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Last updated November 2017

Policy News

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


  • HMRC - Stone engraved wall plaque outside HMRC headquarters
    HMRC guidance on grants and contracts for VAT purposes

    HM Revenue & Customs has published updated guidance on the VAT treatment of grants and contracts to clarify which services are eligible for VAT. As part of the guidance, HMRC published a list of things that would indicate a service is eligible for VAT.

  • Jo Cox Loneliness - Graphics from the website
    Tracey Crouch appointed ministerial lead for loneliness

    Charities Minister Tracey Crouch has been appointed ministerial lead for loneliness as part of a government-wide initiative to tackle social isolation.

  • Trustees - A boardroom table with meeting notes
    New restrictions on who can run a charity

    From 1st August 2018, changes to the automatic disqualification rules mean that there will be more restrictions on who can run a charity. For most charities, taking some simple steps to update recruitment and appointment systems is all that will be needed to prepare for the rule changes.

  • Fingerprints - Close-up of a hand with inked fingers, on top of a fingerprint record sheet
    New DBS basic check service goes live

    From January 2018 if you need a basic check for a job in England and Wales, you should apply to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). If you need a basic check for a job in Scotland, then you should apply to Disclosure Scotland. If you are an organisation applying for a basic check on behalf of an employee or someone else, you can use a ‘Responsible Organisation’ a third party registered with DBS.

  • Northamptonshire County Council offices - interior shot
    Councils must meet all assessed care needs

    People who need care should not be asked to choose which of their needs, identified through an assessment, their council should meet, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has said.

  • Esther McVey - Consrvative MP, minister at DWP
    Ministers have backed down in a legal row over paying higher disability benefits

    Ministers have backed down in a legal row over paying higher disability benefits by saying they will not contest a High Court decision over payments to people with mental health conditions.

  • Wheelchair - Empty wheelchair placed on a deserted countryside road
    New style Employment and Support Allowance

    The Department of Work and Pensions has updated its guidance relating to its new-style ESA.

  • Domestic violence - Angry woman strikes recoiling man
    DWP help for domestic violence and abuse victims

    Domestic violence and abuse is still a huge problem in our society, with far-reaching and devastating impacts. The UK government has just published guidance and resources for anyone affected by this.

  • NHS - NHS sign on building
    Funding system failing people with continuing healthcare needs

    A report from the Public Accounts Committee says Government must take steps to improve complex processes beset with delays and poor-quality assessments.

  • Charity Commission - Plaque outside offices in Drummond Gate, London
    Annual return for 2018

    The Charity Commission has made a number of amendments to the content of the annual return for 2018, after an extensive consultation with charities throughout the autumn.

  • Do you trade in financial instruments? - Computer screen showing trading values
    Do you trade in financial instruments?

    If your charity or trust trades in financial instruments, new rules were introduced on 3rd January 2018 that require you to get a Legal Entity Identifier (LEI).

  • 24/7 live cyber reporting - Action Fraud Phone 0300 123 2040
    24/7 live cyber reporting

    A new helpline from Action Fraud was launched in December 2017. If you are a business, charity or other organisation which is currently suffering a live cyber-attack (in progress), please call 0300 123 2040 immediately. Specialist advisors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Working together to defeat fraud - Tips from the Fraud Advisory Panel to charities
    Protect your charity from fraud - Updated

    Information from the Charity Commission about fraud, how to spot it and what you can do to protect against it.

  • Strategy for dealing with safeguarding issues in charities updated - Clay model figures with woman surrounding them with her hands
    Strategy for dealing with safeguarding issues in charities updated

    The Charity Commission’s new safeguarding strategy says that safeguarding is a key governance priority for all charities, not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk.

  • Charity Tax Commission terms of reference - Sir Nicholas Montagu, who will develop recommendations to Government
    Charity Tax Commission terms of reference

    Sir Nicholas Montagu, a former chairman of Inland Revenue, is chairing a new NCVO led Charity Tax Commission which will develop recommendations to Government. The Terms of Reference have now been published.

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

    If you are an employer with 250 employees or more, new legislation means you will need to publish your annual gender pay data. HMG have created a website that outlines why and what is required.

  • Reporting relevant matters of interest - Computer screens with financial charts, office workers in background
    Reporting relevant matters of interest

    This publication is issued by the UK charity regulators and provides examples of where auditors and independent examiners can usefully use their discretion to report relevant matters of interest to the regulators.

