The Charities Act 2022

A picture of the houses of parliament with the River Thames in front
Berit from Redhill/Surrey, UK, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Act received royal assent in February of this year. The Act is generally pretty mundane with no areas of real controversy. It is designed to bring in some of the recommendations from the 2017 Law Commission report into charity law  that will make things simpler for charities.

Thanks to the Law Commission for highlighting the following documents

The Charities Act, including Explanatory Notes, are available here.

A marked-up copy of the Charities Act 2011, showing the changes that are made by the Charities Act 2022) a “Keeling Schedule”) is available here (revised version as of 24 February 2022.

The changes brought about by the Act will not take practical effect immediately. We now have to wait for the Charity Commission to set out how it is going to implement the changes, they have published a blog about the process on their website. The upshot being that actual changes will only happen as the commission is able to implement them.

What is in the Act?

The charity commission highlight 5 key changes

  • charities and trustees will be able to amend their governing documents or Royal Charters more easily – remaining subject to the Commission and the Privy Council’s approval in certain circumstances
  • charities will have access to a much wider pool of professional advisors on land disposal, and to more straightforward rules on what advice they must receive, which could save them time and money when selling land
  • charities will have more flexibility to make use of a ‘permanent endowment’ – this is money or property originally meant to be held by a charity forever. This includes a change which will allow trustees to borrow a sum of up to 25% of the value of their permanent endowment funds, without the Commission’s approval
  • trustees will be able to be paid for goods provided to a charity in certain circumstances, even if not expressly stated in the charity’s governing document (currently trustees can only be paid for supply of services). From pencils to paint, this will allow charities the flexibility to access goods from trustees when it is in the best interests of the charity (e.g. if cheaper), without needing Commission permission
  • charities will be able to take advantage of simpler and more proportionate rules on failed appeals. For example, if a charity appeal raises too little money, the charity will be able to spend donations below £120 on similar charitable purposes without needing to contact individual donors for permission

The rules about changing governing docs or purposes are mainly about bringing CIO’s and charitable companies in line with each other. This could make it more tricky for non CIO’s but it will mean simply updating purposes without making significant changes will no longer be regulated.

We have no idea when the commission will release guidance and actually make the changes, but Russell Cooke the solicitors have written that they recommend charitable companies wanting to make major changes to purposes do it now before the changes are implemented.

There is a good summary of the Act from Stone King on their website

Please contact us if you have any questions enquiries@cambridgecvs.org.uk

CCVS has a new Chair of Trustees – Welcome Flóra!

By Lorna Gough. February 2022.

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Flóra Raffai as the new CCVS Chair of Trustees.

Mark Freeman, our CEO welcomes Flóra and gives thanks to our outgoing Chair, Mary Sanders:

“I am really pleased that Flóra has been elected as the new Chair of CCVS and I am looking forward to working with her as CCVS moves into the future. I know that all the staff will join with me to welcome her into the new role. Flóra brings knowledge of the sector and a keen insight into the work we do, and I know that she will help us on to bigger and better things.

I am grateful to Mary for all the support she has given me, and the organisation over the years. Having such a knowledgeable and respected chair has been a real benefit to CCVS, and I am incredibly glad that she will remain as a trustee. Mary has overseen some big changes at CCVS and has helped to steer the organisation to where it is now. What is more she has helped me in the transition to the CEO role and I am hugely thankful for all she has done to support me.”

Flóra has been a CCVS Trustee since November 2018. Flóra tells us:

“I am honoured to be appointed as the new Chair of the Trustee Board at CCVS. Having previously benefited from the outstanding support CCVS provides to local charities, I am delighted to have an opportunity to give back. I am very much looking forward to working with my fellow trustees, the CCVS staff team, and the entire CCVS membership to champion local voluntary and community groups, the need for which has never been greater.”

Read more about why Flóra became a CCVS Trustee and what she enjoys about the role in this blog written for Trustees’ Week 2021.

Welcome to the role Flóra!

I feel honoured to be part of the organisation, by Flóra Raffai. Trustees’ Week 2021.

Tell us a little about yourself and your work and/or volunteering experience.

My name is Flóra Raffai and I have spent my career leading charities and non-profits, predominantly in the health and education sectors. Alongside work, I have volunteered as a mentor for small rare disease charities and I am currently working towards becoming an accredited transformational coach. I am driven by my passion to help people live their best possible lives and to make the future a brighter place.

Why did you become a trustee of CCVS?

I became a trustee of CCVS three years ago, in November 2018. At the time, I was the Chief Executive of a local charity that was a member of CCVS. I had greatly benefited from the membership, having attended useful training events and networking sessions. Working at a small charity, it can be difficult to know where to get information and who to turn to when you are stuck. CCVS provides that trusted, supportive guidance you need so that you can do your best in working with your community. When I heard that CCVS was looking to recruit new trustees, I jumped at the opportunity to give back to the organisation that had given me and others like me so much.

What does your role as a trustee entail?

Along with my fellow trustees, it is my role to oversee the charity’s management, administration, and strategy. The board of trustees has ultimate responsibility for the charity, to make sure it fulfils its aims and creates benefits for our community. From a practical point of view, this entails attending our quarterly trustee meetings to review the charity’s strategic and financial position, working closely with CCVS’s excellent CEO Mark Freeman to give advice on new initiatives and funding bids, and taking on additional responsibilities to support the team when needed. At the moment, I am also coaching two members of the lovely CCVS team.

