Introduction



We saw many of our predictions materialise, however at the point that we made them, in January 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic was yet to unfold

Welcome


We have prepared this report to accompany our annual Charity Review of the Year seminar held on 14 January 2021. The notes reflect the event content as well as more in depth look at a number of other matters which due to the event time constraints we do not include.

Where appropriate, we have included links to relevant sources which can be accessed from the electronic version of this report.

We made a number of predictions at our previous event in January 2020 about what we expected to happen during the course of that year:

01


The sector adjusting to Brexit and taking stock of its economic and social implications

02


For some charities we thought it may become harder to recruit, particularly for those who rely on EU nationals

03


More GDPR fines, following the first being issued by the ICO in December 2019

04


A decision from the Supreme Court in the 'Morrisons' data breach case which could have significant implications

05


Developments in the Charity Commission's inquiry into Kids Company

06


The Charity Commission publishing the report on its inquiry into the handling of HR issues and reporting at Save the Children

07


The Charity Commission publishing its report on the payment of senior staff in charities

08


An update to the Commission's guidance on the acceptance and refusal of donations including guidance on disclaiming legacies

09


The Office of Civil Society publishing its review of the operation of The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016

10


Further analysis from the Charity Commission on serious incident reporting and whistleblowing

11


Progression of the Pension Schemes Bill with changes to the pension funding regime and a strengthening of the Pensions Regulator's powers

12


A response from government to the Law Commission's report on technical issues in charity law

13


A decision from the Supreme Court in the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (UK) Limited case dealing with the role of members in a charitable company

14


A review of Gambling Law, following the consultation on society lotteries in 2019

15


A refresh of the Charity Governance Code. More far-reaching changes are to take place in 2023

16


A fundamental review of business rates as noted in the 2019 Queen's Speech, which could potentially affect charities

17


Continued focus on the climate emergency and a rise in 'eco-anxiety'

18


Changes in the way charities are required to present their financial information, following the recommendations of the independent panel set up to review charity reporting and accounting

19


A possible press focus on charities' reserves, the beginning of which was seen in 2019 with scrutiny of the reserves of some military charities

20


The Fundraising Regulator reviewing the levy system for charities and considering concerns that small charities are paying proportionally more than larger ones

What happened in 2020?

We saw many of our predictions materialise, however at the point that we made them, in January 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic was yet to unfold. The pandemic has necessitated a shift in priorities for the Government as well as charitable organisations and so there has been a degree of stasis in charity law and regulation.

The long awaited government response to the Law Commission's report on technical issues in charity law has not yet materialised and the Charity Commission has not yet published its report into the pay of senior charity staff. Brexit even fell out of the headlines for most of the year. The implications of the last minute post-Brexit agreement between the EU and the UK for the sector are still being worked out in many areas, although it is hoped that securing the deal will free up more legislative time to deal with other matters.