  • Budget 2017 - UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, preparing to deliver the 2017 Budget
    Budget 2017

    A summary of the important changes in the budget affecting the benevolent charity sector, including Universal Credit, National Living Wage, income Tax, Disabled Facilities Grants and charity regulation.

  • Freshly Squeezed: Autumn Budget 2017 response - Graphics from the RF report cover
    Autumn Budget response from Resolution Foundation

    Britain is on course for the longest period of falling living standards since records began in the 1950s, with the current crunch forecast to last longer than the post-crisis income squeeze. RF's overnight post-Budget report highlights the unprecedented scale of the economic downgrade handed down to the Chancellor by the OBR, and how this impacts on the public and families' finances.

  • Government propose reform to care and support - Cabinet Office Whitehall
    Government propose reform to care and support

    The First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office, Damian Green, has announced that the government will publish a green paper on care and support for older people by summer 2018. The paper will set out plans for how government proposes to improve care and support for older people and tackle the challenge of an ageing population.

  • Annual Fraud Indicator 2017 - Front cover from the report
    Annual Fraud Indicator 2017

    The Annual Fraud Indicator 2017 published by the UK Fraud Costs Measurement Committee based on research by the accountancy firm Crowe Clark Whitehill, the credit rating agency Experian and the University of Portsmouth's Centre for Counter Fraud Studies, says that a large increase in procurement fraud to almost £1.2bn was a major reason for this rise.

  • Image-based cheque clearing - Closeup of cheque book and pens
    Image-based cheque clearing

    The 30th of October 2017 marked the start of the phased roll-out of a new, image-based cheque clearing system that will speed up cheque processing significantly for customers across the UK.

  • Money laundering and terrorist financing - UK bank notes pegged to a washing line
    National risk assessment 2017

    The NRA 2017 assesses the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing in the Not For Profit (NPO) sector in its entirety to be low, whilst recognising that certain parts of the sector - particularly charities working internationally in certain countries - face significantly higher risks.

  • Charity tax commission launched - Closeup of desk items including a calculator with Tax+ and Tax- buttons
    Charity tax commission launched

    The voluntary sector has evolved significantly since the government's last tax review twenty years ago. A new commission has now been appointed to appraise charitable reliefs and make recommendations to produce public benefit in the most effective way.

  • Civil Society Strategy announced - Image of a desk plaque reading 'Civil Society'
    Civil Society Strategy announced

    Tracey Crouch, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and Minister for Civil Society, has published a Written Ministerial Statement confirming the Government's intention to develop a Civil Society Strategy.

  • Uncapped potential - Graphics from the IPPR report cover
    IPPR: Uncapped potential

    According to the IPPR think-tank, the UK needs a pay rise. Real median (average) household incomes are today only five per cent higher than they were in 2007 and the country is in the worst period of pay growth in 150 years, exposing serious weaknesses in the UK's economic model.

  • Debtor 'Breathing Space' opinion sought - Man holds open empty wallet
    Debtor 'Breathing Space' opinion sought

    The government is seeking views as it develops a way to provide individuals in debt with up to six weeks free from further interest, charges and enforcement action.

  • BrightHouse to pay back over £14.8 million - A high street store run by Brighthouse
    BrightHouse to pay back over £14.8 million

    Following engagement with the FCA, BrightHouse has committed to pay over £14.8 million (in the form of cash payments and balance adjustments) to 249,000 customers in respect of 384,000 agreements for lending which may not have been affordable and payments which should have been refunded.

  • General Election vote examined: income, poverty and Brexit - People walking along a high street in Britain
    General Election vote examined

    A new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation concludes that the Conservatives appealed to many lower income voters' support for Brexit and immigration control. Labour instead appealed to these voters' economic concerns over living standards, redistribution, inequality and austerity.

  • £15m for training in mental health first aid - Graphics showing MHFA England logo and a first aid box
    £15m for training in mental health first aid

    A new £15 million programme will see up to 1 million people trained in basic mental health “first aid” skills. The programme will improve personal resilience and help people recognise and respond effectively to signs of mental illness in others.

