoke to a trustee last week about their new staff handbook. If they’d had it a year earlier, it could have saved them a few thousand pounds in costly HR support. If you’d like us to review yours, or are starting from scratch, contact us to see how we can help. If you have a tricky staff situation, get advice before you take decisions or actions that later on you might regret. Our associate Nathalie has built up a good reputation for helping charities with HR issues.

 

11. Volunteers
Last week I posted on Twitter an excellent NCVO article by Jarina Choudhury. In a poll they asked whether respondents thought that volunteers have a legal status:

 

71% thought that volunteers have a legal status

15% thought that volunteers do not have a legal status

14% were unsure.
 

Unlike employees, volunteers are not entitled to the NMW; they’re not covered by employment legislation. Employees work under a contract and are obliged to turn up; volunteers are free to come and go as they please. Of course, this is not to say that volunteers don’t have a relationship with the organisation they volunteer for; they do. But it’s a relationship based on expectations rather than obligations. Let me know if you want a copy of Jarina’s article.

 

12. Resources
This year AFVS has extended its advice and support services.

We can help with:

All aspects of accounts including year end and book-keeping

Outsourcing

HR Support

Legal Advice

Fundraising

Training

Consultancy

We also have an extensive library of briefings and policy templates (No need for you to re-in vent the wheel)

 

13. And Finally...to encourage you…

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. (A motto I frequently use is ‘Ready, Fire, Aim!)

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

― Neil Gaiman


Go well. Enjoy the opportunity of a new year and a clean slate; thank you for your encouraging messages. We look forward to hearing from you with your questions, your suggestions, your requests for help and advice. If you find this bulletin helpful, please take a moment to pass it onto others who might appreciate it.

 

Daryl Martin

 

 

  

Advice For the Voluntary Sector CIC
Registered in England & Wales No: 7939754
Sovereign Centre, Poplars, Yapton Lane, Walberton, Arundel, West Sussex, BN18 0AS
Telephone: 0845 319 8330 - Web: www.afvs.org.uk