What do you most enjoy about the role?

I most enjoy seeing the impact of CCVS’s work on the Cambridgeshire community and voluntary sector. I love reading our annual report, which summarises all the work done across the year to support hundreds of small groups and charities. I feel honoured to be part of the organisation and play a small part in making sure the charity continues to act as a multiplier for the community.

What would you say to anyone thinking about becoming a Trustee, particularly if they are unsure whether it is a role they could undertake? What do they need to consider?

The most important thing to consider before you become a trustee is whether you have enough time available to do a good job. A trustee role comes with legal responsibilities, so you want to make sure you have enough time to review papers, attend the board meetings, and respond to support requests. Talk to the charity to find out what time commitment they are expecting and when those time commitments take place (e.g. during the workday or outside working hours). Be honest with yourself and the charity about what you can take on.

I would highly recommend becoming a trustee, especially of a small local charity. If you have benefited from a charity’s services and support, then you have valuable lived experience that can be hugely beneficial to the charity’s board of trustees. If you have a background in finances, legal, people management, strategy, communications, service delivery, all of these skills can enhance a board of trustees and expand the knowledge within the team. If you have passion for the cause and time to help out, then you can make a real difference to a small team who need more hands on deck.

Time to give back, by Nicki Glen. Trustees’ Week 2021.

I have lived in Cambridgeshire for over 30 years and work with local, UK and international companies which have the health and welfare of people and animals as their core principles. Before becoming a charity trustee, I volunteered on an ad hoc basis for like-minded groups. Taking on a trustee role formalised the support I gave to various charities and showed me that I wanted to contribute on a more solid basis, using my career skills to benefit others.

It was time to give back: I wanted to be involved in a local charity. The Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service (CCVS) offered the perfect opportunity to do this, educating and supporting small and evolving charities in the area.

I am also a trustee for StreetVet. The charity’s team take their experience out to people living on the streets,  delivering veterinary care and support to them and to their pets, thus benefiting their combined well-being.

Becoming a trustee is a relevantly straightforward process so long as one realises the responsibilities this entails. It is important to engage fully in the charities’ activities and to understand the importance of decision-making and support for the team running the day-to-day work.

As a trustee for CCVS, I have gained greater insights as to the support needed in my locality and how I could use my skills in strategy, decision making and communications to support the CCVS team. I really enjoy the engagement I have with them. During the pandemic, the role of trustee presented no problems as the meetings are virtual  and we have continued as before. However, it is lovely to meet face to face as this brings a different dimension to our meetings.

CCVS are very successful in delivering education and support to other charities and members. We have made significant changes in the way we deliver this support. This has proved invaluable during the pandemic..

If you are considering becoming a trustee, it is important to think about the time commitment, responsibilities and legal implications involved. Overall, it is a very fulfilling volunteer role.

My Trustee Story by Sally Page. Trustees’ Week 2021.

Finding my motivation

I have volunteered on and off, in some shape or form since I was nineteen, generally in creative, learning roles with young people. Volunteering for me has always been a way to put my strengths forward, develop skills and confidence, whilst supporting a cause I care about.

As someone who struggled with, but stubbornly pursued, academic qualifications, I care about organisations that offer individuals ways to learn about themselves and their community, outside of a classroom and in a way that suits them. This saw me volunteer with museums, galleries, and youth organisations.

A few years ago, I took the decision to take a career sidestep, from the heritage to the charity sector, to work in volunteer management. After settling into to my new role, I found myself wondering how to maintain a connection to heritage, a sector that I had always cared about, but no longer worked in.

It’s all in the timing

After some time, I saw an advert for a Volunteer Lead Trustee with the Museum of Cambridge and that got me thinking.

I would often, apparently like many women, discount myself from roles, that I didn’t seem to tick all the boxes for or have the extent of experience that I thought was needed. I saw this mirrored in my female friends and colleagues and it became something that I wanted to challenge, at least in a small way. After talking to trusted friends, I decided to make a change and put myself forward for something out of my comfort zone, becoming a Trustee.

I got told off by my Mum, but it was worth it

It was a strange and risky time to get involved as a trustee, as we headed into the first Covid-19 lockdown, however I quickly saw the difference I could make, supporting staff and volunteers, reviewing policies, and planning for the future.

I won’t lie, as someone who works full time, it took a few phone calls to convince my Mum that I wasn’t going to burn out after taking on this responsibly – turns out early 30’s is not too old to get told off by your Mum!

I’ve worried that I don’t have enough time or expertise for the role, and I have definitely questioned my decision, after spending the odd Sunday working on a volunteer policy, rather than sitting in a pub – but these have all been fleeting thoughts.

The reward and sense of achievement from being part of a team, who all care deeply about the museum, are supportive and experts in their fields, is hard to describe. I am continuously learning and as I head towards my third year as a Trustee, I have no regrets.

So, if you’re on the fence and looking for a new challenge, find the right organisation for you and go for it, it’s not as scary as it first seems!

#TrusteesWeek #Trustees #NeverMoreNeeded #Volunteers #SmallCharities