  • Internet Safety Strategy consultation opens - Close-up of mobile phone home screen with social media icons
    Internet Safety Strategy consultation opens

    The Internet Safety Strategy looks at how to ensure Britain is the safest place in the world to be online. The Strategy considers the responsibilities of companies to their users, the use of technical solutions to prevent online harms and government's role in supporting users.

  • DoH £15m grant for mental healthcare - Image of young woman holding a piece of paper with the written words 'Help Me'
    DoH Beyond Places of Safety scheme

    The Department of Health has launched a £15 million fund to better support people at risk of experiencing a mental health crisis.

  • CQC warning over future care quality - Graphics from the front cover of the Care Quality Commission's report
    CQC warning over future care quality

    The CARE Quality Commission warns that the health and social care system is at full stretch and struggling to meet the more complex needs of today's population, meaning that maintaining quality in the future is uncertain.

  • Fundraising Regulator launches consultation - Close-up of fundraising collection tins
    Fundraising Regulator launches consultation

    The Fundraising Regulator has launched a Code Consultation on Data Protection. The consultation will enable charities, fundraisers and members of the public to provide feedback on proposed changes to the code regarding data protection.

  • ICO fee and registration changes in 2018 - Close-up of a fictional key on a computer keyboard entitled 'GDPR 25 May 2018'
    ICO fee and registration changes in 2018

    As we count down to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect next May, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has clarified how the fees that data controllers have to pay to the ICO are changing.

  • Buy As You View enters administration - Screenshot of the company's website still trading
    Buy As You View enters administration

    Dunraven Finance Ltd, trading under the name Buy as You View (BAYV), has been placed in administration. BAYV is a rent-to-own provider selling household goods, such as electronics and furniture on hire purchase to customers.

  • Donations through Facebook - Sample page from the FaceBook site showing the Donate button
    Donations through Facebook

    Facebook has announced that it will be launching charity fundraising tools in 16 European countries, including the UK, that will allow people to donate directly on social media pages through donate buttons inserted into page headers or posts, such as videos, photos or text.

  • Fundraising Preference Service Scam - Concept image of a fishing hook attached to credit card
    Fundraising Preference Service Scam

    FPS has been made aware of an email scam being sent to charities, asking to receive payment from the Fundraising Preference Service or implying that an invoice is due. They would like to clarify that they do not send out invoices for the Fundraising Preference Service, as the cost of this service is covered by the fundraising levy.

  • Consultation on GDPR guidance on contracts and liabilities between controllers and processors - Close-up of a fictional key on a computer keyboard entitled 'Data Security'
    Consultation on GDPR guidance

    The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) builds on existing requirements for security measures to have a written contract in place with the aim of setting high standards and protecting the interests of data subjects.

  • Older people and employment inquiry - Older woman, smiling and relaxed, with colleagues at work in an office
    Older people and employment inquiry

    The Women and Equalities Committee has re-opened its inquiry into older people and employment, looking at current Government policies to help people extend their working lives, and considering further steps which could be taken to tackle issues including age discrimination.

  • Universal Credit rollout inquiry - Woman blurred while walking past a Job Centre
    Universal Credit rollout inquiry

    The scope of the inquiry into Universal Credit covers DWP’s preparedness for the scheduled acceleration of the rollout of full service Universal Credit from October 2017, including waits for payments, advance payments, impact on and communication with local authorities and landlords, Alternative Payment Arrangements, the effects of planned Jobcentre closures and the proposed flexible arrangements in Scotland.

  • Commission opens consultation on ‘more dynamic’ annual return - Close-up of the diaphragm in a photographic lens, concept meaning wider or narrower field of focus
    Commission opens consultation on ‘more dynamic’ annual return

    The Charity Commission has announced a consultation for next year’s annual return. Find out what is proposed and shape the direction of this policy.

  • How to report a serious incident in your charity - Photo of someone making a phone call to the Charity Commission
    How to report a serious incident in your charity

    his guidance helps trustees identify serious incidents and ensure that they are reported to the Charity Commission. It also explains how to report them.

  • Private pension cold calling is to be banned - Pensioner holding a phone while looking worried
    Private pension cold calling is to be banned

    The government has confirmed new measures to protect private pension savers from the threat of unscrupulous pension scammers.

  • The living standards Audit 2017 - Graphics from the front cover of the Resolution Foundation's report
    The living standards Audit 2017

    The years since the financial crisis have been far from an easy ride for family living standards. After a brief two-year ‘mini-boom’ between 2013 and 2015, the signs are pointing towards a living standards recovery that is beginning to falter.

