In the fourth part of our series on contract management pitfalls, we look at the risks arising out of varying the terms of construction contracts.
“To merge or not merge” that is the question – well it is at least a question that most charities ask at some point in their development as they look to the future and how best to achieve their charitable purposes.
“Mergers” can take many forms: collaborative working, an asset transfer from one charity to another, the creation of a new charity, joining a group of companies as a subsidiary etc. The right format for the merger will depend on the parties involved, the reasons for the merger and the aims of the merger. However, key to every merger are the people. You can never underestimate the importance of communication and relationships. Charities are, after all, made up of individuals who are often passionate about “their” charity. It can become personal when a merger involves a name change, a new logo, a different focus. The success of a merger rarely depends on the legal structure but always depends on the time spent building relationships, communicating, creating a shared ethos, vision and a way of working that respects each charity’s history and USP.
However, (as any good lawyer would say!) there can also be legal challenges on a merger, some of which were highlighted in the Law Commission Report: Technical Issues in Charity law published last year. These challenges include:-
- the legal structure to use: contractual, a new charity, the transfer of assets from one charity to the other’ becoming a subsidiary etc.;
- can a Pre-Merging Declaration be used to transfer a charity’s property;
- whether registering the merger on the Charity Commission’s Register of Mergers will ensure that all legacies left to a closing charity pass to the “merged” charity. (The Law Commission has recommended reforms to the Charities Act 2011 to ensure this is the case, as case law has shown that it will not always be so); and
- what happens to permanent endowment? How will this be held as it cannot become the property of a corporate charity, such as a charitable company? Instead, it has to continue to be held on its permanent endowment trusts, perhaps with the corporate charity becoming the sole trustee. In addition, any sole trustee of permanent endowment property has to have “trust corporation status”. The Law Commission identified the difficulty of obtaining this (it can invoke an application to the Lord Chancellor) and has recommended the process is simplified.
But mergers can, ultimately, lead to new creative ways of working and whilst the journey there might be bumpy the hope is that it will lead to a brighter future for all the charities involved.
If you would like any more information about mergers, please contact Edwina Turner.
A local authority recently received a "roasting" by the Pensions Ombudsman for their delay in processing an employee’s ill-health retirement pension, following her diagnosis with advanced cancer.
The Times is looking for three or four charities to feature in their editions running in December 2019 and early January 2020.
Cliff Mills defines and talks about the importance of social value in his blog, and its potential within Greater Manchester.
Following a power outage at Anthony Collins Solicitors’ (ACS) Birmingham office, our employees and partners currently have limited functionality, including no access to emails.
Joint ventures present an opportunity for housing associations to build organisational capacity, the revenues from which could help deliver on wider social housing commitments.
Residents are now unable to make applications to prohibit landlords from seeking to recover the cost of legal proceedings through the service charge on behalf of other residents, without consent.
Natalie Barbosa summarises some of the legal challenges facing fundraisers in the charity sector.
We hosted a breakfast roundtable with Insider Midlands magazine that had attendees from a range of organisations addressing housing needs in the Midlands. The discussion explored JVs in more detail.
The decision of the Court of Appeal in The Harpur Trust v Brazel & Unison has made clear that employers can no longer legally calculate part-time holiday based on 12.07% of hours worked over a year.
To receive invitations to our events, as well as information and articles on legal issues and sector developments that are of interest to you, please sign up to Newsroom.