I. THE ORGANISATION
Ch.1: Setting up an organisation
Ch.2: Unincorporated organisations
Ch.3: Incorporated organisations
Ch.4: Charitable status, charity law & regulation
Ch.5: The organisation's objects
Ch.6: The organisation's name
Ch.7: The governing document
Ch.8: Registering as a charity
Ch.9: Branches, subsidiaries & group structures
Ch.10: Changing legal form
Ch.11: Collaborative working, partnerships and mergers
Ch.12: Members of the organisation
Ch.13: Members of the governing body
Ch.14: Officers, committees & sub-committees
Ch.15: Duties & powers of the governing body
Ch.16: Restrictions on payments & benefits
Ch.17: The registered office & other premises
Ch.18: Communication & paperwork
Ch.19: Meetings, resolutions & decision making
Ch.20: Assets & agency
Ch.21: Contracts & contract law
Ch.22: Risk & liability
Ch.24: Financial difficulties & winding up
III. EMPLOYEES, WORKERS, VOLUNTEERS & OTHER STAFF
Ch.25: Employees & other workers
Ch.26: Rights, duties & the contract of employment
Ch.27: Model contract of employment
Ch.28: Equal opportunities in employment
Ch.29: Taking on new employees
Ch.30: Pay & pensions
Ch.31: Working time, time off & leave
Ch.32: Rights of parents & carers
Ch.33: Disciplinary matters, grievances & whistleblowing
Ch.34: Termination of employment
Ch.36: Employer-employee relations
Ch.37: Employment claims & settlement
Ch.38: Self employed & other contractors
IV. SERVICES & ACTIVITIES
Ch.40: Health & safety
Ch.41: Safeguarding children & vulnerable adults
Ch.42: Equal opportunities: goods, services & facilities
Ch.43: Data protection & use of information
Ch.44: Intellectual property
Ch.45: Publications, publicity & the internet
Ch.46: Campaigning & political activities
Ch.47: Public events, entertainment & licensing
V. FUNDING & FUNDRAISING
Ch.48: Funding & fundraising: General rules
Ch.49: Fundraising activities
Ch.50: Tax-effective giving
Ch.51: Trading & social enterprise
Ch.52: Contracts & service agreements
Ch.53: Financial procedures & security
Ch.54: Annual accounts, reports & returns
Ch.55: Auditors & independent examiners
Ch.56: Corporation tax, income tax & capital gains tax
Ch.57: Value added tax
Ch.58: Investment & reserves
Ch.60: Land ownership & tenure
Ch.61: Acquiring & disposing of property
Ch.62: Business leases
VIII. BACKGROUND TO THE LAW
Ch.64: How the law works
Ch.65: Dispute resolution & litigation
UPDATED INFORMATION FOR CHAPTER 63:
VOLUNTARY SECTOR LEGAL HANDBOOK
This page contains information that has appeared on Sandy Adirondack's legal update website for voluntary organisations at www.sandy-a.co.uk/legal.htm. For current updates, including potential changes that are in the pipeline, see the legal update website.
To avoid spamming, an email address is not given on screen. If you can't see the word 'here' or have trouble sending an email by clicking on it, the address is bookservice at sandy-a.co.uk, with the spaces and 'at' replaced by the @ symbol.
These websites for each chapter update
the 3rd edition of The Russell-Cooke Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook by James Sinclair Taylor and the Charity Team at Russell-Cooke Solicitors, edited by Sandy Adirondack (Directory of Social Change, 2009). The websites are not intended as a comprehensive update and should not be treated as such.
To order a copy of The Russell-Cooke Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook, print out the order form at www.sandy-a.co.uk/bookserv.htm or send an email order by clicking
. It costs £60 for voluntary organisations or £90 for others, plus 10% p&p.
The information here covers the law applicable to England and Wales. It may not apply in Northern Ireland and/or Scotland. These news items are not a full or definitive statement of the law and are not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice. No responsibility for loss occasioned as a result of any person acting or refraining from acting can be taken by the author.
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT AND THE ENVIRONMENT
The items below formerly appeared on the legal update website for voluntary organisations and are archived here. The content may be out of date and links may not work. For current updates to the chapter, see the legal update website for voluntary organisations at www.sandy-a.co.uk/finance.htm.
