Our Spring Charity Newsletter 2024

Lubbock Fine


Lubbock Fine
Our Charity News provides updates on the latest guidance and support for the not-for-profit sector, featuring a variety of new guidance released by charity regulators.
Worldwide Corporate/Commercial Law
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Our Charity News provides updates on the latest guidance and support for the not-for-profit sector, featuring a variety of new guidance released by charity regulators. Additionally, we examine the impact of recent legislative changes, reporting requirements, tax developments, and other relevant issues, offering insight into the sector's most pressing topics and up-to-date guidance.

The newsletter is applicable to the whole of the United Kingdom and makes reference to the three UK charity regulators:

  • the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI)
  • the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and
  • the Charity Commission for England and Wales (CCEW).

All the articles may be of interest; however, to aid you we have included the following key:

United Kingdom

England Wales


Northern Ireland

Hot topics

State of the Sector 2024

It has been four years since the NPC published its last State of the Sector report. Since then charities have had to deal with several challenging events and occurrences, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the rise of inflation and increased interest rates.

Key findings reported by NPC's publication on the state of the sector included:

  • Essential public services are at risk due to underfunded contracts held by charities with 62% of charities believing that they do not receive the full value it costs to deliver a public sector contract.
  • There is a clear gap between the public's view of charities working where they are most needed and the view of charity leaders with 83% of leaders thinking that they work in the areas where help is needed most or all of the time.
  • The environmental, social, and governance (ESG) agenda is not seen as a key opportunity by many charities, with only 31% discussing it at board level.
  • Charities are more confident using digital technology but face large financial barriers to doing more.

In light of the report the CEO of NCVO, Sarah Vibert also reflected on the report stating that the pressure of the ongoing 'cost-of-giving crisis' means charity leaders are more focused on short-term survival. The report indicates that leaders are having fewer strategic conversations about mission, mergers and partnerships compared to three years ago.

The recommendations for charities to act on include:

  • A review of the risks which government contracts may pose to the charities' sustainability.
  • Not to overlook the longer-term risks that charities face in regards to the environmental crisis.
  • Ensuring charity leaders make time for difficult conversations at board level thinking about their mission, delivery model or opportunities faced by merging at board level.

Guidance: https://bit.ly/3xDntAx

Guidance: https://bit.ly/3U4g5FN

Charity regulators write an open letter to UK Banks

In November 2023, the CEOs of charity regulatory authorities in England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland penned a collective letter. Their aim was to bring attention to the challenges faced by charities and articulate the repercussions for both the organisations themselves and the individuals or causes they support. They appealed to banks to streamline their services, allowing charities to operate without encountering severe governance hurdles.

The letter highlighted several challenges, including a decline in bespoke banking services, instances of administrative delays, and feedback indicating that online banking systems do not align with the operational needs of charities.

To tackle these pressing issues, the CEOs urgently urge banks to undertake specific actions:

  • Streamline the process for establishing a charity bank account, recognising the mutual interest in safeguarding donated funds and aiding charities in prioritising the needs of their beneficiaries.
  • Create thorough training resources for bank employees to deepen their comprehension of charity frameworks and governance systems, thereby mitigating delays stemming from misunderstandings.

In the letter the CEOs of the regulators state: 'There is little more that we as regulators can do. The action needed can only happen with support and leadership from UK banks.'

Guidance: https://bit.ly/3U1jlC6

Cyber security for Charities

In March 2024 the Northern Ireland Cyber Security Centre (NICSC) held a CyberNI week where a range of events were held to raise awareness of cyber security.

According to research from the NICSC, one in four charities have experienced a cyber attack in the last 12 months. That is why it is more important than ever to take steps to prevent cyber criminals from getting hold of your accounts, data, and devices.

The CCNI shared a presentation offering advice and tips on how charities can best protect themselves from cyber security issues and crime.

The top cyber security threats for charities listed by the CCNI include:

  • Ransomware: Malicious software that makes data or systems unusable until the victim makes a payment.
  • Phishing: Often untargeted, mass emails sent to many people asking for sensitive information (such as passwords) or leading to deployment of malware.
  • Supply chain: Third-party services involving the granting of remote access or exchange of client / staff data without the setting of minimum security standards.

An emerging threat called 'Qhishing' is on the rise, where actors send phishing emails containing a pdf or png image of a QR code. The requirement to scan a QR code increases the likelihood of a recipient using a personal device outside of an organisation's web or antivirus protection.

Guidance: https://bit.ly/3xDhmwj

To view the full article, click here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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