DC’s Blog, May 2020

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Executive Committees

The Government also has some practical advice for Executive Committees. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has also published some useful guidance to help Executive Committees consider how they can best support members locally during this time. These both cover issues such as AGMs, remote meetings and other matters. You can read this guidance here.

15/05/20 The Charity Commission have provided the following information in relation to holding an AGM during this crisis.

Coronavirus is having a major impact on charity events and the government’s health advice may lead to some charities having no choice but to decide to cancel or postpone their AGMs and other critical meetings. The charity as far as possible should be acting in accordance with the governing document. However, the Commission understands that the charity may not be able to fully comply with the governing document during this current crisis.
Key points:

  • If the trustees, decide it is necessary to hold the AGM by electronic means, they should record this decision to demonstrate good governance of your charity.
  • The trustees must assess the risk in postponing the AGM or holding a meeting by another means. They should communicate the decision with the members where practical to do so e.g. via telephone or post or email.
  • As a regulator of charities, the Charity Commission will not be taking regulatory action, if the charity has demonstrated the reason for holding a meeting outside of the governing document or postponing the AGM during a pandemic is in the best interest of the charity.
  • If decisions are made by a meeting held which are not in accordance with the governing document, the Charity Commission advises the trustees clearly record the decision.
  • The Trustees may also wish to think about whether there are any wider or longer impacts of their decision that may need to be considered (independent of the regulator) for any actions during this time.
    Please remember it is the responsibility of the individual Charity Trustees to decide what is the best course of action to take for their Charity.

Annual Report submission

Wherever possible, the Charity Commission asks all Charities to try to get their annual reports submitted on time. However, where the situation impacts on the completion of annual returns and accounts, charities with an imminent filing date may request a filing extension by emailing them at: filingextension@charitycommission.gov.uk. Delaying the AGM does not stop the submission of the Annual report, which is approved by the Trustees and only adopted at the annual general meeting.

District AGM

we will go for an online AGM now the rules allow it.  We will send out the virtual invites for the AGM which will be held on Tuesday 7th July. 

Gift Aid

Those of you that managed to join the meeting with Tim Kidd recently will have heard the plea that we should all claim Gift Aid. I see from the census returns that there are 4 Groups in the District that are not currently taking advantage of this very important 25% supplement to your Group’s membership income. Gift Aid can also be claimed for the proceeds of some of your collections and fund raising events. – and you can back-date the claim for  the last 4 years. Having registered with HMRC, the process of claiming is fairly simple and can be done on an excel spreadsheet and uploaded to the HMRC on-line application form. Do, please, take advantage of this potentially very valuable source of income and do, please, let me know if you are having any difficulties setting up a system of claiming. 

Training / Ongoing Learning

A reminder that training is currently available in Wiltshire West District details are on the District web site https://www.wiltshirewestscouts.org/adult-training  please encourage any Leaders in your Group requiring training to register. There is also training available on the County web site.

Sam Harris is now our new LTM and will be setting up some Training via Zoom for our own District so please keep an eye for new posts on the District Website.

Updates to online safeguarding training

In June 2020, we’ll be updating our online Safeguarding training. This will incorporate the latest advice, and the training itself will work better on mobiles and other devices. It’ll become easier for learners to complete their training, supporting the change made in March to remove the need to alternate between face to face and online training. The updates will include a built-in assessment at the end, generating a certificate once the learner has answered all questions correctly. The face to face training resources will also be updated and shared with Safeguarding Awareness Coordinators and Safeguarding Trainers.   

Updates to Compass

At the same time, we’ll be updating Compass to allow line managers and their deputies to update volunteers’ records to show that they’ve completed their safety or safeguarding ongoing learning. They are only expected to record validation that’s been completed by the production of an e-learning certificate.    
This extra access to a wider group of people will help get essential training validated more quickly. It will support the brilliant work you and your teams are doing and will help to ease the pressure.  

An update on the Zoom Pro offer.

We’re nearly there with securing the offer for Zoom Pro for Group, District and County/Area/Region teams we’re just finalising the legal agreement. We’ll be in touch soon with Group Scout Leaders, District Commissioners and County/Area/Region Commissioners with more information on how to register for a license as soon as it is agreed. There will be one license available to use for every Group, District and County/Area/Region team. We are sorry for any confusion this week when the registration webpage we are developing for this offer went live by mistake. Anyone who managed to register in that short period will have their details saved until the offer is ready.