The High Court has ruled that retrospective changes to the LGPS exit credits regime were lawful – and gave some helpful guidance around the new discretion to pay an exit credit.
Welcome to February’s newsletter.
The Covid-19 crisis has demonstrated that social capital is the glue that binds communities together. Over 4,000 mutual aid groups emerged to fill the gaps in supporting many vulnerable groups and numerous faith communities have provided infrastructure to alleviate the immediate problems of lockdown. Charities remain an effective tool in bringing people together and although we have not yet emerged from lockdown number three, this past year has served as a reminder of the importance of the third sector.
Equality, diversity and inclusivity; time to do more
At the end of 2020, The Charity Governance Code was updated or “refreshed” as it is termed on its website. One key feature of this refreshing was a focus on Principle 6; previously called Diversity and now extended out and called Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. A timely inclusion most would agree given the events of the last 12 months. The killing of George Floyd and the support for the Black Lives Matter movement, coupled with the disproportionate effects of Covid-19 on our BAME community, have demonstrated that our society is still one with deep divisions, inequalities and prejudices. We have come so far as a country with our anti-discrimination legislation and focus on diversity, but there is still a long way to go.
Read the full article here.
New research has shown that employee burnout in the charity sector is one of the biggest risks emerging from the current pandemic. Loss of funding, alongside the new challenges of remote working, means that employees are often attempting to do more with less. Employers have an obligation under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of their employees. Our regulatory team have recently written an e-briefing detailing the steps employers can take to identify and mitigate work-related stress. You can read this here.
Our employment team have also released their winter newsletter covering the latest Covid-19 employment news and key employment themes post-Brexit, which you can access here.
Good management of financial affairs
The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into a Birmingham community organisation following the transfer of £200,000 from the charity to a trustee’s personal bank account. In a statement, the charity stated this was because it did not have a bank card in its name and that it had since produced receipts to the Commission showing no misconduct.
However, this serves as an important reminder to trustees on how to manage a charity’s resources and financial affairs in addition to maintaining compliance with their general legal duties and responsibilities. Ensure that your financial policies are clear and that charity assets are kept separate from the trustee’s personal assets.
Exception from registration set to continue
Whilst historically excepted from the requirement to register, congregations of certain Christian denominations in England and Wales have been required to register with the Charity Commission if their annual income is above £100,000 for some time. The remaining exception for church charities with annual incomes between £5,000 and £100,000 was due to have been lifted on 31 March 2021 but on 19 January, the Charities (Exception from Registration) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 were laid before parliament and will come into force on 31 March 2021 - meaning an extension of the exception from registration for a further ten years until 31 March 2031.
Make use of the youth job creation scheme
The Government’s Kickstart Scheme provides funding for six-month job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds at risk of long term unemployment. Since its launch in September, it has said to have created more than 120,000 roles across all industries, however, its requirement for organisations to have a minimum of 30 vacancies to be eligible, excluded many charities from taking part. Now that this requirement has been removed, it makes the scheme much more accessible for the benefit of both charities and the young people involved.
For further information please see information on the Government’s website.
Faith groups’ role in the vaccine rollout
There are concerns over the high degree of vaccine hesitancy among black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. Data published by the Royal Society for Public Health suggested that 57% of BAME UK residents would accept the vaccine, compared with, say, 79% of the white British population. Many Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders have stepped up by either providing congregants with accurate medical information or offered their buildings to become vaccine centres. Faith groups are playing a key role in encouraging communities to take part in the rollout in addition to tackling misinformation and ‘fake news’.
Charity Commission’s executive pay report axed
The regulator has axed plans to publish its report on executive pay in the voluntary sector, which was due to be released last year. Following criticism of Marie Stopes International’s Chief Executive receiving a £434,500 pay package in December 2019, the regulator announced plans to report on top-level pay. In any event, in 2019, it became compulsory for Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) and all other charities with annual incomes of more than £10,000 to specify how many members of staff received pay in excess of £60,000 per year in their reporting.
For more information
If you would like more details about anything in this newsletter please speak to your usual ACS contact or contact Sarah Tomlinson.
The Government has brought forward draft laws to allow independent schools to close the Teacher’s Pension Scheme to new joiners but to allow existing members to continue.
The Government has started consultation on the regulations providing the detailed framework for collective money purchase pension schemes.
In June we took on the challenge to become a Sepsis Savvy organisation - I'm really pleased to announce we've done it!
In 2020 the court rules were changed to require that all residential tenants must be given 14 days’ notice of an eviction. What happens though if the eviction is cancelled on the day?
We are delighted to announce that our private wealth law department has continued to maintain its Band 2 position in the latest edition of Chambers and Partners High Net Worth.
The new CHF is set to launch and open for applications with £4 million set to be allocated to community-led housing groups to support an increase the supply of affordable housing in England.
Charities, like other organisations, may be subject to or choose to voluntarily comply with the reporting requirements under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The draft regulations making it mandatory for anyone entering a registered care home in England to have been double vaccinated unless they are clinically exempt were made on 22 July 2021.
Doug Mullen and Michelle Knight discuss the recent judicial review of regulations changing the regime governing exit credits in the local government pension scheme.
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