LMSC - the charity update service

Already a member? Login here:

Member login

Forgotten password?

Samples of articles

As an example of the information that LMSC subscribers receive we have listed 3 sample articles, chosen at random, from our recent archive.

Tax framework for business

The Treasury has published for consultation a draft Tax Framework for business. Developed in discussion with the Business-Government Forum on Tax and Globalisation, the document is intended to provide greater certainty for large businesses about the Government's approach to the development of tax policy.

The document states that Government will consider any changes against the following principles:

  • maintaining the UK's competitiveness;
  • ensuring fairness within and across the tax system so that businesses pay their fair share of tax;
  • minimising distortions to commercial decisions while recognising that the tax system can have a role in supporting the UK's competitive strengths and addressing market failures;
  • simplicity and the avoidance of unnecessary complexity when designing and developing new business tax legislation;
  • stability and certainty, seeking to avoid unnecessary changes to tax legislation but, where amending legislation is necessary, setting out the policy objectives for doing so and explaining how the amended legislation will deliver those objectives; and
  • a commitment to lowering compliance costs balanced against the need for a cost-effective tax administration.

The relative weighting of these principles will vary depending upon the circumstances and the Government will need to make trade-offs between them.

In applying the principles to policy development, the Government will, where possible:

  • consult ahead of proposed tax changes following the principles set out in HMRC's Consultation Framework;
  • publish draft legislation for more complex changes in sufficient time for interested parties to provide comments ahead of their inclusion in a Finance Bill;
  • assess the proposed tax changes against the principles; and
  • in line with the practice begun with Finance Act 2009, continue to publish after Royal Assent an updated and consolidated set of Explanatory Notes, reflecting the full text of the Bill after amendment in Parliament.

Any comments can be sent to [email protected]. Neither the Press Release nor the document itself specifies an end-date for the consultation exercise.

Article information

  • Date: 25 February 2010 (Posted: 25 February 2010)

Of additional interest:

    Wales: Good Governance initiative

    The Charity Commission's Wales office has developed a Good Governance initiative to highlight the importance of effective governance and to encourage trustees to review how they run their charities. The initiative takes as its starting point Good Governance: a Code for the Voluntary and Community Sector, the second edition of which was published in October 2010.

    In Wales there are 50,000 charity trustees and more than 8,000 charities registered. As part of the Good Governance initiative, the Charity Commission contacted all 1,100 charities in Wales with incomes over £100,000 and asked the trustees to conduct a detailed review of their governance and report the findings to the Commission. Nearly half responded.  The Charity Commission has publicised the result of the survey, which solemnly reported as its headline message that 90% of Welsh charity trustee respondents score themselves 'extremely' or 'very' well in how they manage their charities.

    The survey report itself is somewhat more nuanced. In his foreword, Harry Iles, Head of Charity Commission's Wales Office, draws attention to what can go wrong if governance is poorly managed, with the potential to damage not just the charity's reputation, but wider public trust and confidence in the sector. He then acknowledges that it was in response to concerns such as those arising from the AWEMA and Plas Madoc Communities First cases that the Commission asked trustees to evaluate their own charities against the standards of the governance code and to tell the regulator what steps they are taking to put these principles into practice.

    Also, the report acknowledges that it presents no more than “a snapshot” and that the following two factors built into the response should be considered when analysing the result:

    • the trustees were responding to the charity regulator and will have wanted to show how well they are governed; and
    • over half did not respond. It is likely that the non-responders would include charities that are less confident about their standards of governance.

    The report also makes it clear that the exercise was designed to stimulate internal review by charities.  

    The report was followed-up by two governance workshops. The Charity Commission will discuss the findings of its survey into good governance in Wales at its next public meeting in Cardiff on Thursday, November 22 2012. Trustees of Welsh charities are invited to attend. For booking, see here.

    The Good Governance survey will be repeated next year to again encourage charities to review and improve governance, and highlight the central role good governance plays in ensuring effectiveness. In that spirit, LMSC is reporting this within the Charities and Charity Law section rather than within the confines of the Wales section.

     

    Article information

    • Date: 16 October 2012 (Posted: 16 October 2012)

    Of additional interest:

      Charities: how the Commission sees the future

      It is becoming apparent that the Charity Commission sees a much more restricted role for itself in future, as budget constraints begin to bite. Speaking at the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators Charity Governance conference, chief executive Sam Younger said that the Commission would focus on providing online guidance for trustees and would be less involved in future in providing one-to-one advice to charities. In the course of his speech, released the following day by the Commission press office, he had a good deal to say about the future direction of charities:

      I hope that, over the course of the next few years, we’ll see charities viewing good governance not as a hurdle to clear, but as an opportunity to show the public they’re accountable, they’re trustworthy, they’re a wise investment. This is clearly what the public expects. Our consultation revealed that, while people have great trust in charities, they demand a lot in return: good governance, sound management and absolute probity. The Commission has taken that message on board, and my advice to charities would be: do the same. Think of your relationship with the public as a contract in good faith, not as a relationship of unconditional love”.

