BULLETIN No. 165: July 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. 165: July 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. Board Dynamics
2. Fire Risk
3. New Trustee Induction
4. Banks Asking Questions
5. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
6. Passwords Compromised
7. What Policies do You Need
8. Training For New Trustees
9. Additional Reporting Requirements
10. Don’t discard Bad Ideas
11. Chair & CEO Roles
12. How can we help you?
13. And Finally...

1. Board Dynamics
People often censor themselves because they don't want to be punished for voicing an opinion that differs from everyone else's. Leaders sometimes even promote this self-censorship by expressing their own views early on. (People don't like challenging the leader.) Chairs, you need to show that you're willing to hear different perspectives and disagreements. Try not to take a firm position at the outset and make space for more discussion and debate. And encourage critical thinking as soon as your group comes together, so members will be less likely to keep silent. Good robust discussion leads to high quality decisions.

 

2. Fire Risk
With the recent dreadful events in London (well done AFVS member Latymer Community Centre for stepping up to the mark), we’re all thinking about our own responsibility for fire safety. If you own or are in charge of premises you’re responsible for ensuring that an appropriate fire risk assessment is carried out. If you rent premises, you must ensure that your duties are complied with, i.e., procedures in the event of a fire, and what you can do to minimise risk. I carried out an assessment a few weeks ago, so I know what’s involved. Let me know if you need a steer on this.

Anyone wishing to donate to the Latymer Grenfell Tower relief fund, please follow this link via Latymer Community Center’s website http://www.latymer.org.uk/grenfelltowerrelieffund.htm

 

3. New Trustee Induction
We’re almost finished updating our induction pack. A new fit and proper person declaration needs to be added, and we’re putting in an enhanced Register of Interests template. It’s a useful document to give to new trustees, and we can personalise it to your charity. Let me know if this interests you. (Free to members as a download; small charge to non-members.)

 

4. Banks Asking Questions
This one has reared its head again with a couple of charities reporting that their bank was suddenly asking a lot of questions out of the blue. This is unsettling at the best of times. Nothing sinister, it’s probably all to do with FATCA. (The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act). This is a piece of US tax legislation which imposes duties on UK banks. It’s all to do with combating tax evasion and money laundering. If you have any concerns or want to know more, I put a briefing up some months back when it first came out, and there’s mention of it in our Charity Toolkit. (Available to download from the members area of the website.)

 

5. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
This new requirement, EU driven, replaces our current Data Protection regulations in May 2018. I’ve a growing list of folk who have asked me for a briefing on this, so they can make sure they will be compliant. We’ve assembled material to prepare a briefing; not rushing as there are different ideas on how to achieve compliance. I want to end up with something that works and isn’t unduly complex. I’ve a meeting in a couple of weeks with a specialist firm to get their thoughts. Next bulletin I’ll update you; meantime we still have over 300 days to get ourselves ready, so no immediate urgency.

 

6. Passwords Compromised
We’re under constant threat from hackers trying to steal our data and compromise our systems. I have three email addresses; I put them through ‘haveibeenpwned.com’ a free service to check whether any of my email addresses had been compromised in data breaches. Two were ok, but the third had been leaked by Adobe and LinkedIn. I shall have to strengthen my security; you may want to do the same. Take care before entering any of your details onto unknown websites, and look for the padlock or ‘https://’ in the address bar. Take care when you click on links; fraudsters are getting very good at their tricks. If you go to the actual webpage by typing the address directly into your browser, you’ll be safer. Keep your anti-virus software up to date and change your passwords frequently. Be careful about accepting free software. Apparently, the three most common passwords used by the police are, ‘police’, ‘password’ and ‘police1’. They’re very trusting!

 

7. What Policies Do You Need
When you submit your online return, the Charity Commission asks you whether your charity has various policies which they list. It’s important that trustees work out what policies they need, putting aside the ones they don’t need, and put together a plan to make sure the right policies are in place with a regular review programme. We’ve done a lot of work in this area. If you’d like us to evaluate your situation and give you appropriate advice write to us. We can save you time which you can always put to better use, and possibly money.

 

8. Training For New Trustees
The Regulators are emphasising the importance of getting new trustees up to speed quickly. To this end they expect an induction process to be set in place. We have a 2-hour presentation designed to help trustees understand their role. Ask us for details - support@afvs.org.uk

 

9. Additional Reporting Requirements
A new list of matters of material significance has been issued to assist auditors and independent examiners in meeting their reporting requirements to the three charity regulators.

The new guidance adds two new areas which have to be specifically reported to the regulator:

  1. If an auditor or independent examiner has concerns regarding a charity’s accounts and issues a modified audit opinion report or qualified independent examiner’s report.
  2. Where an auditor or examiner has concerns that conflicts of interests or related party transactions have not been properly managed or declared.

The regulators are keen to identify problem charities sooner. If you’re struggling in any of these areas, ask us how we can help support@afvs.org.uk

 

10. Don’t Discard Bad Ideas
Successful entrepreneurs rarely dismiss bad ideas outright: They rework them in the hope that there’s a gem yet to be discovered. After all, the best opportunities aren’t always self-evident. Instead of killing ideas and initiatives when they seem problematic, challenge yourself or your team to push further, reframe the problem and solution, or explore adjacencies. By bringing new thinking to seemingly bad ideas, you may end up with a breakthrough. Listen to all stakeholders regularly, and don’t stop, even once you’ve decided on a course of action. Pay special attention to new information and edge cases as you go — they often hold clues to move you toward better versions of your idea.

 

11. Chair & CEO Roles
These two roles are quite different; yet so often, particularly in small to medium charities, they’re occupied by the same person. The UK Corporate Governance Code, a heavy-duty code for directors of listed companies, doesn’t apply to charities but it’s a useful guide to best practise. Section A.3.1 refers to the importance of having a separate CEO and chair. When they’re the same person, the overall structure is weakened. Many charities particularly churches have the senior minister in the chair. There may be good reasons in specific cases; generally, though I’d prefer it not to be so. Let me know if I can help review your structures. support@afvs.org.uk

 

12. How can we help you?
This year we’re extending 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

Trading Issues (including charity shops)

Community Halls

Fundraising

Training

General Advice and Consultancy

Extensive library of briefings and policy templates

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

 

13. And Finally...

After last month’s prayer to slow us down, this is one to challenge us, attributed to Sir Francis Drake 1577: Disturb us Lord

Disturb us, Lord, when We are too well pleased with ourselves, When our dreams have come true Because we have dreamed too little, When we arrived safely Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when With the abundance of things we possess We have lost our thirst For the waters of life; Having fallen in love with life, We have ceased to dream of eternity And in our efforts to build a new earth, We have allowed our vision Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, To venture on wider seas Where storms will show your mastery; Where losing sight of land, We shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back The horizons of our hopes; And to push into the future In strength, courage, hope, and love.


(Thanks to my dear friend Derek Broen for this)

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
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Sovereign Centre, Poplars, Yapton Lane, Walberton, Arundel, West Sussex, BN18 0AS
Telephone: 0845 319 8330 - Web: www.afvs.org.uk