BULLETIN No. 162: March 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 ...

 

 
 


 

   

BULLETIN No. 162: March 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. Fundraising Tip
2. Persons of Significant Control
3. Improve Your Meetings
4. Handling Dismissals
5. Charity Shop Blunder
6. Charity Commission Guidance on Charity Finance
7. Self-Employed Contractors
8. HMRC Fit and Proper Persons Test
9. Trustee Training
10. Statutory Reporting Requirements
11. Data Protection
12. How can we help you?
13. And Finally...

1. Fundraising Tip
By the time you read this, you’ll have the new pound coin starting to hit your pockets. By October 15th the existing coins will no longer be accepted, though they can still be paid into banks. This gives you time to plan a strategy to collect up old coins once they’re no longer legal tender. With over a billion pounds worth in circulation, there’ll be plenty left in sofas and jacket pockets for years to come to make it worthwhile for you to find ways to gather them up. And don’t forget all the old £5 notes that’ll be soon knocking around, needing homes in your charity.

 

2. Persons of Significant Control
This new reporting requirement for companies has been with us for almost a year, and many company charity directors are anxiously trying to work out whether they have one or more PSCs to report, and if they do this makes them even more anxious. Worry not.

This requirement was to identify companies and individuals who are finding ways to evade taxes, breach UN sanctions and generally commit fraud. I’m a PSC of several companies, but because I’m not doing any of these things my conscience is clear. A recent survey found over 3000 PSCs listed that were companies registered in tax havens, which as we all know is illegal. Also, 300 PSCs are disqualified, directors. That’s probably just the tip of the iceberg. If you have concerns email me but don’t lose sleep, (at least not until I’ve had a look)

 

3. Improve Your Meetings
I thought I understood the KISS principle (Keep it simple, stupid; something I always try to follow). Another KISS has appeared, this time from Dan Rockwell (Leadership Freak; worth following), to help you manage meetings better:

  • KEEP - What do we need to keep doing to make it work?
  • IMPROVE - What can we do to make it work better?
  • STOP - If we stopped doing this what would happen?
  • START - What do we need to start doing? What new opportunities are there?

And of course don’t forget to end each meeting by writing down who does what and when.

 

4. Handling Dismissals
If you have a difficult staff situation and it looks as though dismissal is appropriate, you might find my latest briefing helpful. What I do advise though is that before doing too much, you get some HR advice. One false step, however well intentioned can land the charity in trouble. The briefing is free; advice from our HR specialist might cost a little, but it could be a very sound investment. Email Becky for a copy.

 

5. Charity Shop Blunder
A charity shop worker made a huge error when she accidentally sold an electrician's £200 tools for £1. Andrew was working for free fitting a new light switch in the charity shop in Cardiff when his tools suddenly vanished. He had nipped out to his van when his toolbox went missing. It quickly became clear that they’d been sold - for just a pound. Andrew said: 'It was a job as a favour. They mentioned that they had a faulty light switch so I said I would come back and change the switch. 'I left my tools on a bookcase and went out to my van to get a switch.” Take care.

 

6. Charity Commission Guidance on Charity Finance
The Regulator has just updated its guidance (CC25), making it very clear how trustees should get to grips with their financial duties. Paula Sussex, Charity Commission CE said: “Robust financial management is vital to ensure that charities are able to meet the needs of their beneficiaries and also to increase public trust and confidence in the charitable sector. …Weak financial governance can be extremely destabilising for charities, affect their ability to operate and leave them vulnerable to fraud and abuse. It is vital that trustees are familiar with the charity’s governing document, understand the finances, ensure control and procedures are in place and work and ask the right – and sometimes difficult – questions.” It’s the last bit that trustees often stumble over. Get me in one evening for a briefing session.

 

7. Self-Employed Contractors
Well, it seems the government has got it in for the self-employed contractor sector. HMRC isn’t that keen on them either, and if your charity is one of the thousands out there staffed by anyone, not on payroll, you must be sure of your ground. HMRC isn’t above deeming your payments as being paid net, grossing up with tax and NI, and sending you a big bill. We’ve had some experience helping charities prepare robust contracts. Email us if you need help on this.

 

8. HMRC Fit and Proper Persons Test
This has just been updated, and the new declaration should be brought into use immediately. We have a briefing with a template containing the new wording, and a summary of who needs to complete it. (Grateful thanks to Ian Clark for telling me about this)

 

9. Trustee Training
The Regulator is stepping up its advice that boards have a strategy in place to ensure that new trustees benefit from a proper induction process, and current trustees are refreshed from time to time. This is something I enjoy being involved in. Email us for details of what’s on offer. I focus on simplicity and proportionality amongst other things. Flexible on content and costs.

 

10. Statutory Reporting Requirements
I’m delivering a set of lectures to students at our local university who need to know a bit about how charities operate. Email us for a copy of the briefings I prepared for them. It clarifies when an audit is needed, when an independent examination is needed, when nothing or very little is needed; different thresholds etc. .

 

11. Data Protection
This is becoming such a key issue that most months it’s going to get a mention. The requirements for collecting and maintaining data are getting tougher. They’ll get even tougher next year when the new EU-wide General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) come into force. I’ll prepare a briefing when I get a moment; you’ll need to start getting ready for it as soon as you can.

 

12. How can we help you?
This year we’ve extended our advice and support services. We can now help with:

All aspects of accounts including year end and book-keeping
Outsourcing
HR support
Legal advice
Fundraising
Training
General Advice and Consultancy
Extensive library of briefings and policy templates (No need for you to re-invent the wheel)

Contact us anytime if you need help in any of these areas.

 

13. And Finally...

This bulletin pretty much writes itself, but I spend more time agonising on this bit than all the rest put together. Last month’s blessing brought in a record number of responses including a warm note from Peter Martin, the CEO of Memralife, the charity that owns the rights to the song. They gave me a link for anyone who wants to down-load it from iTunes: https://itun.es/gb/Kehw8?i=1012429268

This is an extract from Frederick Buechner’s story of Brendan the Navigator who some believe found America before anyone else. A thoughtful book.

PUSHING DOWN HARD with his fists on the table-top he heaved himself up to where he was standing. For the first time, we saw he wanted one leg. It was gone from the knee joint down. He was hopping sideways to reach for his stick in the corner when he lost his balance. He would have fallen in a heap if Brendan hadn't leapt forward and caught him.

'I'm as crippled as the dark world,' Gildas said.

'If it comes to that, which one of us isn't, my dear?' Brendan said.

Gildas with but one leg. Brendan, sure he'd misspent his whole life entirely. Me that had left my wife to follow him and buried our only boy. The truth of what Brendan said stopped all our mouths. We was cripples all of us. For a moment or two, there was no sound but the bees.

'To lend each other a hand when we're falling,' Brendan said. 'Perhaps that's the only work that matters in the end.'

Go well. Enjoy the spring weather. Thank you for your encouraging messages. We look forward to hearing from you with your questions, your suggestions, your re-quests 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

 

 

  

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