Using software to file your company’s information

The guidance explains that they can receive and process company accounts produced in Inline eXtensible Reporting Language (iXBRL) format.

Some of the benefits of using online software include:

  • No more covering letters
  • No postage costs
  • Faster, more secure delivery with immediate acknowledgement of receipt
  • Automatic confirmation of acceptance or rejection
  • Reduced risk of late filing penalties

You can only use their iXBRL service to file accounts that fall under the 2006 Companies Act.

Further details of this guidance can be accessed here.

 


Charity Bank secures extra investment to help fund surge in loan approvals

The new investments are timely, as Charity Bank announces record new lending commitments, approving £49m of loans in 2nd half year of 2020, the highest amount of new loan approvals over a six-month period in the history of the bank.

The bank has seen a sustained surge in loan applications from charities and social enterprises looking for support on projects, in part due to a reduced appetite for lending to the sector from mainstream lenders.

Further details on this announcement can be accessed here.

If your organisation would like to explore the loans they offer to small and large organisations where the loan is being used for a social purpose, then you can find more details here:  https://charitybank.org/charity-loans


COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021: roadmap reviews

The article can be accessed here: https://valonline.org.uk/pm-announces-roadmap-to-ease-lockdown-restrictions/

On 5 April 2021 the Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a statement at the coronavirus press conference, confirming that from Monday 12 April 2021, the government will move to Step Two of their roadmap – “re-opening shops, gyms, zoos, holiday campsites, personal care services like hairdressers and, of course, beer gardens and outdoor hospitality of all kinds.”

They are also “ increasing the number of visitors to care homes from one to two – to allow residents to see more of their loved ones.”

The full speech can be accessed here.

In the speech the Prime Minister also referred to a publication of their early thinking on their four reviews, on the safe return of major events, on social distancing, the potential role of Covid status certification, and on the resumption of international travel.

In the policy paper “Roadmap Reviews: Update “ the Cabinet Office point out that the success of the UK’s vaccination programme does not provide universal protection. While it is certain that vaccines have at least some impact on transmission, the extent of this is still unknown. Even after two doses the vaccine will not be 100% effective and some people will not take up the offer of a vaccine. As a result, some measures may be required for a period after all adults have been offered a vaccine, in order to prevent a surge in hospitalisations which could put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

The roadmap review includes :

  • Whether and how COVID-status certification might be used to reopen our economy, reduce restrictions on social contact, and improve safety.
  • Notification that the Global Travel Taskforce will publish its report later this week on how a risk-based “traffic light” system might help non-essential international travel to return.  At this stage the government cannot confirm whether non-essential international travel can resume on 17 May 2021, or whether they will need to wait longer before lifting the outbound travel restriction.
  • How the Events Research Programme will examine the extent to which COVID-status certification would help towards the return of crowds to mass events and closed settings, from football matches to theatre performances, and the reopening of nightclubs.
  • The Social Distancing Review exploring whether existing rules, designed to limit virus transmission, could be relaxed in different settings.

The policy paper can be accessed here.

We recommend that all local VCSE organisations read the policy paper and roadmap to gain further understanding of what changes come into place from 12 April 2021 and what further easing decisions remain to be concluded, in order to help plan their future service delivery.


The Strategic Legal Fund (SLF)

The Strategic Legal Fund (SLF) is a fund to support legal work that goes beyond securing justice for an individual and makes a significant contribution to law, practice, and procedures, to uphold and promote the rights of migrant groups in the UK.

The SLF aims to tackle injustices and inconsistencies in law and practice that disadvantage or discriminate against people as a result of their migration status. They do this by making grants to organisations to:

  • Undertake pre-litigation research, or
  • Make third party interventions to ensure that the key legal points are made in existing cases.

Those eligible to apply to the SLF  include organisations based in the UK which are Not-for-profit (NFP) organisations that provide specialist level legal advice to vulnerable young migrants.

