Charity and the Law in 2023

Things never seem to stand still for charity, and below are some changes due this year to enable trustees to try and stay up to date.

New online services:

The Charity Commission is implementing its My Charity Account Services in early 2023. It will be live from Spring 2023. This is said to be a new and improved interface for all of us.

In the first phase, the Commission is inviting charity contacts to enrol, so if you are registered as a contact for the Commission make sure your contact details are up to date, or you may miss this and then be playing catch up.

Three different forms of account will be available – an administrator account (for the charity contact), a trustee account and a third party account (where the charity wishes to authorise someone else, such as an adviser or an employee who is not the charity contact, to access online services on behalf of the charity). At the moment people in these categories could only access the account using the contacts protocol which is really not desirable.

The Commission announced in its Public Meeting last October 2022 that enrolment with the service will not be compulsory, but they hope it will be regarded as so useful that contacts and trustees will want to enrol.  I agree this is likely to be the case.

Updated Guidance:

The Commission has also announced some new or updated guidance is on the way. In addition to guidance to accompany each implementation stage of the new Charities Act 2022, there will be updated guidance on returning and refusing donations.  Refusing donations can be as complex as attracting them, so the guidance will  be useful for those who find themselves in this position.

New CC14:

We are also expecting a new and redesigned guidance CC14 – Charities and investment matters: a guide for trustees by the Summer this year after the decision in 2022 on responsible/ethical investment, reported by me a couple of months ago. The redesigned guidance will also incorporate an updated explanation of social investment. In the meantime, we continue to use the old version of the CC14.

Revised Annual Return:

For financial years ending on or after 1st January 2023, a new Annual Return form is in place. The new form contains more questions, some of which will only be asked once and then removed going forwards.

Business Rate Relief:

You may have heard of or come across cases where the mandatory rate relief for Charity has been questioned?  Some Charity cases are now the Supreme Court, which of itself is unusual.  Following the Supreme Court which will consider the proper test for mandatory charity relief from business rates, hopefully the position will be settled.  It is unfortunate that the case has been necessary, and really stems from certain organisations attempting to use the charity relief in ways not expected in order to save landlords vast sums of money.

Fund Raiding Code

This is to be updated this year.  The Fundraising Regulator has begun to review the Code of Fundraising Practice.  We expect the revised code to be with is in Autumn 2023, and updated implemented from 2024.

Charity Governance Code

A further review of this code is also expected this year.  It may include guidance regarding digital and cyber type issues, possibly also the environment and employee wellbeing.

Keep up to date

We will try and keep you up to date as the world constantly changes, please do keep checking these pages.

This is a note intended for guidance purposes.  It is not meant and is not a full statement of the law.  You should always seek expert legal advice on any issue or problem you may encounter.

Stephen Claus.

These are the views of Stephen Claus, and therefore does not constitute individual legal or financial advice, this article is for information only. If you require guidance or advice, please get in touch.

Click here to go to our Charities and Trusts page to read about our approach when it comes to guiding and advising charity trustees.


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