Welcome to the October 2018 edition of our Charity Essentials newsletter. This month we look at implications of Brexit for trade mark protection and have a round up of recent news items that may be of interest.
- Brexit: Implications for trade mark protection
The implications of Brexit for trade mark protection are potentially profound. Whilst a transitional period lasting from 29 March 2019 - the day the UK officially leaves the EU - until 31 December 2020 has been agreed (during which time EU law will continue to apply in the UK), come full Brexit, trademarks protected as registered EU rights will cease to have effect in the UK.
- Plans for joint Charity Commission and HMRC registration portal scrapped
HMRC has announced that plans announced in 2013 to develop a joint portal for the registration of charities with HMRC and the Charity Commission will no longer be taken forward. Many charities have expressed disappointment as it had been hoped that the portal would reduce the burden on charities. The Commission has commented that information sharing between itself and HMRC has improved over recent years. However, since the announcement HMRC has said that the cancellation of the project was due to a ‘reprioritisation exercise’ due to the workload involved in dealing with Brexit.
- Inquiry report provides reminder regarding due diligence and financial controls on donations
The Commission has published a report on its inquiry into Global Welfare Project. The Commission found that the organisation’s trustees failed to account for considerable donated funds, and transferred the funds of the organisation to a different charity with similar purposes.
As always, the report contains lessons which are relevant to the wider sector and in this instance, these include a reminder that trustees must carry out appropriate due diligence on those individuals and partner organisations that the charity receives donations from, gives money to or works with closely. Due diligence and financial controls or checks depend on various factors and must be proportionate to the level of risk. Factors for consideration include the amount of charitable funds and if the funds are being transferred to a high risk area.
Further information about the trustees’ legal responsibility to carry out due diligence checks on donors, beneficiaries and local partners and how to monitor end use of funds can be found in Chapter 2 of the Protecting charities from harm: compliance toolkit.
- ICO - Speech outlines data breach reporting trends under GDPR
On 12 September 2018, the Information Commissioner's Office's (ICO) Deputy Commissioner (Operations) made a speech to the CBI Cyber Security: Business Insight Conference assessing the impact of GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 over the past three months, summarising action taken by the ICO and outlining key data breach reporting trends.
The Deputy Commissioner revealed that, since 25 May 2018, the ICO has received about 500 calls each week to its breach reporting line. Roughly one third are from organisations that decide after discussion with the ICO that the breach does not meet the reporting threshold.
Key trends include:
Organisations struggle with the 72-hour period defined in Article 33(1) of the GDPR and must remember that it is not working hours. Some reports are incomplete although the ICO has set out clear guidance on what to include. Adequate resources must be assigned to managing the breach. Some controllers are over-reporting and the ICO will discourage this once the new threshold has become more familiar.
- Upcoming Charity Events
We are pleased to announce our 2019 programme of for Charity Training - The Essential Trustee and Governance in Practice. We have developed our training to equip charity Trustees and members of Senior Management Teams with the knowledge they need to carry out their roles effectively. Our Charity Essentials programme will offer a number of introductory sessions across various locations in the UK. These sessions are designed to provide a crucial overview for all charity Trustees and invaluable insight for Senior Management. Covering key Charity Commission guidance and the underlying charity law duties, the aim is to help you implement best practice, prevent and deal with problems when they arise and recognise when further input is needed.