All applicants must demonstrate that staff have appropriate skills, experience, and expertise, to undertake the strategic legal work proposed.

Details of how to apply and the funding guidelines can be accessed here.


Clubs in Crisis Fund

The sooner you apply the better because they expect high demand.

The funding is for sport clubs or organisations working within the sport for development sector, which are able to demonstrate that the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected their organisation, either operationally or financially, and which require funding to save, resume, or adapt their activity.

In order to be eligible, clubs must provide clear evidence of how they use sport to help young people develop life skills, employment opportunities, reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, or tackle mental health issues.

The funding in the local area of Leicester and Leicestershire will be administered Leicestershire & Rutland Community Foundation. At this stage, details of the fund have not been uploaded to their webpage, but we anticipate that it will be described on this section of their webpage when the fund opens.

https://www.llrcommunityfoundation.org.uk/apply-for-funds/

In the meantime, you can find out more details by accessing the made by sport webpage: https://www.madebysport.com/clubsincrisis


Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act automatic extensions have come to an end.

We previously reported about how the act provided temporary easements for Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and filing requirements for public limited companies (PLCs). You can access the previous article here: https://valonline.org.uk/c-house-corporate-insolvency-act/

If you need more time to file your accounts, some companies can still apply for a 3-month extension.

Companies that are eligible and cite issues around COVID-19 in their application will be granted an extension.

Companies that have already had their accounts deadline extended may not be eligible, as the law only allows a maximum filing period of 12 months.

Further details can be found in the revised Companies House “Filing your company’s accounts” guidance, which can be accessed here.


Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities: The Report

The news story can be accessed here.

The independent report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities published on 31 March 2021 makes 24 recommendations.

These are grouped into 4 broad themes:

  • Build trust
  • Promote fairness
  • Create agency
  • Achieve inclusivity

The themes cover the aspects of change that the Commission believes will catalyse the most effective way to meaningfully address disparities and inequalities for all those affected.

A number of organisations have been critical of the report.

CIPD, the professional body for experts in people at work. Their role is championing better work and working lives by setting professional standards for HR and people development, as well as driving positive change in the world of work.

They feel that a failure to recommend mandatory ethnicity pay reporting and greater transparency is a missed opportunity to improve racial equality in the workplace.  CIPD remind us that racial equality at work is not just about participation in employment but also about progression into more senior roles. Their full response to the report can be accessed here.

The Runnymede Trust, a charitable company, describe themselves as the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank. They generate intelligence to challenge race inequality in Britain through research, network building, leading debate, and policy engagement.

Their statement of the report includes the comments “the very suggestion that government evidence confirms that institutional racism does not exist is frankly disturbing. And they use examples of why they feel it is disturbing such as “A young Black mother is four times more likely to die in childbirth than her white friend.

Their statement can be accessed here. As well as a recording of their snap event to discuss the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities findings and why it has failed to address structural and institutional racism in the UK: https://www.runnymedetrust.org/sewell

One of the major changes we might see is the potential changes to the terminology used in government funding to the local VCSE sector. The report recommends that the government moves away from the use of the term ‘BAME,” to better focus on understanding disparities and outcomes for specific ethnic groups.

The report can be accessed here.

Local VCSE organisations supporting local diverse communities may wish to read the report and comments by CIPD and Runnymede Trust.

 


Skoll World Forum 2021 on social entrepreneurship

Jeff Skoll was the first full-time employee and first President of eBay. He developed the company’s inaugural business plan and led its successful initial public offering. eBay has since become the world’s largest on-line marketplace, giving hundreds of millions of buyers and sellers the opportunity to connect and become successful online entrepreneurs.

After pioneering the creation of the eBay Foundation, Jeff founded the Skoll Foundation in 1999.

The forum is a mix of plenaries, sessions, networking activities, and more.

The theme of the forum is “Closing the Distance” examining local and global divides as they work together to build bridges. Exploring ways to close the distance between the world’s toughest challenges and the innovative solutions that aim to build a better future for all—taking time to become closer with each other along the way.

