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Governance

Digital Incorporation for CICs

New online process for incorporating Community Interest Companies (CICs)

Are you setting up a new Community Interest Company? You can now use an online incorporation process. This new digital registration option will offer:

  • significantly reduce incorporation times,
  • online convenience; and
  • 24-hour availability to the CIC sector

As well as including CIC and Company House registration this three-way digital service includes HMRC, enabling CICs to register for corporation tax as they incorporate their business.

According to the regulator, the new system will let applicants know that their application has been received and confirm incorporation as soon as it is completed, usually within two working days.  It will also allow Companies House to process and place community interest companies on the public record far more efficiently than paper documents.  The online process will provide benefits such as security, speed and environmental savings.

Digital incorporation will:

  • Reduce incorporation costs for prospective CICs to £27
  • Allow payment by card or PayPal; and
  • Confirm incorporation – within 2 working days, in the majority of cases.

For further information on the new online process, take a look at this webinar which provides an overview of the online system https://bit.ly/2WabXoe

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Getting on Board launches free Trustee recruitment guidance

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Getting on Board, a charity dedicated to creating community leaders through board level Volunteering, has published new practical guidance on trustee recruitment.

Trustees lead and govern charities, so recruiting people into these roles is an extremely important and high-impact activity. The new guidance aims to help charities with the process of effective and open trustee recruitment. 

Currently there are an estimated 90,000 vacancies for Trusteeships and 90% of organisations report recruiting their Trustees by word of mouth and existing networks. Men outnumber women on Trustee boards 2:1, and on average, a Trustee is 57. Simultaneously only 41% of Trustee boards are representative of the communities they serve, and a meagre 14% of organisations feel well-equipped to meet compliance, strategic, and development needs.

From assessing skills gaps in an organisation’s Trustee Board, to effective advertisement, todeveloping meaningful inductions for a new Trustee, Getting on Board seeks to demystify the process and promote the practice of open recruitment for charity boards. This new guidance gives everything from checklists to flow charts to skills mapping guides for organisations looking to grow, diversify, or strengthen their Trustee board. Especially for smaller organisations who may be embracing open recruitment for the first time, the guide is a step by step to getting the best out of the process, and a new Trustee.

Download the guidance (English only) 

WCVA will be running a training workshop in partnership with Getting on Board on 20 June in Rhyl 

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Guidance for charities with a connection to a non-charity

The Charity Commission has published new guidance for charities that are connected to non-charitable organisations

Does your charity have links to a non-charitable organisation? New guidance from the Charity Commission aims help charities to reap the benefits of such relationships while managing risks carefully.

The Commission says its casework has identified examples where charities have not managed their links to non-charitable organisations with care, in some cases allowing charities to be misused to further non-charitable interests, including commercial or private interests.

The regulator recognises that many charities work successfully in close partnership with a wide variety of non-charitable organisations, such as trading subsidiaries. These relationships can be crucial in helping a charity deliver on its mission for the public benefit.

The new guidance does not set out new rules or regulations, but draws together relevant law and practice in setting out six principles to help trustees ensure their arrangements for working with a linked body secure the charity’s interests and independence.]

  1. Recognise the risks
  2. Do not further non-charitable purposes
  3. Operate independently
  4. Avoid unauthorised personal benefit and address conflicts of interest
  5. Maintain your charity’s separate identity
  6. Protect your charity

You can read the full guidance on the Charity Commission website: Guidance for charities with a connection to a non-charity

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Seven big changes to employment law in April

Nicola Mullineux leads a team of employment law content writers who produce guidance and commentary on employment law, case law and key HR developments. She has written articles for national publications for over 10 years and regularly helps to shape employment in the future by taking part in government consultations on employment law change.

Next month, several changes will be coming into force which will alter current employment law, and with it, the way you’re currently doing things.

How much you pay to abide by the National Minimum and Living wage, how you issue payslips, and how much you contribute to pensions will all change in April, so it’s really important to act now for your charity to be prepared.

You can find an overview of the seven main changes below, but for further detail and tips, NCVO members are invited to attend a webinar which will explain these areas on Wednesday 27 March at 10.00 – register for the webinar here.

Monday 1 April: National Living Wage increases

The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage go up by 4.9% for all age groups.

  • £8.21 per hour for workers aged 25 and over (up from £7.83).
  • £7.70 per hour for workers aged 21 to 24 (up from £7.38).
  • £6.15 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20 (up from £5.90).
  • £4.35 per hour for workers aged under 18 (up from £4.20).
  • £3.90 per hour for apprentices (up from £3.70).

