Welcome to the third edition of Russell-Cooke's charity bulletin for 2023
Our charity team is dedicated to providing you with the latest news and developments affecting the charity sector.
In this edition we will:
- provide a roundup of recent developments
- look in-depth at disposals of land by charities and the Commission’s guidance on social media
- share details of our upcoming events
A couple of weeks ago Orlando Fraser, the Charity Commission Chair, gave a speech setting out his vision and priorities for the Commission. A script of the speech is available here.
Trustees' week will be taking place from 6 – 10 November 2023. This year’s theme is “Many voices. Working together. With purpose.” Throughout the week events will be taking place to celebrate the work of trustees and to provide training, guidance and an opportunity to connect.
Festival of Trusteeship
Alongside Trustees’ Week, Getting on Board are running their Festival of Trusteeship, with a programme of events to help existing and aspiring trustees to develop their expertise. The events are split into four strands: Aspiring Trustees, Good Governance, Recruitment, and Thought Leadership. Our team have worked closely with Getting on Board this year to assist with the delivery of the trustee learning programme.
The Charity Commission have developed a short 10 question quiz to test trustees’ knowledge of their role and duties.
Charity Commission annual public meeting
The Charity Commission Annual Public Meeting 2023 will take place on 15 November 2023. The hybrid meeting will be open to charity representatives as well as the wider public, and will be an opportunity for the Chief Executive and Chair of the Commission, as well as their colleagues, to provide updates on and answer questions about the Commission’s work.
Code of Fundraising Practice review
The Fundraising Regulator launched a 12-week public consultation to gather feedback on proposals for changes to the Code of Fundraising Practice (Code). This is the second phase of the regulator's two-year process of reviewing and updating the Code to ensure that it remains effective and relevant for the future. The consultation is open until 1 December 2023.
Charity Commission publishes new guidance on social media use
The Charity Commission recently published new guidance on charities’ use of social media. You can read more about the guidance in our article Social media series: part I – new Charity Commission guidance. The guidance can be found here.
Fundraising Regulator advises review of face-to-face fundraising subcontracting relationships
In a blog post, the Head of Policy at the Fundraising Regulator has advised charity trustees to ask their fundraising teams to review their face-to-face subcontracting relationships “as a matter of urgency.”
This is in response to various media reports that sub-contractors are using fundraisers who lack sufficient training and who operate within a commission-based payment structure. These fundraisers have been using high-pressure sale tactics that potentially breach the Code of Fundraising Practice.
The Fundraising Regulator launched a market inquiry into the use of subcontractors in fundraising by charities on 12 October 2023.
Town hall development
The First-tier Tribunal (Charity) has directed that the Commission prepare a new scheme, in consultation with the appellants (members of various interest groups resident in Ealing) and with the local authority, in relation to the Victoria Hall Trust.
The local authority, as the sole trustee of the Trust, had over many years treated the Trust’s property as part of its own, and had failed to deal with it on the terms of the charitable trust on which it was held. Although the Tribunal agreed with the Commission that the case for a scheme had been made out, it was not satisfied that the proposed scheme adequately protected the charity’s interests. This decision illustrates the difficulties that local authorities who act as trustees of charities may find themselves in when they fail to manage and administer a charity and its property separately from its own property and affairs.
Investing charity money: guidance for trustees
The Charity Commission published its renewed guidance on Investing charity money: a guide for trustees. The Commission has also updated its Charities and investment matters: Legal underpinning. The Commission has redesigned the guidance to make it shorter, clearer and easier to use, with the intention of giving charity trustees confidence to make investment decisions that are right for their charity. The guidance now makes it clearer that charity trustees have discretion to choose what investment approach is in the best interests of their charity in the circumstances and have a range of investment options open to them, provided they ultimately further the charity’s purposes.