It’s January, so it is traditional for people to write articles and blog posts telling you what you have to look forward to in 2017. And CFG is no exception! 2017 is shaping up to be a very busy year, and charities will need to be prepared for a number of issues which could impact on their work. Here are my top five things to discuss internally and potentially at your next board meeting.
Let’s start with the big issue of the day, Brexit. It doesn’t matter what colour it is or its plasticity, Brexit is a reality and it is going to impact on the operations of charities. CFG has put together a briefing of potential issues that will impact on charities through Brexit, but it is important that charities begin to prepare now. What could the impact be on your funding? Do you have EU nationals as staff? Are you monitoring potential changes in key areas such as data protection or contracting regulations? The next year is unlikely to see much in the way in solid changes, but charities will need to be keeping an eye on developments, because there may not be much time after Brexit to adapt to them. We also need to make sure that charities voices are heard. CFG will be working to keep the interests of charities on the agenda as government discussions Britain’s post-Brexit future, but if you have concerns about how Brexit could impact the operations of your charity – contact CFG’s policy team.
- Charity Commission charging
It has been coming for a while, but 2017 looks like the year in which the Charity Commission will consult on whether charities should pay for their own regulation. The Chair of the Charity Commission has referenced this again, at the Commission’s Annual Public Meeting. The sums involved per charity per year could be anything from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand pounds – so this could be a significant new cost for your charity. CFG are concerned that charging for regulation could undermine the independence of the Charity Commission – this is based on independent research we commissioned from the University of Kent. Charging will fundamentally change the nature of charity regulation, so it is important that charities do not miss this once in a generation consultation that could have significant implications for charities in the years ahead.
- Insurance Premium Tax
In June, Insurance Premium Tax will increase by 2% to 12%. This tax has increased by 100% in under 2 years and the Chancellor has indicated that it could hit 20% by the end of the decade. This will impact all charities, big and small, and hit all kinds of activities from volunteering to heritage assets. Charities need to start thinking about the financial impact of this tax increase and build in future increases into their budgets. This may impact the viability of some activities. It is also important that charities take part in activities to raise the profile of the impact of this tax increase to the government and Parliament, for example, by signing this petition on the Parliament website. If you believe this will have a significant impact on your charity, please get in touch with the CFG Policy Team.
- Data Protection and GDPR
New EU data protection rules, the GDPR, will come into effect in May 2018 but charities need to start preparing now. This will be particularly important for charities that keep data on their beneficiaries or carry out significant fundraising campaigns. Make sure that you keep on top of the ICO’s guidance and how your charity will need to revisit areas such as data processing and consent. You can find out more information on the ICO’s website.
- Apprenticeships Levy
This year, the Apprenticeships Levy is going to go live. For charities with a paybill over £3m a year, this is going to be a significant new cost and new apprentices will need to be trained or the Levy funds will be lost. For smaller charities, there may be opportunities to get access to apprenticeships funding. Charities have two years to spend their money once it goes into their Levy funds, so they need to start planning now, as the apprentice will take a minimum of one year to train. If you need support, please contact my colleague Anjelica Finnegan, who is working on this issue. What have we missed? If there is an issue that we have missed, please leave a comment in the post below. Happy New Year and Good Luck in 2017!
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