22 July 2020

Coronavirus: Updates for the UK Charity Sector

Chris Priestley
Partner | UK

New guidance to support the return of public fundraising

With the recent easing of restrictions, the Fundraising Regulator has published guidance to support charities who are now considering resuming some of those activities which had to be paused during the height of the lockdown.

The guidance has been produced in collaboration with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive and is split into Key Principles for Fundraising during coronavirus and the more detailed Public Fundraising Guidance. There is some overlap between the two, both noting that organisations should undertake a risk assessment before fundraising so that they are satisfied that it can be done safely. The Public Fundraising Guidance in particular has some helpful practical points to consider, such as: ensuring fundraisers maintain a static position as approaching a member of the public may make them nervous; being mindful of areas with greater numbers of people who are vulnerable if door-to-door fundraising; and reviewing methods for exchanging items such as a ‘thank you’ badge.

As restrictions have been lifted at different rates across the UK and the guidance notes that charities should ensure they are aware of the rules in place across the devolved administrations.

We would strongly recommend that all charities considering public facing fundraising is familiar with this guidance and takes the steps recommended before doing so.

Technical modification to corporate insolvency act

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act came into law on 25 June 2020, and amongst other things, amended the Insolvency Act 1986 to introduce a moratorium period during which no insolvency proceedings can be instigated against a charitable company or charitable incorporated organisations (‘CIOs’).

DCMS have since confirmed that a statutory instrument has been laid to make minor technical modifications in the application of these provisions to CIOs. The modifications will mainly disapply provisions which are not relevant to CIOs. There will also be a modification to ensure that an application for solvent voluntary dissolution of a CIO under the Charitable Incorporated Organisations (Insolvency and Dissolution) Regulation 2012 cannot be made during a moratorium period.

Future funding announced for the Revitalising Trusts programme

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has announced that it will continue to fund the Revitalising Trusts programme into 2021, which is run by the Charity Commission and UK Community Foundations. Under the programme, the trustees of charities which are dormant are contacted by the Commission and given the option to either get the charity running again with support, or to redeploy the funds. Dormant charities are considered to be those which are inactive, having had no income or expenditure over five years, or ineffective, having spent less than 30% of total income over the last five years.

The programme began in January 2018, and has raised £32 million which has been either redeployed to causes with similar aims to the dormant charity, or transferred to a community foundation. A further 500 charities are expected to be contacted this year about taking part in the programme. This will hopefully provide a further source of financial support for the voluntary sector at a time when it is desperately needed.

Chris Priestley Partner | London

Category: Article