Here at SEE Ahead we like to trawl the internet, subscribe to newsletters and keep abreast of all the latest business news that affects our sector. Anything we find of interest we post here.
Annual Return for charities simplified
Amendments to the Annual Return to reduce the reporting burden on charities in England and Wales have been announced by the Charity Commission. The amendments were part of a consultation that closed in November 2017. The new Annual Return will be easier to complete than previous versions. It includes more questions about executive pay but overall it has 15 fewer questions than previous versions.
ICO publishes GDPR guidance for charities
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published new guidance to help charities prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force in May 2018. The guidance answers frequently asked questions about the GDPR, covering topics including what information the GDPR applies to and the steps charities can take to comply with the new rules. The guidance also provides information about where charities can access further help and support to prepare for the GDPR.
Ban on card payment surcharges comes into force
From 13 January 2018, business operators will no longer be able to charge customers a fee for using their debit or credit card to pay for goods or services. Currently, a trader can apply a surcharge when taking payment by debit or credit card to cover the cost of accepting card payments. Under the new rules, all surcharges on card payments will be banned. However, business operators can continue to refuse card payments or to require a minimum spend for card transactions. The changes are being introduced as part of the EU Revised Payment Services Directive.
Small Business Commissioner to tackle late payment
The Department for Business has launched a new service to help small businesses resolve payment disputes with larger business customers. The Small Business Commissioner (SBC) will handle complaints about unfair payment terms and late payment, as well as provide small businesses with advice, guidance and information about how to address payment issues. Paul Uppal, a small business owner in the real estate sector, was appointed as the SBC in October 2017.
Funding boost for community business
The Community Shares Booster Programme is now open to applications to support local groups in England to set up or grow a community business. The programme is delivered by the Community Shares Unit and helps community businesses to raise finance through community shares, which allow local people to invest and become owners of a local community business. It provides initial grants of up to £10,000 to help local groups develop a community share offer, as well as match equity funding of up to £100,000 to enable a community business to launch its community share offer and start raising investment.
Incorporated charities can convert to CIOs
From January 2018, incorporated charities in England and Wales will be able to convert to charitable incorporated organisations (CIOs) under new regulations introduced by the Charities Act 2011. The Charity Commission has published a phased conversion timetable that will allow incorporated charities with an annual income of less than £12,500 to convert first. The conversion process will be open to all incorporated charities from August 2018. The Charity Commission predicts that between 20% (7,200) and 35% (12,600) of existing incorporated charities with covert to CIOs over the next ten years.
Abolition of Class 2 NICs delayed by 12 months
HM Treasury has announced that the abolition of Class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs) will take effect in April 2019 rather than April 2018. The delay is to enable HM Treasury to consult on the impact that abolishing Class 2 NICs will have on the low-earning self-employed. Once Class 2 NICs have been abolished, self-employed people with annual profits below the small profits threshold will have to pay Class 3 NICs in order to build up an entitlement to state benefits. Class 3 NICs are five times the amount of Class 2 NICs for 2017/18 (£14.25 per week compared to £2.85 per week).
£8m support programme for community enterprise
Co-operatives UK and Power to Change have launched an £8 million programme for community-based organisations in seven areas across England. The five-year programme will provide grants, support and practical tools to help local co-operatives and community enterprises to start up and grow. The programme will also investigate the impact of clusters of community-based organisations on improving local communities and addressing inequality. The programme will run in Bradford, Grimsby, Hartlepool, Leicester, Luton, Wigan and Plymouth.
Shortlist announced for the UK Social Enterprise Awards 2017
The shortlist has been drawn up for the UK Social Enterprise Awards 2017, which takes place in London on 23 November. Seagulls from Leeds are shortlisted in the environmental category and SEE Ahead wish them the best of luck for the Awards.
Charity trustees warned about phishing scams
The Charity Commission for England and Wales has urged charity trustees to watch out for phishing e-mails, phone calls and text messages, which are used by scammers to obtain sensitive information from trustees. This follows an increase in the number of phishing scams reported to the commission by charities. Where a charity has lost sensitive data or funds due to a phishing scam, they must report this to the commission as a ‘serious incident’.