The 2021 Forum is designed for everyone dedicated to social progress

The schedule includes a lightning talk on Reparative Capital for Marginalised Communities.

What would it look like if an individual’s economic wellbeing was not determined by the wealth that they were born into or the colour of their skin? Learning from economic and financial solutions that prioritise access and inclusion, they will discuss how capital can be reparative for historically marginalised communities and why community-leaders are best positioned to lead this forward.

The schedule of these free events can be accessed here.


Charity Inquiry Afghan Heroes: Learnings for the wider sector  

In an official report published on 25 March 2021, the Charity Commission says the former trustees of Afghan Heroes failed to take reasonable care in managing the charity and its finances, and gained significant unauthorised private benefit from it.

The report also criticises the charity’s fundraising, and the quality of the services it offered to veterans with complex needs.

From a wider learning perspective the commission reminds us that partnering with a specialist individual or business to raise money for a charity can bring benefits. However, to meet their legal duties, trustees must ensure that:

  • These arrangements comply with the specific legal requirements that apply
  • They can show that the arrangements, including the costs, are set and monitored in the best interests of the charity, protecting it from undue risks to its reputation and other assets
  • Money raised is always used in an effective and efficient way to advance the objects of the charity and support beneficiaries

Charity trustees should ensure that they have a conflicts of interest policy in place to ensure that they are fully aware of their responsibilities and that any conflicts that do arise are appropriately managed.

The charity commission published a conflicts of interest: a guide for charity trustees (CC29) in May 2014. It includes a checklist to enable a trustee to manage any conflict appropriately.

The conflict of interest guidance can be accessed here.

The Charity Commission also states that trustees cannot receive any benefit from their charity in return for any service they provide to it or enter into any self-dealing transactions unless they have the legal authority to do so.

The authority would be described in the charity’s governing document or, if there is no such provision in the governing document, the Commission or the Courts.

The charity commission published its Trustee expenses and payments (CC11) guidance on 1 March 2012, where it explains that  a charity trustee may only be paid for serving as a trustee where it is clearly in the interests of the charity, and provides a significant and clear advantage over all other option.

The trustee expenses and payment guidance can be accessed here.

Details of the inquiry, including the wider learning can be accessed here.

Local charities may wish to review their procedures regarding managing conflict of interest and trustee expenses/payments in light of this inquiry’s findings.


Guidance for people with dementia on safeguarding enquiries

The Care Act 2014 provides Local Authorities with a duty to safeguard adults.  However, the needs of people with dementia will vary widely and in order to safeguard people with dementia effectively, practitioners need to be able to adapt their practice.

This year, the Office of the Chief Social Worker worked with Music for Dementia to design tools to support social workers and link workers to incorporate music into the care plan of people with dementia

The practice guidance “ Supporting people living with dementia to be involved in adult safeguarding enquiries” was published on 31 March 2021 which explains what is known about the abuse and neglect of people who are living with dementia and identifies principles for practice as well as principles and suggestions for good practice.

The guidance is aimed at social workers however will be of value to all professionals involved in safeguarding adults who are living with dementia.

The guidance was commissioned by Lyn Romeo in 2019, on behalf of the Office of the Chief Social Worker for Adults.  The guidance was researched and completed by Dr Jeremy Dixon of the Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath, Bath.

The published guidance can be accessed here.

Local VCSE organisations supporting people with dementia may find the guidance of interest.

The charity commission has it owns “safeguarding and protecting people for charities and trustees” guidance, which provides advice on what to do to protect people who come into contact with your charity through its work from abuse or mistreatment of any kind.

The guidance was last updated in October 2019 and can be accessed here.

We recommend that all VCSE organisations review their safeguarding policies and procedures on an annual basis to take account of changes in legislation and working practice.  The two sets of guidance mentioned may assist that review process.