BULLETIN No. 164: JUNE 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. 164: JUNE 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. Cyber Attacks
2. Year End Accounts
3. HR Issues
4. Data Protection
5. Briefings and Policies
6. Legacies
7. Trustee Induction Training
8. Payroll and HR
9. Chancel Repair Liability
10. Charity Shops
11. DBS Checks
12. How can we help you?
13. And Finally...

1. Cyber Attacks
Windows XP has been used to run everything from water treatment facilities and power plants to small businesses like doctors' offices. Microsoft stopped offering support for the system a couple of years ago. Despite this, many organisations, including the NHS, saw it as a reliable workhorse and chose to stick with it instead of upgrading.

Without patches to fix bugs in the software XP PCs are prone to freezing up and crashing. As the NHS learnt to its cost, the absence of updated security protections makes computers susceptible to hackers. Security patches released for Microsoft's newer systems may have served as a way for hackers to reverse engineer ways to breach now-unprotected Windows XP computers. Don’t be complacent; review your systems. Let us know if you need help.

 

2. Year End Accounts
We’re told that 3,500 charities with an income of over £250,000 and a financial year ending 31st March 2016 still needed to file their accounts by 31st January 2017. Demonstrating a good compliance record enhances a charity’s reputation, and increases public trust in what that charity is doing. With ten months to file the accounts, there’s really no excuse. We offer a speedy, affordable service if you need help in this area.

Tips for trustees to keep on top of things:

  • Don’t wait for deadlines; submit as soon as you can.
  • All trustees are equally responsible, not just the treasurer or secretary.
  • Make sure your charity’s trustee details are up to date.
  • Don’t mistakenly tick the box that says your accounts are “qualified”.
  • Ensure any serious incidents are declared in the annual return.
 

3. HR Issues
It’s only Tuesday, but I’ve already had three calls for help this week on difficult staffing situations. An hour ago, I was in the middle of preparing a briefing on how to protect against unfair dismissal claims, and a request for help came by phone on this very subject. There are 2 bits of advice that matter: keep good records and take advice. We have high quality HR advice and support on hand. Email us if you want to check out the briefing, or if you’d like us to review your staff contracts and policies.

 

4. Data Protection
We have a detailed briefing, recently strengthened. I’m still getting more information piling in (thankyou everyone that wrote to me; it all helps). Some of the material is contradictory. Even insurers aren’t all saying the same thing on record retention. Neither are HR and legal professionals. Jo has got the short straw and is preparing a guide on the new DP arrangements coming in next year (GDPR), including retention periods. After that, we’ll wait and see.

 

5. Briefings and Policies
Becky’s been working hard to go through our members’ library as part of the process to set up a brand-new website. New material is going onto the new site, so you may not find what you might be looking for. If so, and you are a member, email us, and we’ll send it out to you. Becky’s been keeping me and Jo busy updating material where necessary. Stay in touch with us during this transition period. We have material on most of the issues that affect charities; If you ask us for something we haven’t got we’ll put it on our To Do List.

 

6. Legacies
I regularly bang on about having a policy to maximise legacy giving to your charity; but do you wonder, with legacies to charities about to exceed £2.5b this year, up 40% in the last five years. Ask us for my latest briefing on the subject if you need some help to prepare your own strategy. Reminder to all those charities that have converted to the CIO structure on a DIY basis; have you made an entry into the Register of Mergers in case of a legacy coming into the old charity? (If you have set up your charity on a DIY basis, you might benefit from getting a copy of our Post Registration Pack - small charge but well worth it.)

 

7. Trustee Induction Training
The Charity Commission is emphasising the importance of getting new trustees up to speed quickly. To this end, they’d like a decent induction process to be set in place. As a minimum, new trustees should be given a copy of the governing document and the latest year end accounts. Also, minutes of the last meeting and any other key documents that they need to be aware of, such as the conflict of interest policy, strategic plan, etc. They could also read publication CC3. Better still, get me to come along and provide a detailed briefing. The modest investment is well worth it.

 

8. Payroll and HR
A number of statutory increases came into force this April: NMW and Living Wage increases, Maternity payments, Sick Pay, and Salary Sacrifice changes. Employment Tribunal fines were increased. Also, significant changes to Foreign Worker rules. No need for me to spell out the detail; your HR specialist or your accountant will have it all at their fingertips. It does, however, point up that you need to have access to good quality professional support. One of our members currently needs help with organising redundancies. Their local HR specialist company wanted them to agree to a 12-month contract at £200 a month. What they need is current advice; after that, they probably won’t need any help for the rest of the year. Take care before committing yourself to expensive contracts.

 

9. Chancel Repair Liability
Paul Hajek of Clutton Cox, who seems to be the world’s leading authority on this vexed issue has put out a blog reminding us of its history and bringing us up to date. If this subject interests you and you can’t trace the article email me for a copy. Apparently, the damage was done when Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of the monasteries.

 

10. Charity Shops
Suddenly we have expertise on charity shops! A mention in the April bulletin has brought in a number of enquiries, and feasibility visits are in hand. One reader asked whether they needed a license to play music to staff. As always, we have a briefing available on request.

 

11. DBS Checks
The Court of Appeal has ruled that the criminal records disclosure scheme is disproportionate and unlawful. In one case, a man was convicted in the 1980’s of ABH when he was 16-years-old and received a conditional discharge: “It is difficult to see how publication of this detail, 31 years on, is relevant to the risk of the public, or proportionate and necessary in a democratic society.”

Debaleena Dasgupta, Legal Officer at Liberty, said: “This important ruling gives hope to huge numbers of people whose ambitions have been dashed because of minor mistakes they made in the past. The Government must urgently fix this broken system that needlessly prevents people from rebuilding their lives and contributing to society.

 

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 yearend and book-keeping
  • Outsourcing
  • HR support
  • Legal advice
  • Fundraising
  • Training
  • General Advice and Consultancy
  • Extensive library of briefings and policy templates

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

 

13. And Finally...

May turned out to be unexpectedly busy month for me. Here’s a prayer that helps me keep perspective:

 

Slow Me Down Lord.

 

Slow me down Lord,

Ease the pounding of my heart

By the quieting of my mind.

Steady my hurried pace

With a vision of the eternal march of time.

Give me amid the confusion of the day,

The calmness of the eternal hills.

 

Break the tension of my nerves and muscles

With the soothing music of the singing streams

That live in my memory.

 

Help me to know the magical restoring power of sleep.

 

Teach me the art of taking minute vacations,

Of slowing down to look at a flower,

To chat with a friend,

To pat a dog,

To read a few lines of a good book.

 

Slow me down Lord,

and inspire me to send my roots

Deep into the soil of life's enduring values


Go well. Enjoy the sun and the rain. 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