      He also urged charity umbrella bodies to help charities recognise the importance of accountability:

      “The charity sector as a whole can make a contribution to good governance. For instance, I would like to see late filing of documents among charities becoming the sector equivalent of drink driving: something society may have regarded as excusable in the past, but which is in fact potentially hugely damaging. Not just to the charity in question, but to the wider environment in which it operates. I’m not, of course, suggesting failing to file on time is as dangerous as drink driving. But I do think there’s a role for sector bodies and umbrella groups to work towards a similar sort of culture change. To help us at the Commission get the message across that accountability is not an individual choice, it’s a duty that follows from charitable status. ”.

      As to the Commission’s strategic review, he explained the rationale behind the regulator’s new draft structure and acknowledging the impact of the review on staff members:

      “The draft structure is designed to help us meet our strategic priorities despite the reductions to our resources. Our activity will be split into 11 functions reporting directly to me, consisting of 4 flexible, multi-disciplinary teams dealing with all but the most serious cases, and seven further functions leading on specific areas, such as Registration, Policy, and Investigations and Enforcement. Our new structure aims to keep the management hierarchy as flat as possible, push maximum responsibility to the operating level and ensure value for money. We will keep working across four sites, because the impact of closing one or more offices will have too great an impact on our finances, our workforce and our performance.

      I’m acutely aware that we are entering the most challenging phase yet for staff members, who are now being consulted on what the changes might mean for their roles and their futures. As the board and I have said from the beginning, we hope to be able to achieve the reduction in staffing through voluntary means if at all possible. I know that no amount of consultation makes the uncertainty our staff are facing any easier and that this is a tough time for many.

      A week previously he said that the Commission would be urging charities to join umbrella bodies wherever possible. Speaking at the annual conference of the Community Foundation Network he argued that charity networks and umbrella groups could help raise standards of governance within the sector and support the Commission’s regulatory role. Networks benefited individual charities and could increase public trust and confidence in the sector as a whole. He also warned charities not to ignore public opinion on charity spending:

      “I think many umbrella groups are nervous about raising the issue of the proportion of income charities spend on administrative costs. I sometimes get the impression the sector is scared that, if the public knew that they spend money on systems and salaries, they’d stop giving. There is evidence to suggest that people care about efficiency […] But I would argue that the way to respond to that is not for charities to pretend there isn’t an issue. I have become aware of a slight tendency among charities to dismiss peoples’ preoccupation with money as proof that they simply don’t understand. My plea to the sector would be to have faith in your ability to make the public understand.”

      Finally, in a keynote address to the Association of Charity Independent Examiners Annual Conference, David Locke set out the future priorities for the Commission as follows:

      • the Commission will place far less emphasis on work to represent and champion the sector in future;
      • the amount of one-to-one advice for charities and professional advisers will be scaled back; and
      • providing individual legal advice to charities should not be part of the Commission’s core role.

      Locke assured the conference that the Commission would not abruptly stop providing individual advice and said that it was currently working on a new approach to determine when and where we continue to provide advice to trustees. Nevertheless:

      It’s clear that our relationship with charities and with trustees is changing. For one, we’ll be talking to each other less often. We’ll also be holding their hands less. We’ll be encouraging trustees, as far as possible, to make their own decisions.

      Crucially, he emphasised that, in future, the onus was on those applying for registration to get it right:

      If it isn’t, we’ll reject it. If that organisation then thinks we made a wrong call, they are of course free to request a decision review or appeal to the Charity Tribunal. Similarly, as you know, the Commission is called upon to give a wide range of legal permissions. This will continue to be the case unless Parliament decides in future legislation to adopt a more de-regulatory approach. But our work here will be changing, too. If a charity needs permission, such as requiring the power to do something it currently cannot do – for example, to sell land - they will need to apply on line using a new electronic form. The onus will be on the charity to provide all the evidence and to make the case for the exercise of such a power. We will not engage in protracted correspondence. If the case is not made, we will reject.

      In short, the future relationship of the Commission and individual charities is going to be much more arm’s-length than before.

      Article information

      • Date: 30 June 2011 (Posted: 30 June 2011)

      Of additional interest:

        Subscribers say...

        A very useful summary of current matters.

        We much appreciate your useful service.

        The reports are a concise digest of essential matters.

        Interested in subscribing?

        Join Now