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Make Sure You File on Time with the Charity Commission

E-BulletinNow into the new financial year, the Charity Commission places emphasis on reminding charities of their legal duties to file their accounts and annual returns on time with them.


All charities must inform the Charity Commission of their income and expenditure, using the annual return form. Remember:



  • charities with an annual income of over £25,000 are required to submit accounts, an independent examiner or auditor’s report, and the trustees’ annual report
  • if your charity is a CIO (charitable incorporated organisation) you must submit the annual return and accounts irrespective of your income

Charities have up to 10 months from the end of their financial year to submit their accounts, and for the many charities with a financial year end of 31 March, this deadline is 31 January.

When a charity submits their accounts late, its register profile on GOV.UK is marked as overdue, alerting potential donors.

ALL trustees are responsible for ensuring their charity files on time , it is not the responsibility of the treasurer, or an accountant. Trustees must also keep their charity’s contact and trustee details up-to-date,by law.

HMRC Seeks Views on Landfill Communities Fund Reform

Online SurveyHM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is asking for comments on proposals for reform of the Landfill Communities Fund to improve the flow of funding to communities in England and Wales.

Groups that have received funding through the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) are encouraged to offer their views on how the flow of funding to communities can be improved. Although the fund has delivered more than £1.4 billion to more than 52,000 community projects across the UK since 1996, there remain many millions of unspent LCF funds.

The Government wants to ensure that the flow of funding to communities is as efficient as possible. It therefore announced at Autumn Statement 2014 that it would set up a working group to develop proposals to reform the LCF. The working group met between November 2014 and January 2015 during which time they developed proposals that could improve the flow of LCF funding to communities, by removing barriers that can prevent or delay funding reaching projects. The working group also identified areas where policy barriers were causing unnecessary bureaucracy, and possible delay to the delivery of projects.

HMRC are now asking for feedback on the impact and workability of these proposals to help determine the final shape of reform of the LCF. The consultation document can be found on GOV.UK website
The deadline for feedback is 10 June 2015 (11:45pm).

New Report on the Shift from Grants to Contracts

ReportsCharity think tank and consultancy New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) has published a report that looks at the shift from grants to contracts in recent years and the impact this can have on both funders and charities.

The paper, entitled ‘Times of Change: Briefing on Public Sector Commissioning’, examines the issues and concerns involved in the changing funding landscape from grants to public service commissioning.

The report, originally prepared for the trustees of the Henry Smith Charity, outlines the issues grant-makers and philanthropists should consider in looking at the ‘seismic shift’ that has taken place as charitable organisations move from receiving grants to being awarded contracts.

The downturn in the economy in recent years has resulted in a cut in Government funding for the charitable sector and an increase in the outsourcing of public services to private and voluntary sector organisations. According to the report, commissioning contracts for charities have grown by £6.5 billion in a decade while grant funding has shrunk by £2.2 billion.

The report points out that many charitable organisations are struggling to navigate the quickly shifting landscape and are at a disadvantage in terms of capacity and resources when compared with large commercial organisations.

Both funders and recipients have concerns about the ‘shift from grants to contracts’ including:
• The negative impact on financial security from Payment by Results contracts (a service paid for only when and if the provider achieves certain outcomes) as well as the impact on cash flow.
• The competition between national and local charities to deliver local contracts.
• A risk that funding a charity to deliver an activity will enable the Government to reduce provision in that particular area and direct money to where it may be less well spent.
• The withdrawal of the state from areas it previously occupied, with austerity measures seeing a cut in non-mandatory services alongside more conservative interpretations of statutory minimum responsibilities.
• Charitable funds will be used to subsidise the public sector or the profits of private sector prime providers.
• The quality of the delivery of public services through a contract rather than a grant may be compromised.
• The quality of the charity’s work can be adversely affected as contracts can be bureaucratic to operate (diverting a charity from its mission) and entering into a sub-contracting relationship can imply uncertain volumes of work and unstable funding.

The report concludes by stating:
“The decentralised nature of commissioning means that there is huge local variation and it is very difficult to establish generalised rules. The commissioning and wider funding environment is changing rapidly – and it is an issue that will continue to evolve and affect the charitable sector in different ways over time.”
A copy of the report can be downloaded from the NPC website

Sandwell Compassionate Communities Event

EventsSandwell Compassionate Communities was launched at a conference over five years ago. Since then they have been involved in a vast range of activities with other organisations, and with individuals in the communities.

Sandwell Compassionate Communities, with the West Midlands Association of Directors for Public Heath, are hosting an event from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm on Tuesday 12 May at the Black Country Museum.  This host event is part of the 4th International Public Health Palliative Care Conference, which is taking place in Bristol from 13 – 15 May, with many different presentations and workshops from people around the world.

It is hoped that as many people as possible will attend the conference at the Black County Museum. For more information about the conference visit the website or contact 0121 612 2939.

Changes to Entertainment Licensing, Will Benefit Many

Community EventsThe deregulation of some categories of entertainment will be welcomed by those using community venues, local authority premises and more.

