“Helen Harvie's extensive experience in the Third Sector is invaluable to any organisation. Her ability to deliver timely, relevant and cost effective advice is paramount. I have worked with Helen on various projects and she has my highest regard.”
Doug Sanders, Financial Adviser to the Third Sector.
“Helen has helped us with a range of governance advice, incorporation of our charity and the merger of two charities over recent years and her thoroughly professional and friendly service has been much appreciated.”
Arthur Birkby MBE, Chairman – Voluntary Support North Surrey.
“Helen understands the needs and the challenges facing the charity sector. She draws on her extensive experience to offer a proactive, problem solving approach. Her fixed fees ensure we achieve added value at a known affordable cost.”
Charles Haywood, Director – MacConvilles Surveying
“After struggling with the legalities of registering our existing Charity as a Company Ltd by Guarantee, we decided to use the professional knowledge of Helen Harvie. She worked with us to clarify each step, explained the process simply and communicated with the Charity Commission and Companies House on our behalf. I would highly recommend using Helen’s expertise.”
Nancy Williams, Director - The Studio ADHD Centre
“As a board of Trustees we have found Helen Harvie's counsel and advice to the charity invaluable over the years.”
Robin Hobson, Director – Laurence Gould
On the 14th September 2020 the Fundraising Regulator published its latest review into the extent to which charities report about their fundraising practices in their annual report.
It found that 85% of charities report on at least one of the audit requirements. However, only 21% provided all of the required information and 15% reported on none of the requirements.
This is the second review of this kind and the Fundraising Regulator concluded that very little improvement had been made in the last year. The areas that were particularly lacking in information were activities carried out by third parties on their behalf, their commitment to voluntary regulations, complaints reviewed and what they were doing to protect vulnerable people and the public during fundraising.
The Fundraising Regulator has updated its guidance on the requirements in the hope that this will encourage charities to fully address all the requirements in their future annual report.
When a person donates in a door to door collection of goods it should be in the knowledge that a proportion of that collection goes to a charity but not all of it. The commercial participator should take responsibility for this information being clear.
All collection bags should have the company name and charity name on both sides of the bag with equal prominence given to both names and logos.
This news alert is linked to the ASA’s 2017 guidance which was issued following a company breaking the CAP codes. This charity was using collection bags to mislead consumers into believing they were donating directly to the charity.
This guidance does not apply however where charity shops collect goods on behalf of the charity to be sold in the shop. The Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator expect charities to monitor compliance by a third party fundraiser or commercial partner. This includes checking that the collection bags adhere to the ASA’s guidelines.
The Charity Commission has appointed an Interim Manager to the charity Islamic Research Foundation International. This is as part of an ongoing enquiry addressing ‘serious concerns’ over the charity’s governance.
The charity was contacted in the past about its governance and now in its latest filing with Companies House it has been revealed that the foundation gave more than one million pounds to the corporation that owns Peace TV.
Peace TV no longer have a licence to broadcast in the UK. They were suspended in 2019 after they breached Ofcom’s rules on hate speech, airing programmes containing homophobic and anti-Semitic hate speech.
An Interim Manager was appointed in July and part of her job will be to consider whether the charity has a viable future. There are ongoing concerns that the charity’s board will not be willing or able to ‘appropriately adapt to the issues raised. There is also a continuing inquiry into how the trustees intend to use the funds that are now not being used to fund Peace TV and whether trustees may be personally benefiting from funds intended to go towards charitable purposes.
Recently a letter was sent by the Al Rayan Bank to dozens of charities as a sixty-day notice on the changing of the bank’s policies about transferring money overseas. They state, ‘whilst you will still be able to make international payments… to beneficiaries within the EU, you will no longer be able to make international payments to any beneficiary outside the EU’.
This means that many charities will ‘go out of business’ because they will not be able to fund their development work in other countries.
Many Muslim charities will be affected by this and have expressed their concerns, feeling already that Al Rayan were a ‘last resort’ after frustration at their treatment by mainstream banks moved them to have to use Al Rayan.
