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No deal not off the table, NCVO warns

Charities need to prepare for no deal despite a new law that requires the prime minister to delay Brexit if an agreement hasn’t been reached, NCVO warned today as it released new guidance for charities to follow.

The European (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019, which became law yesterday, only delays a potential no-deal Brexit until January. And despite its passing there is still a risk of a no-deal exit on 31 October, the umbrella body explained.

NCVO reiterated its view that a no-deal Brexit presents a range of very serious risks for charities but reminded charities that it was essential to prepare for a range of potential consequences.

The comprehensive new guidance, aimed at boards and staff in charities of all sizes, covers pressing issues for charities and provides lists of suggested actions in areas including financial preparedness, staffing and volunteers, data protection, EU funding and banking and other financial services.

The guidance comes ahead of a webinar for charities on no-deal preparations co-hosted by NCVO and DCMS officials later today which will outline the actions charities should take. The webinar is free for charities to join.

Commenting, NCVO’s Brexit analyst, Ben Westerman, said: 

A no-deal Brexit would be seriously disruptive for organisations of all kinds, and charities would have to deal with a range of consequences not only for them but more importantly for the causes they work on.

Reviewing the potential impacts of Brexit for your organisation and your cause is an essential part of good governance. The consequences of a no-deal exit will be different for each charity, but we’ve tried to cover everything trustee boards need to be thinking about.

It’s particularly important that you review what you need to do now, don’t simply take a ‘wait and see’ approach, as developments could happen very quickly. While on the face of it parliament has legislated to avoid a no-deal Brexit on 31 October, there is still some risk of a no-deal exit on that date given the need for agreement from the EU. In any case, the legislation only moves the deadline back twelve weeks, which means preparation is still urgent.

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