Faith Bulletin - Winter 2020

In this edition;

  • Failure to prevent the criminal facilitation of tax evasion impacts all incorporated churches regardless of their size
  • What lessons can faith organisations learn from recent Charity Commission inquiries?
  • Reporting serious incidents - guidance on reporting when it involves a partner
  • An update - European Employees and Volunteers post Brexit
  • Meet the team - Alexandra Steffensen
Failure to prevent the criminal facilitation of tax evasion impacts all incorporated churches regardless of their size

Historically it has been difficult to prosecute an organisation and its senior officers for failing to prevent people associated with it from criminally facilitating tax evasion. The Government introduced a new Corporate Criminal Offence in 2017 to hold organisations to account for failing to prevent the criminal facilitation of tax evasion, and to provide a stronger incentive to invest in good governance and preventative procedures.

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What lessons can faith organisations learn from recent Charity Commission inquiries?

Sarah Clune examines some of the common themes from recent inquiry reports into faith organisations released by the Charity Commission.

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Reporting serious incidents - guidance on reporting when it involves a partner

The Commission has published guidance for charity trustees on when to report incidents involving the charity’s partners as a serious incident. Broadly, the guidance says that trustees should make a serious incident report when an incident has occurred involving one of the charity’s partners in the UK or internationally, which materially affects the charity, its staff, operations, finances and/or reputation, such that it is serious enough to be reported.

Partners include a delivery partner or sub-contractor of the charity; a subsidiary trading company of the charity; an organisation that receives funding from the charity; and another charity or organisation that is linked to your charity, for example, as part of a federated structure;

The Commission suggests that the guiding principles about what to report start from three different positions:

  • The incident involves the charity’s funds, brand, people or an activity that it funds or is responsible for;
  • The incident does not involve the charity’s funds, brand or people but could have a significant impact on the charity; or
  • The incident does not involve the charity’s funds, brand or people and has little or no impact on the charity.
An update – European Employees and Volunteers post Brexit.

On the 31 January 2020, the UK left the European Union. The transitional arrangements are now in place for EEA nationals, but how can employers prepare? What of those EEA nationals who work for you as employees and volunteers?

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Meet the team - Alexandra Steffensen

Alexandra is a Senior Associate in our Charity and Social Enterprise Team and assists a wide range of charities from Faith based to Animal Welfare and Independent Schools on matters of re-structuring, governance and dealing with the Charity Commission.

What is your background?

As a child I lived all over the UK and went to school in Birmingham, Sheffield and London. So my roots are in the North, Midlands and South! I studied Egyptology at Cambridge University and went on to study in the USA. On returning to England I trained to be a lawyer, starting at Slaughter and May in banking and finance, before moving to Stone King fifteen years ago to specialise in Charity law.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

Meeting a wide range of interesting people and helping deliver their vision through charitable and social enterprises, or helping them successfully navigate their way out of a crisis.

What is your most memorable moment in law?

Reading the High Court Judgement that allowed us to close The Cup Trust and spend the remaining money on charitable purposes, after assisting the Interim Manager for several years to get to this point in spite of the prolonged opposition of the previous Trustees, and extensive liaison with the Charity Commission and HMRC.

What do you do outside of work?

My husband is from Scandinavia so we spend many holidays in Sweden walking in the forests and round their impressive lakes; or walking in England and Wales with me trying to persuade him our lakes are as good! I am also still inspired by Art Galleries, historic buildings, and museums wherever I go, and still keep links to the Ancient World as a Trustee of “The Roman Baths Foundation”.

The law and practice referred to in this article has been paraphrased or summarised. It might not be up-to-date with changes in the law and we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided at the time of reading. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice in relation to a specific set of circumstances.

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