Following up on the recent story about the tribunal overturning the Charity Commission’s decision to appoint an Interim Manager at the Sikh Community Broadcast Company Limited. It is thought this is the first case of this nature to overturn the decision to appoint an IM. The latest is that the Charity Commission are now seeking new trustees to run the charity.
The Sikh Community Broadcast Company Limited was established to advance the religion and charitable work of the religion and charitable work of the Sikh community. The tribunal said it was ‘regrettable’ that the Commission did not choose to appoint skilled trustees from a Sikh background. The Charity Commission is now in search of persons in the right area that fit this background, particularly those with experience in broadcasting, finance and charity fundraising. The charity is still subject to an ongoing inquiry.
The challenging charity is the Sikh Channel community Broadcast Company. The Interim Manager was appointed following an inquiry by the Charity Commission. The charity accepted that there was mismanagement by former trustees, but the new trustees felt that an IM was ‘unwarranted’
The Tribunal agreed with this line. It felt satisfied that the new trustees had a genuine desire to act in the interests of the charity and it felt they were willing to receive guidelines from the Charity Commission.
The Tribunal disagreed with the Commission’s line that the current trustees had mismanaged the charity, instead believing they would have responded well to an action plan to address the concerns. The Tribunal considered it ‘most regrettable’ that the Commission had not used its power to strengthen the trustee body.
It is thought that this is the first ever successful appeal to Tribunal to challenge the appointment of an Interim Manager.
On 28th August 2020 the Charity Commission published a report on two inquiries into Aid Convoy. The charity was involved in organising aid convoys on the border between Turkey and Syria. However, after the inquiry the convoys were suspended and the charity switched to collecting and shipping aid from the UK to Syria and Turkey.
The first of the two inquiries conducted concluded that the trustees had failed to keep adequate accounts; failed to keep records of the charity’s transactions and activities, the use of funds or the cash couriers; as well as failing to report two separate cash seizures.
The second inquiry was a more in-depth visit by the Charity Commission which found that the charity had significantly underreported their income, gave false or misleading information in their annual returns and paid funds into a trustee’s personal bank account. As well as this, the charity was found to have handled donations of controlled substances (including morphine) without a licence.
This resulted in the charity being appointed an Interim Manager. When the trustees failed to co-operate with them, the IM determined that the charity had no future. It was wound up and two trustees have been disqualified for a period of eight years.
“[The Charity Commission’s] purpose is to ensure charities can thrive and inspire trust so that people can improve lives and strengthen society” (Helen Stephenson, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission)
In this vein, on the 3rd September 2020 the Charity Commission launched an improved version of their charity database. The Charity Commission is dedicated to making their charity database more transparent and accessible for both the charities and the public who use it. The new charity database follows a much clearer form with a dropdown menu, to help pinpoint the area you wish to look at. It includes new graphics to clearly lay out the income and expenditure of the charity, as well as where income come from and goes to. This keeps the information clear and concise for the donors and the public. The Charity Commission also claims this new system allows more information to be accessed by the public. The new scheme includes information about numbers of trustees, employees and volunteers, who in the charity earns more than £60,000, whether a charity’s trustees are paid, whether it has a trading subsidiary and whether they use professional fundraisers.
The Charity Commission has also made efforts to make their services better for the charities as well as the public. Their new display is designed to make it easier for trustees to access and update their charity’s information. They claim to also have a new data download function which aims to make analysis of the charity sector as a whole easier for sector professionals. The new tools also aim to make it easier for potential supporters or those looking to set up new charities to research organisations in their area or those that promote certain causes.
The Charity Commission is asking for continued feedback from the users of their website so that can continue to make improvements.
This guidance explains what trustees need to do to comply with the law relating to the management and control of their fundraising.
The guide sets out 6 principles the trustees should follow to achieve this. The 6 principles are:
– plan effectively
– supervise your fundraisers
– protect your charity’s reputation, money and other assets
– follow fundraising laws and regulation
– follow recognised standards for fundraising
– be open and accountable