Monday, 30 September 2013

Limited Liability CIO Switch Over Update


Just thought I'd post this as it's something I've been looking into for clients and may be of use to the wider VolSec community in the UK.

As most are probably aware, the Charity Commission has come up with an alternative to registering with Companies House for limited liability. As of this year, they've been phasing in the option of registering a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), which is meant to make administration easier. Instead of filing financial returns with Companies House and charity returns with the Charity Commission, you can now file everything with the Charity Commission. It also takes the Private Sector association out of limited liability.


Obvious gaping question you're left with as a charity consultant is: If small charities (under £5k a year) cannot apply to become CIOs until January 2014, but need limited liability status now, what should they do?

Companies House charge a nominal fee for closing a company. It's about a tenner. But I wanted to know whether a charity registering with Companies House now would need to pay to close their account there when they switched to the Charity Commission.

Surprisingly, I went through a couple of departments before anyone had the info on that. Turns out they knew quite a bit about Scottish CIOs (which have been going longer), but not a lot about English and Welsh ones.

Finally got a response from the very helpful Vernon Luxmikanthan: "I can confirm that there will be no charge payable to Companies House in order for an existing charitable company to convert to a CIO." He then went on to say: "I do not believe that the Charity Commission has any intention to charge for this either, however we are not able to confirm what another part of government intends to do and so to be sure you should contact the Charity Commission directly."

No, I haven't heard that they are either, but it's reassuring to know that communication in government remains at its usual standard...

Anyway, if you are a small charity wondering about this issue, my advice would probably be: If you can wait, wait. If you can't, go with Companies House and don't worry, you can switch over without a fee when the time comes.

Although, one slightly disturbing thing I did hear from one organisations was: "The Charity Commission aren't going to be so strict about late returns as Companies House, are they?"

Interesting perception.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Taking a Break

Hello everyone.

Taking a couple of weeks' break from blogging. I'll be back soon, but in the meantime you might like to check out the material already here. There's a word cloud to the right, or some of the popular subjects:


I'm still around if you need help with:


And if all else fails, have a laugh at the Friday Fun section.

You can also find me on Twitter: @ConsultantMGW

Back soon.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Project Smart



I recently mentioned Mind Tools, which is a huge online resource containing tool kits and training on improved project and people management.

Here's another one, it's called Project Smart. It contains a lot of similar themes, including Agile Project Management, Best Practice, Risk Management and lots more.

It's a bit Private Sector centric, but still worth a look.

Get over there and get improving!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Baghdad Ten Years On

Ruins of bombed Canal Hotel in Baghdad, 30 Aug 03 

It's been ten years since the UN offices in Baghdad were bombed. This is an interesting BBC article exploring the impact it has had on the UN's missions across the globe: How Baghdad attack put UN aid missions at risk

Friday, 6 September 2013

Kiva Meets Etsy

http://site.etsystatic.com/assets/dist/images/kiva/give-loan.20130816141227.png

This is really interesting. 

Yesterday, I mentioned Kiva, which allows individuals to make microcredit loans to businesses in the developing world.

They have just announced that they're teaming up with Etsy, which is basically eBay for handcrafts.

They appear to be proposing microcredit loans through Kiva in order to build businesses which can sell their goods via Etsy.

Quite an impressive collaboration:
We’re thrilled to announce our partnership with Kiva, a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.
The Etsy + Kiva partnership empowers artisans by
Providing financial support through Kiva’s services so they can start or grow independent businesses. 
Connecting them with Etsy’s global community and marketplace, and Etsy’s community with Kiva’s services and members.
You can support a creative entrepreneur by giving a loan on Kiva. By becoming a Trustee, you vouch for an artisan, enabling them to receive a loan. 
We invite you to join us in building the people-powered economy.

Find out more at their People-Powered Economy website.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Kiva




For those who haven't encountered it yet, Kiva is the charity equivalent of Kickstarter and Funding Circle. It facilitates individuals in making small-scale microcredit loans to businesses in developing countries. Essentially crowd sourcing for international development.

We Let You Loan to the Working Poor. Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.

Kiva have also teamed up with Etsy to widen the global reach of artisans. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Bank Switch

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01990/banks_1990826b.jpg 

I mentioned a little while back why it really matters who you bank with as a charity.

Not only for moral reasons, but also for convenience. Reaching a £100k cut-off point for free banking may seem like a minor inconvenience, until you realise you have to approach all of your standing order donors and politely ask them if they would fill out more paperwork.

If you didn't get it right the first time, the government has just introduced new legislation which means you can switch bank accounts within seven days.

Full information in this BBC article: Bank account switching service to launch in September

Effective as of 16th September 2013. 

Now there's no excuse not to take advantage of better free and relatively ethical banking.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

SORP

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 

[Note April 2014: The Charity Commission are currently reviewing SORP.]

SORP stands for Statement of Recommended Practice. In the context of this post, it's a set of guidance issued by the Charity Commission of England and Wales regarding best practice in accounting:

The SORP provides a comprehensive framework of recommended practice for charity accounting and reporting. It provides a mechanism enabling charities to meet the legal requirement for their accounts to give a true and fair view and provides consistency in the sector's interpretation of accounting standards. The SORP also provides recommendations for annual reporting that are relevant to sector and stakeholders needs and are in line with wider developments in reporting.

It hasn't been updated much since 2005, but you can find full PDF guidance online, as well as a podcast. There's also an Accounting Essentials (2009) PDF.

Even if you're not a registered charity yet, it's good to take a look so that you can develop your accounting processes in line with best practice.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Bereavement Trusts

http://www.kerith.co.uk/images/img-main-bereavement.jpg


I have recently taken on a bereavement charity as a client and one of the first things I've helped them with has been to set a clear strategy, one where they better understand the background of the Voluntary Sector and how they might fit within that to attain their objectives.

By bereavement charity, I'm not talking about charities that help people with bereavement, but those that are founded after a bereavement. Commonly they are memorial trusts, but not always. Sometimes they are charities founded to make changes in an area of importance to the person who died, such as medical research or the arts

If you're thinking about going down this route, it's worth having a chat to other organisations who have already done it. Whereas starting a charity to commemorate someone you have lost may seem like a fitting way to keep their memory alive, there is quite a bit involved in running a charity.

Here's an excellent article by the BBC which is a good place to start: Can setting up a charity help families deal with loss?

You might also like to check out the post on Deciding Whether to Start a Charity.

If you decide that this is something you wish to proceed with, you can gain free advice on starting a charity from your local Voluntary Action Council, or you might prefer my charity start-up package.