INFORMATION & ADVICE ON PROPERTY ISSUES
Planning Aid England has updated its website at www.rtpi.org.uk/planningaid, Online resources include a guide to the planning process and a jargon buster. Telephone advice is available to charities and other voluntary organisations, either through Planning Aid England or through separate Planning Aids in London, Wales, Scotland (details on the England website).
The new My Community Space website, at mycommunityspace.org.uk, is intended for organisations that own or manage community premises and those looking for premises. Run by Community Matters, it includes advice on finding and taking on premises, managing premises, building and improving premises, maintaining premises, and getting professional advice; sources of further information and advice; and advertisements for premises available for rent or hire. The advertisements are currently only for London, but are expected to roll out nationally. Information on the website will in due course be extended to cover not only buildings, but also open spaces.
RICS (the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), in association with NCVO and the Charity Finance Directors' Group, set up Charity Property Help for charities and other voluntary organisations in 2009. The scheme provides a one-hour consultation free of charge on matters such as property strategy, property management, project management, office relocation, rent reviews, service charges, dilapidations, lease renewals, disposing of freehold and leasehold properties, capital additions, planning issues, rates, council tax, environmental issues, health and safety, Disability Discrimination Act compliance, risk and disaster management, landlord and tenant disputes, and disputes relating to boundaries, repairs, builders or insurance claims. If additional time is required, a fee is negotiated.
Details are at rics.org/charitypropertyhelp.
Another source of information about property issues is the Ethical Property Foundation, at www.ethicalproperty.org.uk, which provides written briefings and training on property issues, and has a helpline for charities and other voluntary organisations.
CLAMPING OR TOWING VEHICLES ON PRIVATE PROPERTY
Added 21/10/12. This would go somewhere in chapter 63 in The Russell-Cooke Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook (VSLH3), but I'm not sure where.
From 1 October 2012 vehicles on private land can generally be blocked, immobilised (clamped) or moved only by bodies with explicit statutory authorisation to do so, such as local authorities, the police, DVLA, and bailiffs removing vehicles for the purposes of enforcing debts. From that date police and local authorities have been given power to remove vehicles not only from roads but also from private and other land if they are parked illegally or dangerously, or are abandoned or causing an obstruction.
Owners or occupiers can no longer clamp or tow vehicles on their land, even if the vehicles are parked unlawfully. Notices warning that vehicles parked on private land will be immobilised or removed are no longer valid. An exception allows a vehicle on private land to be removed or immobilised by the land owner/occupier if there was a fixed barrier when the vehicle was parked, even if the barrier was not lowered at the time.
Bates Wells & Braithwaite published a one-page briefing on the changes on 19 October 2012, available via tinyurl.com/973l74q.
These changes are brought in by ss.54-55 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, which is at www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012/9/contents/enacted.
BUSINESS RATES AND SMALL BUSINESS RATE RELIEF
Updated 13/7/10. This information updates s.220.127.116.11 in The Russell-Cooke Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook (VSLH3).
From 1 April 2010 non-domestic properties have been revalued for non-domestic rates (business rates), based on a valuation date of 1 April 2008. Information about business rates, including rateable values of properties in England and Wales, is on the Valuation Office Agency's website at www.voa.gov.uk/business_rates/index.htm.
Also from 1 April 2010, the thresholds for small business rate relief are changed. A business with a single property whose rateable value is below £6,000 (increased from £5,000) is eligible for 50% mandatory relief from non-domestic rates. The relief is decreased by 1.2% for every £100 of rateable value from £6,000 to £11,999 (increased from £9,999).
Where the business has more than one property, the additional properties must not have individual rateable values of more than £2,600 (increased from £2,200), and the rateable value of all the properties added together must be less than £18,000 (increased from £15,000) or £25,500 (increased from £21,500) in London. Only the main property is eligible for this relief.
To reduce the impact of revaluation, the amount of rate relief for small businesses is temporarily increased between 1 October 2010 and 30 September 2011.
For England, the Non-Domestic Rating (Small Business Rate Relief) (England) (Amendment) (no.2) Order 2009 is at www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2009/uksi_20093175_en_1.