Last year, the government named and shamed 419 businesses guilty of paying below the National Minimum Wage, and forced them to pay out £2.54 million.

To avoid an unwelcome letter from HMRC and a potentially tainted reputation, you should take the time to update your payroll well in advance of April’s changes.

Remember to check that any pay deductions for uniforms or equipment don’t tip your staff below the National Minimum Wage.

Thursday 4 April: businesses must publish gender pay gap report

Public sector organisations should publish their gender pay gaps by 31st March 2019. For private sector businesses with 250+ staff, findings need to be published by 4th April 2019.

Last year, it was found that businesses paid women on average 8.6% less than men. This year, many hope to see this pay gap reduce. Having said that, the common issues driving current pay gaps may require a longer term view.

To understand your reporting requirements, or for assistance in putting a report together, call our NCVO member support line or visit here.

Friday 5 April: consultation closes on redundancy protection for pregnant employees

Under this proposed change, a woman would get protection from redundancy from the point that she informs her employer she is pregnant until six months after her maternity leave. It may also apply to adoptive and other parental leave.

Saturday 6 April: Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) goes up

Currently, the minimum sick pay rate per week is £92.05. As of early April, this will increase to £94.25.

You must pay your worker sick pay if they have been too ill to work for four days or more, and you need to pay it for up to 28 weeks.

Saturday 6 April: pension contributions increase to 8%

The minimum contributions you and your staff pay into your automatic enrolment workplace pension scheme will increase from 6 April 2019.

As of this date, your employee needs to put at least 5% of their pre-tax salary into their pension, and you have to put in 3%.

Saturday 6 April: changes to payslips

Previously, only your staff classed as employees needed to get written itemised payslips. You didn’t need to itemise payslips for any staff classed as ‘workers’.

Now the law has changed. As of April 2019, you’ll need to give itemised payslips to your employees and your workers. If you don’t, you’ll be breaking the law.

Sunday 7 April: statutory pay for maternity, paternity,  adoption and shared parental leave increases

The minimum pay you need to give staff on maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave increases from £145.18 to £148.68 per week.

The average earnings that an employee has to make to receive these payments also increases from £116 to £118 per week.

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Charity Commission outlines approach to regulation

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What to expect from the Charity Commission over the next five years

Speaking at the Charity Commission’s annual public meeting in Manchester on 5 March, the Commission’s Chief Executive and Chair conveyed a message to the sector about what to expect from its regulator over the next five years.

The Commission’s Chief Executive, Helen Stephenson made it clear that the regulator’s capacity is still on a “knife edge”, after experiencing the “double whammy” of funding cuts and increasing demand for its services. The Commission currently receives on average 260 emails or phone calls from customers per day.

However, plans to address this through a consultation on whether the Commission should charge charities for regulation are on hold because the government is preoccupied with Brexit. Last year the government gave the Commission an additional £5m per year, until a consultation on charging charities could come about, which has enabled the regulator to recruit additional staff.

Despite the challenges, Stephenson outlined the key points from the Commission’s statement of strategic intent last year and said: “Work is currently underway translating all of these objectives into clear and measurable delivery plans. It’s not a heroic strategy, but it’s an ambitious one.” She added that the Commission is “implementing it in a challenging time for us”.

She said the Commission is focused on delivering on the refreshed aims set out in last year’s statement.  “We want to set out our stall to the charity sector about the way in which we are going to develop in the next five years,” Stephenson said.

So, what can charities expect from the Commission?

Both Stephenson and the Commission’s chair, Baroness Stowell, said that the Commission will be “louder”, and charities can expect to hear the regulator speaking up more.

Baroness Stowell told charities to expect to see a more confident Commission. A Commission that is unafraid to use its voice and authority to encourage behaviour and conditions that help charity thrive.

The Commission also plans to improve access to data and improve content so that it’s engaging and useful for trustees.

You can read Baroness Stowell’s speech here Chair’s speech to the Charity Commission Annual Public Meeting

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Charity Governance in 2019

What’s on the agenda for Charity Governance in 2019

Louise Thomson from ICSA has written for Charity Times about charity governance trends to expect in 2019.

2018 saw significant concerns in relation to safeguarding, the introduction of new data protection laws, and a strategy from the Charity Commission focussed more strongly on public trust. Louise anticipates that in 2019, boards should expect: 

A refresh of the UK Charity Governance Code is also planned to ensure that it reflects the changing environment. WCVA is a member of the Charity Governance Code steering group and we look forward to working with the group on the refresh, as well as continuing to promote the Code in Wales.

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