Policy, Government and the Voluntary Sector

August Policy Update

Here's what's been going on in the world of policy over the past month.

Summer has come to an end, and although August has been a pretty quiet month in terms of news and policy events, it most likely won’t last. Here’s some crucial information on the Commission’s latest trustee guidance, an opportunity to speak directly with the National Lottery Community Fund about the new Cost of Living Fund, and a survey seeking to understand the full impact of the cost of living crisis.  

New update from the Charity Commission on trustee investments 

Back in April 2022, Butler-Sloss brought a case against the Charity Commission addressing whether trustees needed to widely consider the social and environmental impact of their charity’s investments. 

For context, the charities involved both had environmental objects and wanted to know whether they could deny investments that went against the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.  

The conclusion of the case was that trustees should follow their legal duties and use their judgement to make decisions, meaning they could in fact decide not to invest in certain funds if there is a conflict of interest there. Although this case brought forward issues related to a charity’s environmental impact, the Charity Commission has made it clear that the new guidance doesn’t just cover this area.  

As part of the case, the Charity Commission was required to amend its existing guidance on charity investment. This updated guidance was released at the start of August and now clearly explains the need to assess the risks in reputation when you make an investment that conflicts with your charitable interests.  

Read the full guidance here. 

Need some help with your Cost of Living Fund application? 

The Community Organisations Cost of Living Fund is distributing a total of £76 million in funds to charities impacted by the cost of living crisis. This new pot of money was promised by the Government in their 2023 Spring Budget and is now open to applications. 

If you need more information regarding this fund and would like to speak to someone who has all the information, DSC is putting on a free Insight Talk with Ruth Bamford, Funding and Relationships Manager at the National Lottery Community Fund, who will be able to answer any questions you have.  

Find out more and register for the Insight Talk here. 

NCVO wants to understand the impact of inflation on charities delivering public services 

As part of a collective initiative, infrastructure bodies (including DSC) are working together to understand what kind of impact the cost of living crisis is having on charities delivering public services.  

As part of this work, NCVO has released a survey that aims to find out more about services funded by contracts and grants from government (both central and local) and public bodies. 

Closing on Friday 8 September, this survey will take only 10 minutes to fill out and will provide the sector with vital data and information that will guide infrastructure bodies on what to do next. 

Learn more and fill in the survey here.