  • Gift Aid donor intermediaries - Small pastel coloured gift boxes representing gift aid donations
    Gift Aid donor intermediaries

    HMRC has updated guidance on how the Gift Aid declaration ‘authorisation’ process works. HM Revenue and Customs has developed this new process with charities, intermediaries and their representatives.

  • Women more likely to donate to charity and to support local causes - Graphics from the front cover of the Institute of Fundraising's report
    Women more likely to donate to charity and to support local causes

    According to research published by the Institute of Fundraising and YouGov women said that they were more likely to donate to charity, take new positive social actions as a result of donating, support local causes and donate if they found a cause they believe in.

  • Benefit cap bites - Group of mothers gather with their young children in prams
    Benefit cap bites

    More children are being hit by the Government’s benefit cap policy despite a High Court ruling against it, the latest official figures show. Department for Work and Pensions figures show that 3,000 more single-parent families with children under two have been hit by the policy while the Government appeals the decision.

  • The Cost of a Child 2017 - Graphics from the front cover of CPAG's report
    The Cost of a Child 2017

    Parents working full time on the national living wage are significantly short of the income needed to give children an acceptable minimum living standard – as defined by the public – and the shortfall will grow as inflation combines with the current freeze on benefits to put family budgets under new strain, according to the Child Poverty Action Group.

  • Men from poor backgrounds are twice as likely to be single as those from rich families - Close up of man with jeans pockets turned inside out and a helpless hand gesture
    Poor men twice as likely to be single as wealthy

    In 2012, more than one-in-three men from disadvantaged backgrounds lived alone in their early 40s. This compared with only one-in-seven men from rich backgrounds living without a partner.

  • Call for Evidence for Citizenship and Civic Engagement - Visitors mill around a street stall selling patriotic merchandise in Westminster
    Call for Evidence for Citizenship and Civic Engagement

    The House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement invites contributions to its new inquiry which will investigate the legal rights and responsibilities for citizens of the UK, the barriers to citizenship and what can be done to support and encourage civic engagement.

  • World Mental Health Day 2017 - Graphic highlighting absenteeism at work due to mental heath issues
    World Mental Health Day

    The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10th October every year. The day provides an opportunity “for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide”.

  • Government to strengthen UK data protection law - Image from computer screen with the words 'Data Protection Bill'
    Government to strengthen UK data protection law

    The Government has committed to updating and strengthening data protection laws through a new Data Protection Bill. The Bill will bring the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into UK law.

  • £50,000 Inventor Prize opens for entries - Graphics accompanying NESTA's launch of the Inventors Prize
    £50,000 Inventor Prize opens for entries

    Working in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Nesta are launching the Inventor Prize, to inspire and harness the potential of the UK’s home-grown inventors and stimulate user-led innovation.

  • Employment and Support Allowance trials - Young woman trained to use a pillar drill
    Employment and Support Allowance trials

    The Department of Work and Pensions present findings from research into three labour market trials that aimed to assist Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants’ progress towards the labour market.

  • Civil Society Futures - Report cover image from Civil Society Futures
    Civil Society Futures

    Civil Society Futures is a national conversation about how English civil society can flourish in a fast changing world. Civil Society have published a report into their findings.

  • The Commission on the Donor Experience - Report cover Graphics from The Commission on the Donor Experience
    The Commission on the Donor Experience

    Sparked by the fundraising scandals of 2015, the Commission on the Donor Experience has published its findings and recommendations with a blueprint for transforming fundraising.

  • Citizens Advice calls for Universal Credit rollout to be paused - Front cover graphics from the report 'Delivering Universal Credit' from Citizens Advice
    Citizens Advice calls for UC rollout to be paused

    Citizens Advice have published the findings of a survey of Universal Credit applicants, revealing significant problems and making recommendations to change how the service is rolled out in order to prevent further hardship to claimants.

  • Queen’s support is 'gold standard' of charitable patronage - The Queen and Prince Philip parade in the Mall during the Queen's Lunch, celebration of their involvement in over 900 charities over her reign
    Queen’s support is 'gold standard' of charitable patronage

    Having the Queen as patron is the "gold standard" for charitable patronage, but charities that share the accolade should collaborate more, according to a new report.

