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Eleven Charities Fined for Data Protection Breaches

The Information Commissioner’s Office has fined eleven charities that breached the Data Protection Act by misusing donors’ personal data.

ICO investigations found many of the charities secretly screened millions of donors so they could target them for additional funds. Some charities traced and targeted new or lapsed donors by piecing together personal information obtained from other sources. And some traded personal details with other charities creating a large pool of donor data for sale.

A summary of how each charity breached the law can be found here.

The Information Commissioner has exercised her discretion in significantly reducing the level of today’s fines, taking into account the risk of adding to any distress caused to donors by the charities’ actions. The same approach was taken to fines issued to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (£25,000) and British Heart Foundation (£18,000) in December.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: “Millions of people will have been affected by these charities’ contravention of the law. They will be upset to learn the way their personal information has been analysed and shared by charities they trusted with their details and their donations.

To read the Charity Digital News article in full click here.

New Reporting Obligation to HMRC Affects Charities Making Grants

Those charities which receive more than half of their income from financial investments in any year need to check whether they have an obligation to report details of their grant recipients to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). If more than half of your charity’s income is from financial investments and those investments are managed for you in whole or in part by a broker, fund manager, independent financial adviser, or wealth manager then you may need to carry out checks on your grant recipients and make a report to HMRC to meet your obligations under the ‘Common Reporting Standard’.

The Common Reporting Standard is a global agreement to combat offshore tax evasion through the sharing of financial information between tax administrations. For more information on the Common Reporting Standard and the reporting requirements please refer to guidance issued by HMRC.

To read other Charity Commission news click here.

Want to keep up to date with all the Charity Commissions news, guidance and events? Make sure you’re following them on Twitter @ChtyCommission, LinkedIn, and sign up to their blog from their website.

Source: Charity Commission News Issue 56 – February 2017

Regulatory Alerts Issued For Fundraising Charities

The Charity Commission recently issued an alert to promote the new Charities Act fundraising rules, which came in to force on 1 November 2016. The new rules affect:

 the trustees’ annual reports of larger charities that fundraise from the public
 the agreements that must be in place when third party fundraisers raise money for charities

The changes will help charities demonstrate their commitment to protecting donors and the public from poor fundraising practices. The new law will also help to ensure that fundraising standards form part of the agreements between charities and any commercial participators or professional fundraisers with whom they work. Find out how your charity is affected by the new provisions, and when compliance with them is required. You can also look at Charity reporting and accounting: the essentials (CC15d) which have been updated to reflect the new requirements.

The Charity Commission also issued joint alerts with the Fundraising Regulator about the importance of following data protection law when handling donors’ personal information, and about complying with their legal trustee duties when working with third party fundraisers as set out in the Commission’s guidance Charity fundraising: a guide to trustee duties (CC20).

To read other Charity Commission news click here.

Want to keep up to date with all the Charity Commissions news, guidance and events? Make sure you’re following them on Twitter @ChtyCommission, LinkedIn, and sign up to their blog from their website.

Source: Charity Commission News Issue 56 – February 2017

One in Four Organisations Still Unprepared for GDPR

A quarter of marketers (26%) believe their organisations are still unprepared for the introduction of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), with just over half (56%) reporting that they feel prepared and 5% believing it’s not their responsibility.

In addition, just two-thirds (68%) of those asked said their business would be GDPR compliant in time for 2018, according to the second edition of the DMA’s ‘GDPR and you’ series of studies into the industry’s awareness and preparedness for the GDPR.

The results show that two-thirds of respondents (66%) have ‘good’ awareness – rising from 53% in June 2016 – and that marketers ‘personal’ feeling of preparedness has increased dramatically from 49% to 71%. However, there is still a clear need for urgency with many marketers not believing their businesses will be compliant before the new rules will come into place.

According to the research, over a third (37%) of marketers said profiling is one of their biggest concerns under GDPR, while half (50%) said it was legacy data and the runaway winner is consent with 70% agreeing that it would change under the GDPR. The result of these concerns is that the biggest priority for business are ‘conducting impact assessments’ (42%), ‘giving data subjects greater control of their data’ (36%) and ‘revising your data policy’ (31%). ‘Auditing your data privacy policy’ on the other hand has dropped from 39% to 30% since June 2016.

