Reminder: Webinar to share lessons from 10 years of running holistic advice projects

A quick reminder of the upcoming webinar from Age UK’s Wellbeing Team, which will share some key lessons from their report on delivering 10 years of holistic advice projects.

Following on from our earlier message, this is a quick reminder that you can join Age UK’s Wellbeing Team on Thursday 27 October from 10-11am, as we share some key lessons from our report on delivering 10 years’ of holistic advice projects. Find out full details below, including the link you need to join on the day.

This webinar is a chance to hear from the team managing these projects and to hear the experiences from some of the local Age UKs who have been involved in these projects. There will also be chance to share your thoughts and experiences of this type of work.

You can use the following link to join the Teams webinar directly on the day.

Please email justin.butler@ageuk.org.uk for more information. If you’re having trouble accessing the report linked above on the loop, please email theloop@ageuk.org.uk.

Supporting staff during the cost of living crisis: Pensions and Salary Exchange Information Session

Age UK’s Financial Governance Team have arrange an Information Session to discuss different options local Age UKs can explore to support current and new staff during the cost of living crisis.

Age UK’s Financial Governance Team have arranged a short 45 minute session for CEOs; Finance and other senior management staff; and trustees to discuss pensions and ‘Salary Exchange’ as a means of supporting current and new staff during the cost of living crisis. The virtual meeting will take place on Wednesday 14 September 2022 from 11:00 to 11:45. Find out full details below.

As the cost of living crisis continues to bite for charities and their staff, and with recruitment of staff a continued challenge, Age UK’s Financial Governance Team have been approached by a number of Brand Partners recently asking about different options they can explore to support current and new staff.

With the support of Peter Queally, Age UK’s Group Pensions and Savings Manager, we are running a short 45 minute session on ‘Salary Exchange’ primarily focussing on pensions as one of those possible opportunities. The virtual meeting will take place on Wednesday 14 September 2022 from 11:00 to 11:45.

In broad outline the presentation will cover the following areas:

  • Salary Exchange – the basics
  • Setting – up a salary exchange scheme
  • Top tips on what to look out for
  • Insight on the benefits of the Age UK Pension & Life Assurance Schemes

The session is open to CEOs, Finance and other senior management and trustees in Local Age UKs and Cymru Partners involved in making such strategic decisions. So please share this information with colleagues in your organisation who you feel would be interested in attending.

This will be an opportunity for colleagues from across the network to update their knowledge and to raise questions – the opportunity to explore the possibilities and understand the benefits this may offer both the charity and staff alike.

Book your place!

Please note the new booking process directly through Microsoft Forms. To register your attendance, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please book your place here.

Please also note the following: You will receive a simple thank you for responding once you have submitted your registration form. The Microsoft Teams meeting link and joining instructions will be sent to you directly by the Financial Governance Team nearer the time of the meeting in the usual way. So please book out the time in your diary and watch out for the email – thank you.

New Wellbeing Webinar from Zurich – “The Power of the Morning Routine!”

Zurich are hosting a wellbeing webinar hosted by a leading wellness coach, to discuss how having a morning routine can help your overall wellbeing.

Zurich are hosting a wellbeing webinar hosted by leading wellness coach, Kate Horwood, to discuss how having a morning routine can help your overall wellbeing. You’ll receive lots of tips, tools, exercises and advice around how best to manage your time and energy, and be more productive as a result. The webinar takes place on Wednesday 20th April from 10-11am and you can book your place here.

To add a little spring in our step, sparing a little time for ourselves to look after our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing is so important. In a modern world, where there are so many ways we can connect, it can sometimes be difficult to switch off, and how your morning starts can have an impact on how you feel for the rest of the day.

What you’ll learn…

  • Why a morning routine is so powerful  
  • How it sets you up for a positive and productive day  
  • The difference between being in a proactive versus reactive state  
  • Locus of control – what it is and why it’s so important  
  • Example morning routines of well-known, successful people  
  • Examples of what participants can do to start their own morning routine  
  • How to create a successful morning routine for yourself  
  • Participants leave with a plan for their new morning routine 

New Financial Governance and Management Briefing Document from Age UK now available

Download the new Financial Governance and Management Briefing Document from Age UK’s Financial Governance Team.

Age UK’s Financial Governance Team has created a Financial Governance and Management Briefing Document to support Senior Staff and Board Members at local Age UKs – particularly those who are new to financial governance and want to learn more. This Briefing provides a guide to charity finances and accounting and highlights the support available through the Age UK Financial Governance Team. The document also contains some key external guides and learning resources, some of which are freely available. Read on to find out more and to access the Briefing Document.

