Government News Round-up - July 2021

MVA brings you a collection of announcements and other events from UK Government.

Covid-19 stakeholder toolkit

The UK Cabinet Office has released its latest Covid-19 stakeholder and influencer toolkit which includes key messages around step two on the 'roadmap' out of lockdown, vaccinations and testing. The kit also includes links to resources in community languages.

Click here to download the toolkit, or visit the Cabinet Office website for more details.

Virtual AGMs and insolvency arrangements

The Charity Commission has recently amended and extended upon guidance to help with running your charity during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

  • Virtual AGMs – The Commission advises that the provision of the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020, allowing charitable companies and CIOs to hold virtual meetings, ended on 30 March 2021 and cannot being extended. They have stated they will take the same flexible approach to holding virtual meetings for charitable companies and CIOs as for other types of charity.
  • Insolvency Help – The Commission’s guidance has been amended to reflect the extension of the following:
    • The breathing space for companies to explore options for rescue, restructure and prevention of debt recovery due to Coronavirus is being extended until 30 September 2021
    • The exemption for small entity suppliers during coronavirus have been extended until 30 June 2021. This limits termination in supply arrangements, allowing supplies to continue so companies and CIOs can carry on operating.
    • Temporary suspension of the use of statutory demands and the restriction on winding up petitions where a company or CIO cannot pay its bills due to the coronavirus emergency. These provisions have been extended until 30 June 2021
More details can be found at the UK Government website.

Almost all Pharmacies now Offering Free, Rapid Coronavirus Tests

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) recently reported approximately nine in ten pharmacies across England are now distributing free rapid lateral flow tests for people to collect and use at home.

Rapid, regular testing is now available to everyone in England and the new Pharmacy Collect service provides an additional route to regular testing, making it as easy as possible for people without Covid-19 symptoms to access testing twice a week.

More details can be found at the DHSC website.

The Charities Bill - Key Changes to Charity Law, May 2021

The Charity Commission recently announced that The Charities Bill, as declared in this year’s Queen’s Speech, proposes several technical but important changes to charity law.

The changes include:

  • It will now be easier to amend a charity’s constitution or governing document.
  • A charity will be able to access a greater resource of professional advisors on land disposal.
  • A charity will have more freedoms to make use of permanent endowment.
  • (in certain circumstance) Trustees will be able to be paid for goods provided to a charity, even if not expressly stated in the charity’s governing document.
  • A charity will be able to take advantage of simpler rules on failed charity appeals – This would mean, as a given example, if a charity appeal was not able to raise a target amount, that charity could still use the donations below £120 on a similar charitable purpose without the individual donor’s permission.

The Commission says they welcome the proposed changes which should make life simpler for trustees, helping them to make the most of the benefits that their charity delivers.

They go on to advise that through these changes, it allows trustees to get on with the important work of running their charity, whilst maintaining strong oversight for the instances when things do not go right.

For more details, visit the Charity Commission website.