Chris Combemale, CEO of the DMA group, commented: “May 2018 should be a date that is in every marketer’s diary, giving us around 16 months before the GDPR comes into force. It is concerning that only half of our industry feels their businesses are prepared for the new rules and not that many more believe they will be ready in time. The finish line for GDPR readiness is fixed and the risk to businesses of not being compliant is significant. Our advice is to continue preparations in earnest over the coming year. Not making it across the line in time is not an option.”

To read the full article click here

Source: Charity Digital News

Six Ways Charity Boards Can Make Their Workload Manageable

Is your board super busy? Top tips on sharing the burden: bring in specialist expertise, include more junior staff and work with service users.

People on voluntary sector boards have heavy workloads – so what’s the best way to share the burden? Sub-committees may not seem exciting, but, used properly, delegating tasks will help your board to be brilliant.

1. Let them delve into detail
Charity trustees often want to get involved in the nitty gritty. But in a busy board meeting, with a tight agenda, that can sometimes be a pain in the neck.

However, executives and trustees will still want to work together from time to time, to delve into detail. Sub-committees are the way to do this without taking precious time away from the primary board meeting. It’s a great way for charity staff to engage with trustees and vice versa, enabling trustees to gain a better understanding of the day-to-day issues affecting the charity while offering their own expertise.

2. Bring in specialists
If your board is proposing something new, controversial or risky, setting up a sub-committee is a clever way to use people who can bring in particular expertise but who, for whatever reason, do not want to or cannot be a full trustee.

Discussions of fundraising regulation have led to a mini governance crisis. It’s time to get trustees more involved with the day-to-day work of charities

It is also a good way to test whether people come up to scratch in terms of their style and expertise, giving you a bigger pool to choose from when recruiting for your main board.

You should also consider the “internal” outsider: someone already on your main board who is interested in a particular issue but is not an expert. They can be used as a sounding board (pun intended) and this is often a great way to test a proposal before presenting it to the rest of the board.

3. Don’t let sub-committees linger on pointlessly
It’s important to close any committee when it has run its course. For instance, you may set one up for a digital needs review and then close it when the review has been done. But committees can also evolve. Something that starts as a review of digital needs could turn into a committee that monitors the implementation of an organisational IT strategy, for instance.

To read the full Guardian article click here.

From: The Guardian – Voluntary Sector Network

HMRC to Exempt Charities From New Digital Filing Rules

HMRC has confirmed that charities will be granted an exemption from new rules that will force businesses keep digital records of its accounts and produce quarterly updates.

In a consultation on its Making Tax Digital programme, HMRC did however say that while charities will be exempted, trading subsidiaries will need to adhere to the new rules.

In all, 91 responses were provided to the question of whether charities should be included in the proposals, which have been criticised over the suggested timeframe that will see new rules come into force in 2018.

In a statement the government said: “While the proposal to exempt those trading companies who distribute all profits to charity (and therefore had no corporation tax liability) had some merit, they could still have substantive VAT obligations.

“A significant reason for exempting charities is that many of them do not currently have to submit a tax return, and have a number of reliefs available to them for VAT purposes.”

Source: Charity Digital News

Brilliant Boards: How to Create the Best Voluntary Sector Set of Trustees

With 2017 now in full swing, voluntary sector trustees up and down the country will be thinking about what their board could do better, and what they, as an individual trustee, can do differently.

Here are five resolutions to help make 2017’s board your best yet:

This may seems obvious. But we know that too many boards are merely rubber-stamping the decisions of their executives without suitable scrutiny and challenge.

The voluntary sector has witnessed the press rail against it in 2016 and high-profile cases have thrust to centre stage the fact that too many charities still have poor governance. As a trustee, challenging decisions is one of your primary roles.

Do a skills audit
Getting the right skills on your board is vital for good governance, to ensure the team can fulfil its primary commitment – to challenge.

Charities need to take risks as well as avoid them, so trustees and managers should draw up a policy to put these in context
Having the right brains around the table to navigate your charity through its challenges and opportunities over the coming year is critical and a skills audit will help you identify the gaps. When scoping the landscape, remind yourself of who is due to step down and when. You don’t want to end up without finance expertise because your forgot your treasurer was due to stand down in the next year. Essentially, you need to analyse the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the skills on your board.