The Non-Domestic Rating (Small Business Rate Relief) (England) (Amendment) Order 2010 is at www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2010/uksi_20101655_en_1.
Religious buildings, charities, community amateur sports clubs and some rural businesses are entitled to rate relief under different legislation.
Information about business rates and the various rate reliefs is available from Business Link at tinyurl.com/ybmcz2l.
COMMUNITY GROUPS MAY GET REDUCTIONS ON "RAIN TAX"
Updated 13/7/10. This information updates s.63.4 in The Russell-Cooke Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook (VSLH3).
Water charges cover water supply, waste water drainage from sinks and toilets, surface water drainage, and highway water drainage. Charges for non-domestic premises were traditionally based on the rateable value of properties, but since 1999 some water companies have charged for surface and highway water drainage on the basis of site area rather than rateable value, and in 2003, the water regulator Ofwat required all water companies to start moving towards charging for surface water drainage on this basis. Where this charging has been implemented, it has led to huge increases nicknamed a rain tax for organisations such as Scout huts, churches, sport clubs and village halls. From 2010 all water companies are supposed to charge non-domestic properties on a site area basis for surface water drainage.
After extended campaigning by a coalition of organisations, the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 s.43 allows (but unfortunately does not require) water companies to provide concessionary charges to community groups for surface water drainage. It is left to each company to decide whether to provide concessions, and if so which types of community groups to provide them to, what constitutes a community group, and whether to have different concessions for different types of group. Community groups may include youth groups; community centres; places of worship or other religious facilities; recreational, cultural, social or sporting facilities; or groups providing a local community benefit of any other kind.
Consultation on DEFRA's draft guidance for water companies, intended to ensure charges are fair and affordable for community groups, started on 12 July 2010 and closed on 22 October 2010.
The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 is at www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2010/ukpga_20100029_en_1.
The DEFRA consultation is at ww2.defra.gov.uk/2010/07/12/surface-water/.
COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY
Added 13/7/10. This information updates s.63.10.5 in The Russell-Cooke Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook (VSLH3).
From 6 April 2010 local authorities have power to charge a community infrastructure levy (CIL) to landowners and developers who create new buildings of 100 square metres or more, or make changes to existing buildings. Where CIL is implemented, it will in most (but not all) cases replace section 106 agreements and will be used to help fund community infrastructure such as roads, schools and hospitals.
Charities are exempt from CIL in relation to developments that will be used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes, but must apply for and obtain the exemption before starting work on the development. Developments which include social housing are also exempt. Local authorities may give discretionary relief to charities who develop land as an investment and use the investment income for charitable purposes.
Two documents from the Department for Communities and Local Government explain CIL: Community infrastructure levy: An overview at tinyurl.com/2wcea7l, and Community infrastructure levy: Charge setting and charging schedule procedures at tinyurl.com/3574ara.
The Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 are at www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2010/uksi_20100948_en_1.
But don't spend too much time getting your head around it. CLG minister of state Greg Clark said in a written reply in the House of Commons on 1 July 2010 that the government is considering the future of CIL and "we will make a public announcement shortly".
REGISTRATION FOR CRC ENERGY EFFICIENCY SCHEME
Added 7/11/10. This information updates s.63.12.3 in The Russell-Cooke Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook (VSLH3).
This affects only very large organisations.
By 30 September 2010, organisations which in 2008 had at least one half-hourly electricity meter (which records energy use every half hour) must have registered for the CRC energy efficiency scheme (formerly called the carbon reduction commitment) or made an 'information disclosure' under the scheme.
Organisations which had a half-hourly meter and whose total annual electricity consumption during 2008 was at least 6,000MWh (equivalent to an electricity bill of approximately £500,000) will become participants in the scheme. It is a cap and trade scheme under which organisations set their own emission targets within limits set by the government, are granted allowances called carbon emission reduction credits, and then are able to buy and sell allowances via an action process. There is self certification process for monitoring, reporting and verifying energy use.
Organisations which had a half-hourly meter in 2008 but whose electricity usage was below 6,000MWh do not have to participate in the scheme but must make an information disclosure to the Environment Agency.
Detailed information is available from the Environment Agency at www.environment-agency.gov.uk.