January 2016: The inside track
The Big Lottery Fund, the National Citizen Service, dormant assets and more.
Big Lottery Fund protected
National Citizen Service extended
Call for evidence: Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme
Financial outlook for local authorities
Charities with £3m or high payroll included in Apprenticeship Levy
Employers with a payroll of £3m or more, including charities, will have to pay 0.5% of spending on staff into the government'sApprenticeship Levyto fund the training of apprentices.
The newDormant Assets Commissionwill be tasked with unlocking billions of pounds worth of dormant assets, such as stocks and shares that have been untouched for more than 15 years. Government estimates that this could raise £1bn for good causes.
Business rates review
The long-awaited business rates review,which charities fear could lead to reduced relief, is likely to feed into the March 2016 Budget.
Freedom of information
Over Christmas, Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancocksuggested that charities in receipt ofgovernment funding should be subject to the Freedom of InformationAct.
Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill
The Bill gives the Charity Commission new and stronger powers, mainly relating to how they are able to deal with the conduct of trustees. The Bill will shortly complete its Commons stages, with any remaining hurdles likely to come if the Lords insist on an amendment designed to stop charities being forced to dispose of their assets, which was removed in the Commons at Committee stage.
The passage of the Bill runs parallel to developments in relation to the self-regulation of fundraising, following the publication of the review of fundraising self-regulation. The Bill also contains reserve powers on regulation of fundraising if the current proposals for self-regulation don't work.
Following the government's Lords defeat on a statutory instrument implementing cuts to tax credits, former Leader of the House of Lords, Lord Strathclyde, was asked to undertake a review of the powers of the Lords relating to secondary legislation.
He reported before Christmas, recommending that the House of Lords lose their power of veto over secondary legislation, and instead have the power to refer a statutory instrument back to the Commons to reconsider.
They would only be able to exercise this option once on each statutory instrument.
English votes for English laws
As the powers of the devolved administrations have grown, increasing attention has been placed by some on MPs voting on matters, which because of devolution will not affect their constituency.
To address this, additional stages have been introduced to the Commons stages of bills certified as applying to England only or England and Wales.The House of Commons library has produced a paper explaining thechanges in detail, but these effectively amount to vetoes for English MPs on England-only legislation, and English and Welsh MPs on bills applying to England and Wales.
Following Jeremy Corbyn's victory in the Labour leadership contest, a number of established party figures chose to step down from the front bench, which means there are lots of new faces who you might need to influence.
As predicted by the press and political commentators over Christmas, Jeremy Corbyn chose the new year to conduct the first reshuffle of his shadow cabinet. Only a small number of movements took place.
Even if your organisation is not directly affected, the political implications are important to be aware of.
By removing his critics, such as Michael Dugher and Pat McFadden, Jeremy Corbyn is indicating a move towards a more publicly united frontbench, and in a bid to change Labour policy over Trident he has ensured that in Emily Thornberry he now has a shadow defence secretary who is more in tune with his views.
Anna Turley, shadow minister for civil society
- A former special adviser in both the Cabinet Office and Department for Work and Pensions
- Since her appointment, Ms Turley has said that Labour are‘open-minded' about the sector, but stressed her support for the role of charities in delivering public services, and has also made a number of interventions supporting charities' right to campaign.
Heidi Alexander, shadow secretary of state for health
- Successfully campaigned against the closure of the accident and emergency department at Lewisham Hospital.
- First elected in 2010, she is a former member of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, and under Ed Miliband was as shadow minister for London.
Barbara Keeley, shadow minister for older people, social care and carers
- First elected as an MP in 2005, she has a longstanding interest in social care and carers.
- Before her election to parliament, she worked for the Princess Royal Trust for Carers.
Following the election, a number of new peers were appointed. Those with a background in the voluntary sector include Lord Shinkwin, who has worked for a number of charities and has an interest in disability issues.
- Lord Grade, former BBC chairman, has been appointed interim chair of the new Fundraising Regulator
- Stephen Dunmore, former chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund, has been appointed interim chief executive
- Simon Case, director of strategy at GCHQ, has been appointed as the prime minister's principal private secretary
- Permanent secretary to the Treasury, Sir Nicholas Macpherson, will stand down following the March 2016 Budget
- David Holdsworth has been appointed as chief operating officer for the Charity Commission
- Sir Adrian Webb and Maureen McGinn have been reappointed as chairs for the Big Lottery Fund's Wales and Scotland committees respectively
Dates for your diary
|5 January||Start of theregulated period for May 2016 elections|
|26 January||Remaining Commons stages for the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill|
|16 March||Chancellor of the exchequer's budget statement|
NCVO can help you to navigate Westminster and Whitehall
Chris tweets regularly on political and parliamentary developments from@_c_walker.