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Policy News

News subjects related to UK legislation and guidance, with links to accompanying documents and details useful to ACO members and their clients.


  • Hidden disability - Not every disability is visible
    Blue Badges for people with hidden disabilities

    The Blue Badge scheme is to be extended to people with ‘hidden’ disabilities in the biggest overhaul to the system in 40 years, offering accessible parking for people who find travel difficult early next year.

  • Universal Credit sanctions - Flowchart showing myriad of processes to implement sanctions on the poor, sick and disabled
    UC sanctions under the spotlight

    The Department for Work and Pensions have published the latest quarterly benefits sanction statistics to April 2018 highlighting the alarming level of sanctions imposed on claimants compared to other benefit systems with over 63% of all claimants facing some sanction.

  • Help - Couple work out their finances together, man holds out cardboard sign reading 'help'
    Hard-pressed household income, saving and debt

    The Treasury Committee has concluded that hard-pressed households need Government action to deal with debts and that many households are over-indebted and lack a ‘rainy day’ savings buffer.

  • Domestic violence - Angry woman strikes recoiling man
    Domestic abuse risk under Universal Credit

    The Work and Pensions Committee warns that single household payments of Universal Credit could put claimants living with domestic abuse at risk of harm.

  • Gender pay gap reporting - Graphics from the HMG website for gender pay gap
    Business must close the gender pay gap

    The UK has one of the highest gender pay gaps in Europe and pay reporting can only be the first step in closing it, says the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee in their Report on 'Gender pay gap reporting'.

  • No money - Man holds open empty wallet
    People in UK have £19 billion hidden debt

    Citizens Advice Bureau estimates that half of the £19 billion of hidden debt held by people in the UK is made up of debts to central government — including tax credit and benefit overpayments.

  • The Living Standards Audit 2018 - Graphics from the report cover
    The Living Standards Audit 2018

    Every year the Resolution Foundation publishes an ‘audit’ of living standards in the UK. As part of this they estimate how household incomes have performed over the past year, producing a ‘nowcast’ of the figures before the official data is released.

  • Gift Aid - Small pastel coloured gift boxes representing gift aid donations
    HRMC Gift Aid guidance updated

    HMRC has updated the Chapter 3 Gift Aid guidance to include requirements relevant to the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

  • Disability assessment - Nurse checks wheelchair user's leg
    Government promises full arrears for disabled claimants

    The Work and Pensions Secretary has announced that arrears for up to 70,000 disabled people who were underpaid when they were moved from incapacity benefit (IB) to employment and support allowance (ESA) will be backdated to the date that they moved to ESA.

  • Cost of a Child in 2018 - Graphics from the report cover
    Cost of a Child in 2018 released

    CPAG's latest Cost of a Child report shows what it costs to raise a child to age 18, based on what the public thinks is a minimum standard of living. The overall cost of a child (including rent and childcare) is £150,753 for a couple and £183,335 for a lone parent.

  • Charities SORP - Illustartion of businessman scaling a rock carved with the letters SORP
    Charity regulators to review of SORP making process

    The four charity regulators in the UK and Republic of Ireland have decided to hold a governance review of the constitution and composition of the Charities Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) committee and the SORP making process.

  • Charities against Fraud Awards 2018 - Graphics from the Charities against Fraud Awards 2018 site
    Charities against Fraud Awards 2018

    Entries for the Charities against Fraud Awards 2018 are open. These awards are specifically designed to recognise excellence in tackling fraud within the charity sector.

  • NHS - NHS sign on building
    GP practices to become ‘veteran friendly’

    GPs are signing up to become ‘veteran friendly’ under a new national scheme to improve medical care and treatment for former members of the armed services that has been backed by NHS England and the Royal College of GPs.

  • Website grants for small charities  - Graphics from the site
    Website grants for small charities

    Funding is now available from the Transform Foundation under its Small Charities Funded Website Programme. The programme is aimed at charities with incomes below £350k annually to receive a new, best practice website built using templates funded by the Transform Foundation. This programme is designed specifically for very small charities and is separate to their main

  • Homeless - Homeless person sitting at one end of the Millennium Bridge, London
    Rough sleeping prevention, intervention, and recovery

    Up to 6,000 vulnerable people will receive rapid specialist assessments and support under new measures in the government’s rough sleeping strategy.

  • Funerals - A casket with white flowers, presented in a funeral plot prior to internment
    Changing trends in UK mortality

    According to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), until 2011, life expectancy in the UK had been increasing for a number of decades; however, in the second decade of the 21st century, the UK along with several other countries has seen a notable slowdown in these improvements in both male and female mortality.

  • Legal challenge to Common Reporting Standard - Graphics from the report cover
    Legal challenge to Common Reporting Standard

    Law firm Mishcon de Reya has taken legal steps against the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and the Beneficial Ownership registers to call into question the wider repercussions for fundamental rights and the relationship between individuals and the State.

  • Community Life Survey 2017-18 - Illustration of city community
    Community Life Survey 2017-18

    The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport commissions the Community Life Survey. It provides official statistics on issues that are important in encouraging social action and empowering communities, including volunteering, giving, community engagement, well-being and loneliness.

  • The lives we want to lead - Graphics from the report cover
    The lives we want to lead

    The Local Government Association has issued a consultative green paper for adult social care and wellbeing to promote debate about how to fund care in communities and how the wider care and health system can be better geared towards supporting and improving people’s wellbeing.

  • Help - Couple work out their finances together, man holds out cardboard sign reading 'help'
    Are households living beyond their means?

    Research published by the Office for National Statistics in July indicates UK households have seen their outgoings surpass their income for the first time in nearly 30 years.