Evaluate your board
Trustees should not be afraid to evaluate each other and themselves to ensure their board is fit for purpose. It sets a powerful precedent when boards hold the mirror up to themselves to evaluate their effectiveness.

This means a top-to-tail review of the people, processes, papers, timetabling, committee use and executive involvement. And on an individual level this is also a good time to consider your own contribution to the board.

Are you just coasting? Perhaps it’s time for you to lend your skills elsewhere and allow your seat around the table to be filled by someone else who can contribute in a different way. Knowing when to step down from a board is critical to that board’s survival. Lame duck trustees are a nuisance.

To read the full article click here

Source: The Guardian

New Charity Checklist Part 2

Following on from last weeks Directory of Social Change’s five checklist points, here are five more to get you thinking about what you should be doing as a charity.

1. Implement a communication plan
Following on from creating a brand identity, it is now important to find your voice and use it effectively to communicate. In order to fundraise, raise awareness and make a difference you need to get your message out there. Any piece of communication, a photograph or an article, should be well considered and compelling.

2. Get online
One of the best ways to get your charity and your message out there is by having an online presence. This means a website that can be accessed on a mobile phone, as well as social media accounts especially Twitter and Facebook.

3. Invest in training
Investing in training for your staff is worthwhile and will see you reaping the rewards. Fundraising in particular is a skill that is hugely important for anyone working at a charity.

4. Find trustees
You usually need at least three unrelated people with a range of skills to serve on a governing board. Their main role is to take general control of the decisions, direction and administration of the charity.

5. Register with the Charity Commission
If your charity’s income is at least £5,000 per year, you must apply to register with the Charity Commission. Find out more on their website.

New Charity Checklist Part 1

So you’ve got a great idea for a charity, penned down a name, established a vision and are raring to go. What next? Starting a charity is a tall order and requires time, patient planning and a fair bit of paperwork!

Take a look at Directory of Social Changes checklist for new charities to help you find your feet.

1. Get your finances in order
Cash flow, tax, VAT, investment, risk management… Finance jargon is complicated and most likely requires help from an expert. Find an accountant and iron out the ins and outs of your charity’s finance. All registered charities abide by a total transparency policy; you must make your financial activity publically available.

2. Put together a fundraising plan
You’ll need a strong fundraising strategy with long and short term aims. Ask yourself these questions: how will you raise money and from where, how much do you need, how long do you have? The fundraising world is diverse and complex, from trusts and foundations to government schemes, corporate funding to public donations. Familiarise yourself with it and make use of the many resources dedicated to finding funding.

3. Register for Gift Aid
Often overlooked, Gift Aid is a simple way to increase the value of your donations allowing you to reclaim tax. For every £1 donated, you can claim an additional 25p – make use of this.

4. Legal lowdown
As is the case when establishing any organisation, there are laws and regulations to comply with such as employment laws and health and safety. It is probably worth seeking professional advice with this one as the size, complexity and structure of your charity should all be taken into consideration.

5. Consider a brand identity
One of the most important first steps. As a charity you must be as visible to beneficiaries, volunteers and donors as possible. Having a clear, consistent and compelling brand identity is crucial to ensuring this. Take time to make sure that your name, strapline and logo are all cohesive- you want to tell a story and engage.

Why not come back next week to view the Directory of Social Changes next set of five Charity checklist?

Reporting Serious Incidents To The Charity Commission Consultation

Charity CommissionCharities have to report serious incidents to the Charity Commission. The Charity Commission’s serious incident reporting regime has been in operation since 2007. It is an important compliance and monitoring tool, both for individual charities and the sector as a whole.

The most common types of incidents reported include fraud, theft and confirmed safeguarding issues and is often asked for advice on what to report, how and when.

Its current guidance for charities, ‘How to report a serious incident in your charity’, has recently been reviewed. In order to raise awareness of the updated guidance and to seek views on its revision, the commission is consulting on the proposed changes.

Responses to these questions will help the commission decide how its guidance can be improved, to enable more effective and timely reporting in the future.

The Charity Commission has reviewed its current guidance to Trustees and are seeking views on the proposed changes. You can have a read of the proposals and respond to the consultation here.

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