  • Consultation on changes to legacy law - Closeup of a will with pen and glasses
    Consultation on changes to legacy law

    The Law Commission has launched a consultation on proposed changes to legacy law, which it says is outdated and often does not allow courts to implement people’s wishes, even if they are clear, because they have not followed legal procedure entirely correctly.

  • Learn, Work, Care - Four people sitting together discussing work
    Learn, Work, Care

    To help improve the support for young adult carers and create more carer-friendly communities in education and employment, the Learning and Work Institute has launched a new website: ‘Learn, Work, Care’ bringing together resources for young adult carers and the staff who support them.

  • Apply to the Life Chances Fund - Man walks trough a high-rise housing complex in the UK
    Apply to the Life Chances Fund

    The Life Chances Fund aims to help those people in society who face the most significant barriers to leading happy and productive lives. The £80m has been made with ‘payments by results’ contracts which involve socially minded investors.

  • Working together to defeat fraud - Tips from the Fraud Advisory Panel to charities
    Working together to defeat fraud

    The Fraud Advisory Panel is the UK’s leading anti-fraud charity. It brings together fraud professionals to improve fraud resilience across the UK and around the world.

  • British Social Attitudes - Woman on park bench reading opinion pages in newspaper, together with the NatGen logo and report title British Social Attitudes 34
    British Social Attitudes

    NatCen's latest British Social Attitudes survey seeks to identify British social attitudes by looking at the effect of austerity in five important areas: class, benefits, work, the NHS and politics.

  • Britain’s emerging consumer debt crisis - Graph showing consumer debt increase since 2000
    Britain’s emerging consumer debt crisis

    The Centre for Responsible Credit distills the latest data from the UK Economic Accounts and from the the NMG survey to provide information about the level and distribution of the household consumer credit debt burden.

  • Improved street fundraising standard - Street canvasser in conversation with a woman
    Improved street fundraising standard

    New figures from the Institute of Fundraising’s Site Management Agreements and mystery shopper programme show that the number of breaches of the street fundraising rules have fallen again this last year.

  • Household debt - Photo of wallet held in a G-Cramp tool
    Household debt will reach record high in first year of new government

    The TUC has published a new analysis of household debt, which finds that unsecured debt per household will reach a record high of £13,900 this year.

  • Volunteers' Week - Logo of the organisation, showing the dates 1st to 7th June 2107
    Volunteers' Week

    Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. It takes place from 1st-7th June every year.

  • Work Choice - Wheelchair user on pavement surrounded by other city workers
    Work Choice

    Work Choice helps people with disabilities whose needs cannot be met through other work programmes, Access to Work or workplace adjustments. This might be because they need more specialised support to find employment or keep a job once they have started work.

  • Elderly care costs to surge in next decade - Photo of woman lying in bed being attended to by a nurse
    Elderly care costs to surge in next decade

    The proportion of older people with care needs is set to rise by 25% within a decade in England and Wales. The finding comes from a study funded by the British Heart Foundation and published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

  • Cascading Leadership - Graphic with keywords for leadership and what it means
    Cascading Leadership

    The Cascading Leadership pilot was launched in March 2016, in partnership with GSK and Comic Relief, to enable high-performing leaders of voluntary and community organisations to share their learning with the wider sector.

  • Good Finance - Two infographics explaining what social investement in the UK represents - supporting sopcial ventures, encouraging investors and making it easier to connect with them
    Good Finance

    Good Finance is a collaborative project to help improve access to information on social investment for charities and social enterprises.

  • Small Charity Week - Photo of a previous FSI Community for small charities event during Small charity week
    Small Charity Week

    Small Charity Week celebrates and raises awareness of the essential work of the UK’s small charity sector that make an invaluable contribution to the lives of millions of individuals, communities and causes across the UK and the rest of the world.

  • HMRC - Stone engraved wall plaque outside HMRC headquarters
    Compliance checks: visits by agreement or advance notice

    As part of a compliance check, HMRC may ask to visit your business premises. This is so that they can look at your records or business assets and find out more about how your business operates.

  • Helen Stephenson CBE - Helen Stephenson CBE, New chief executive at the Charity Commission
    New chief executive at the Charity Commission

    Helen Stephenson CBE has been appointed as the next chief executive of the Charity Commission.