Charity compliance update January 2018

January 2018
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This month’s update is all about the changes to the annual return 2018 for charities registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Hot off the press, read on for changes to reporting requirements.

In our consultations round-up this month we see two new key consultations around property matters.

Annual return 2018: Consultation update

The Charity Commission for England and Wales published the outcome of (and its responses to) their recent annual return 2018 consultation on 2 January 2018. Changes apply to charities’ financial years starting on or after 1 January 2018 and are predominantly around how information is to be gathered from charities.

In an attempt to keep the main compliance update succinct, the consultation outcome is explored in detail elsewhere on the site.  

OSCR blog watch: GDPR

OSCR is running a series of six blogs around GDPR compliance. In the second in the series, Alison Johnston from the Information Commissioner's Office talks about a charity’s purpose for processing personal data.

Independent examination template update

The Charity Commission for England and Wales has updated their Independent Examination template for receipts and payments reporting. Ensure you are using the latest version by reviewing the updated documents.

Consultations round-up

Here’s our monthly round-up of (and links to) key consultation opportunities and those closed, pending feedback.

The following consultations are currently open and inviting a response:

  • DCLG and DWP: Funding for supported housing - two consultations were launched on 31 October 2017, one on housing costs for sheltered and extra care accommodation, and one on housing costs for short-term supported accommodation. Both consultations seek the views on the design of the government’s new supported housing funding models which relate to England only.
  • Charity Tax Group (CTG):  Business rates in multi-occupied properties

The CTG reports that following an announcement in the 2017 Autumn Budget that the government would legislate to reinstate the relevant elements of the Valuation Office Agency’s (VOA’s) practice prior to the decision of the Supreme Court in Woolway, DCLG has launched a consultation on business rates in multi-occupied properties.

The ruling in the above case meant that two contiguous properties in the same occupation are only assessed as one if they can be considered as a self-contained piece of property. This applies if both parts are physically accessible without having to go onto other property or through commons parts (for example, a common corridor or stairwell). There has been an adverse effect on some ratepayers, including:

  • increases to the overall rateable value due to the loss of “quantum discount”
  • loss of small business rate relief for ratepayers who have seen their property split into parts
  • changes to rateable value due to rounding

The ruling was potentially important for small charities and charitable companies because many of them occupy two or three rooms or floors in multi-occupied buildings and not all of them receive 100% business rate relief.

The consultation was launched (on 2 January 2018) with the following scope:

  • how the government should capture their policy revision intention in legislation, and
  • how this policy intention should then be implemented

Responses should be sent in via e-mail by 23 February 2018.

The following consultations are closed with feedback analysis pending – watch this space for an update in future briefings:

“The Commission had planned to publish an analysis of the consultation in early August. However, the high volume of submissions means it has not been possible to prepare the analysis in that timeframe. We will continue our work on the review and plan to publish our analysis later in 2017.”

OSCR will publish the final version of the guidance and an evaluation report of the consultation in early 2018.

About Jen Gerrard

Jen Gerrard

Jen is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA) and the founder and managing director of Gerrard Financial Consulting, a specialist accounting firm for the charitable sector. She has over 17 years’ experience working in accounting and finance and has also worked as an accountancy tutor for a leading training provider.

Jen has been a trustee of the Southville Community Development Association (2014 to 2017), Self Injury Self Help (SISH) (2013-2016), the Oswestry Food & Drink Festival and Impact AAS (2007 to 2010). In addition to being a current Trustee of Women’s Aid Federation of England, Jen has been a registered volunteer with Volunteer Bristol for four years and is a Member of the ICAEW Charity & Voluntary Sector Specialist Group.

Jen sits on the South West & Wales Regional Engagement Forum of the Charity Finance Group and makes regular contributions to articles in national publications – most recently AccountingWEB and Charity Finance Focus (produced by the CFG). She is also a regular speaker on charity finance and governance matters.

Her firm is a corporate member of the Charity Finance Group and was shortlisted in two categories for the AccountingWEB Practice Excellence Awards 2016. This is in recognition of the company’s innovative work with charities and NFPs to streamline their finance functions through adoption of new technology.


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