The Legislative Reform (Entertainment Licensing) Order 2014 came into force on 6 April 2015, resulting in a number of types of entertainment which were previously classed as ‘regulated entertainment’ being deregulated.

This means that licences will no longer be required in order for specific types of entertainment to take place, and some of the major changes include:

  • You will no longer need a licence to show films incidentally to another activity which doesn’t itself require a licence (this exemption already applies to music)
  • Provided permission is given by the person responsible for the land or venue, you won’t need a licence for recorded or live music to be played to an audience of less than 500 people between 8am and 11pm, if it takes place at a community premises (such as a church hall, village hall or similar), a hospital, a school, or
    premises or land owned or occupied by a local authority.

A clear summary of entertainment licensing can be found on the website.

Sandwell to Mark VE Day 70th Anniversary

VE Day AnniversarySandwell is to mark Victory in Europe Day and commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.

The borough is joining a national chain of 100 beacons being lit to mark the day.

Sandwell will light a beacon on the Rowley Hills on Friday 8 May at 9.32pm which people will be able to see from miles around.

Then on Sunday 10 May a commemorative service is planned. The borough’s mayor Councillor Derek Rowley will join members of the Royal British Legion at the War Memorial in Oldbury Civic Square at 10.30am.

The commemoration will use the order of service from the 1945 ‘Thanksgiving for Victory’ service held in Westminster Abbey.

For more information, call 0121 553 0220

Creative Writing in Different Languages

Creative WritingMultilinguals can put pen to paper in a series of creative writing workshops being held in West Bromwich.

The free events are aimed at adults who want to write in a mix of languages and express themselves creatively.

Organised by a team of linguists based at Warwick University, the workshops will be led by Somali writer Shirin Ramzanali Fazel.

Shirin has published novels and short stories in Italian and English and wants to work with people with more than one voice.

The workshops are on Tuesday 12 May, Tuesday 19 May and Wednesday 20 May from 6.30pm-8.30pm at Sandwell Arts Café, in Central Sixth, formerly The Public building.

To register for a place and for more information contact or register for the workshops at

Adult Social Care Commissioning Event

post - Office Furniture - ChairsThe passing of the Care Act heralds a long-anticipated modernisation of social care for vulnerable people, and has been in force since 1 April 2015. It has brought new duties for local authorities and new rights for service users and carers; along with new opportunities for providers.

The session will outline the information, advice, guidance, and advocacy requirements of the Act and examine the challenges and gaps, establishing what this means for Sandwell. Attendees will also learn about the commissioning intentions for 2015-2017.  The session will take place at Sandwell Council House (Chamber and Annexes) on Friday 15 May 2015, 9.00am to 1.00pm.

The key speakers and topics will be:
Frankie Higgins (Commissioning Manager) – Information, advice and guidance
Beverley Stevens (Commissioner) – Advocacy
Sam Hay (Commissioning Manager) – Commissioning intentions

Interactive group workshops will then be facilitated by the Adult Social Care Commissioning team. Along with presentations and workshops there will be a question and answer session concerning key issues and queries and a chance to meet the Adult Social Care Commissioning Team and Senior Staff.

This will be a target audience event aimed at key statutory and voluntary sector stakeholders who are able to influence their organisation at a senior level. Spaces are limited to two people per organisation. To reserve your place for the event, please send your request to by 8 May 2015. If the event is substantially oversubscribed a reserve list will form the basis of running the session again.

HMRC Workshop

HMRCIf you are thinking of becoming a sole trader or going into partnership and want to know more about what is involved with completing your self-assessment this workshop is for you.



The workshop will cover:-

  • Self-employment and HMRC what you need to know?
  • The information/data required: income, allowable expenditure, net profit/net loss before Tax and drawings.
  • What is Self-Assessment?
  • Once you have completed your self-assessment what does this mean with regards to your Tax and National Insurance?

The workshop is being held on Thursday 16 April from 9.30am – 12.00pm at The Business Centre, Church Street, West Bromwich, B70 8RP.  To book your place please contact 0121 525 2558 or e-mail

Friends of Young Achievers Launch Night

Friends of Young AchieversTo celebrate the recent Awards for All grant, and to re-launch the Young Adventurers Duke of Edinburgh Award Group, the Friends of Young Achievers are inviting you to an information evening where you can find out more about what they do.

The event is taking place on Thursday 30th April 2014 from 7.30pm – 9pm at The Brasshouse Community Centre, Brasshouse Lane, B66 1BA.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme is open to young people aged 14 – 24, and their groups are open to any young person with a disability within this age range.

During the evening, you will have the opportunity to have a go at some ‘taster’ activities, and hear from the current young people in the group.

Friends of Young Achievers is a charity that was formed in May 2013, and has been fundraising over the past year to support the Young Adventurers Duke of Edinburgh Award Group.  The group is made up mainly of parents and young people who want to make a difference in the Black Country area.

If you would like any more information please e-mail –

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