Training and consultancy on governance and law
for the voluntary sector

"You deserve an award for the most easily understood, accessible and quality information service I have ever come across! As a very small charity your info gives us the confidence to know what we should be knowing and doing with the minimum of effort."
Corinne Wheeler, Canvey Island Youth Project

This update provides information of a general nature for management committees/trustees and staff of voluntary organisations about legal changes over the past year, and forthcoming changes. It is on five pages:

  • EMPLOYMENT covers employment and volunteering.

  • EQUALITY covers equal opportunities in employment and in the provision of services, goods and facilities, and human rights.

  • FINANCE covers risk and liability, insurance, fundraising, funding, commissioning and procurement, accounts, tax, VAT, financial difficulties and winding up, and property and the environment.

  • LEGAL STRUCTURES AND CHARITABLE STATUS covers charity law, company and industrial and provident society law, issues related to incorporation or being unincorporated, and governance and trusteeship.

  • ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES covers everything else: health and safety, safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, data protection, freedom of information, intellectual property, electronic communications, internet, campaigning, events, licensing, publicity, marketing etc. Most of this information was previously on a page called Managing the organisation, but was moved the new Activities page in August 2013. Health and safety and safeguarding were previously on the Employment page and were moved at the same time.
Items about changes which took place more than a year ago are archived at

The information and commentary on this website cover the law applicable to England, and may not apply in Wales, Northern Ireland and/or Scotland. It is provided free of charge for information purposes only, and is not a full or definitive statement of the law. Reasonable efforts are made to keep the information and commentary accurate and up to date, but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by Sandy Adirondack. Each item clearly indicates when it was most recently updated.

The information and commentary do not, and are not intended to, amount to legal advice to any person or organisation on a specific case or matter and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice.

To be notified by email when the website is updated, click to send an email, asking to receive update notifications. Please give your name, organisation, address, telephone and email address.
To avoid spamming, an email address is not given on screen. If you can't see the word 'Legalupdate' or have trouble sending an email by clicking on it, the address is sandy at, with the spaces and 'at' replaced by the @ symbol. Or ring 020 7232 0726 to talk to a real person, or at least a real voicemail.)

Items on this website are cross-referenced to the The Russell-Cooke Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook, published by Directory of Social Change in September 2009 (£60 for voluntary organisations, £90 others, + 10% p&p). For details see Books, and to order a copy print out the order form at Books by post or send an email order by clicking
To avoid spamming, an email address is not given on screen. If you can't see the word 'Bookorders' or have trouble sending an email by clicking on it, the address is bookorders at, with the spaces and 'at' replaced by the @ symbol.

You can also find legal updates for voluntary organisations on the website of the Charity Team at Russell-Cooke Solicitors at and information about changes in tax and finance law on the Sayer Vincent website at


Helplines and information
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations' financial management website includes briefings and guidance on financial matters, as well as model policies and procedures. It can be accessed via Other NCVO briefings, for example on trustee roles, employment matters etc, are accessible from

The Charity Commission and HM Revenue and Customs have a joint helpline on 08453 020203, to deal with issues relating to charity tax, charity VAT and charity law and practice. Charities can continue to use separate helplines for charities on 0845 3000 218 or HMRC on 0845 010 9000.

The Charity Finance Group at covers finance, IT and human resources and provides, in the resources section, practical working documents which are used by charities, as well as professional guidance and advice provided by experts.

The Advice Services Alliance's Advicenow at provides legal information about a wide range of topics. It is intended to be complementary to Civil Legal Advice, a service for individuals who are eligible for legal aid, at or (tel 0845 345 4345).

Employment-related information and advice is available from several sources, including the website, ACAS, the Trades Union Congress and PEACe. For details see

For general (not specifically legal) updates on issues of concern to voluntary organisations, see the Voluntary Resource website at A free Voluntary Resource weekly email bulletin can be requested via the website.

Professional support
The national ProHelp network includes firms of solicitors, accountants, architects, consulting engineers and surveyors, public relations and marketing agencies, and management and information technology consultants who provide free advice and support to charities and community groups. Details are at

Professionals4free, a website to help voluntary organisations find out how to access free professional help, is run by Business Community Connections, Business in the Community, TimeBank and NCVO and is at

LawWorks ( is a charity which offers free legal advice and guidance to small charities, not for profit, voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises in England and Wales. This includes free legal advice on a wide range of legal issues; an online service providing initial advice in response to general legal queries; a small number of legal advice clinics; and factsheets and videos on a range of topics. It also provides a mediation service. It is run by the Solicitors Pro Bono Group,


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2013 Sandy Adirondack.

Governance and legal training and consultancy
for the voluntary sector

39 Gabriel House, 10 Odessa Street, London SE16 7HQ
Tel 020 7232 0726; fax 020 237 8117
To avoid spamming, an email address is not given on screen. If you can't see the word 'Sandy' or have trouble sending an email by clicking on it, the address is sandy at, with the spaces and 'at' replaced by the @ symbol.
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