Whatever the size and scale of your organisation, sound financial governance and management is essential for sustainability and for it to succeed in delivering its charitable aims.

This headline briefing is designed as a resource guide to charity finances, including charity accounting and its differences from the commercial world. It is aimed at trustees who haven’t had experience of this area before and will be helpful for experienced trustees who lack confidence when it comes to financial governance. It will also be helpful for those senior management and finance colleagues with a non–charity sector background, or for those colleagues just wishing to refresh their knowledge and understanding.

This guide particularly highlights the support available through the Age UK Financial Governance Team and directs you to some key external guides and learning resources, some of which are freely available.

If you have any questions about the document or financial governance in general, please contact John Fox or David Chenery.

Information & Advice Quality Programme – common areas identified for improvement

Age UK’s Quality & Transformation Team have identified some common areas for improvement across the advice sector. Find the most recent trends below.

Age UK’s Quality & Transformation Team regularly review areas of compliance with the I&A Quality benchmarks, so that we can share learning across the network. We have found that the most common areas identified for improvement are similar to those identified across the independent advice sector as a whole and are important elements of quality assurance. Read on to view the most recent trends.

Most common areas of non-compliance for Quality of Advice

  • Lack of sufficient relevant information gathered to give correct advice
  • Insufficient advice recorded or incomplete advice given e.g. no means-tested benefits check when disability benefits awarded
  • Limited use of Factsheets and Information Guides to back up advice given
What can be done to avoid these?

Training in case-recording and/or the key Age UK topic areas of benefits and community care can help ensure your clients are getting the correct advice – further details can be found on the loop here.

Most common areas of non-compliance for Service Management

  1. Data Protection / Client confidentiality e.g. lack of consent or secure storage of client data
  2. Not recording sufficient client details for information enquiries (leading to under- reporting of work, clients needing to repeat their story on returning)
  3. Lack of Technical Supervision of advisors (usually of the Manager), including regular file checking to ensure accurate advice is given
  4. Lack of planning for a sustainable service
What can be done to avoid these?
  1. Ensure you have evidence of the clients’ consent to process their data, including to store it, share it with third parties, and share it with Age UK for quality audit. Ensure you record and date consent on the client record.

Please Note: legitimate interests as a basis for processing the data should not be used for special category data (i.e. personal sensitive data e.g. health, politics, ethnicity, religion). The ICO sets a higher bar for the way this data is handled, as it could create a higher risk of, for instance, unlawful discrimination. Consent is the best way to treat this type of data, as it is most transparent and simple.

The GDPR Toolkit on the loop can be found here.

  1. Ensure all staff providing I&A are aware of your procedures for recording information enquiries. This helps ensure the client does not have to keep repeating their “story”, and ensures you are not under-recording your work and reach. Enquiries should not routinely be recorded as “Anonymous” – only if consent is not given, or for very simple enquiries.
  2. Ensure you have procedures for both regularly checking the accuracy of advice and that your case management procedures are being followed, as well as the more in depth file reviews (IFRs) carried out less frequently. Ensure these include the advice carried out by the Supervisor or Manager). This is even more important when staff are working remotely or from home.
  3. Ensure the current year 12 month plan and budget is regularly reviewed. A short outline plan for the following 2 years is needed – it does not need to be in detail but should include an outline plan for a sustainable service.

Additional support newsletter from Stephens Scown

Stephens Scown have produced a newsletter to introduce the other services they offer to support the charity sector.

Stephens Scown, who offer the Age UK HR Express service, have put together a newsletter that describes the other areas of legal advice where they are able to offer support e.g. charity law, commercial real estate, business disputes, intellectual property and data protection. This support would be charged for. To find out more, please click here.

Are you ready for Phase Two of Making Tax Digital on 1 April 2021?

Phase Two of Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT goes live from 1 April 2021, Crowe LLP have a two-level offer of support which may be of interest to Partners.

Phase Two of Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT goes live from 1 April 2021. Feedback from Crowe UK LLP, our VAT Helpline Support Provider, indicates that many organisations are unclear about how the rules impact on them, and whether they will be compliant. They are seeing an increased appetite to review current VAT return processes and to provide recommendations on how organisations can be compliant with the new rules. To this end, they have pulled together the following two level offer (fees will be payable) which may be of interest to partners in the network who feel they need some additional help and support with this.

  1. A standard MTD review to check if there are any risks of non-compliance to the MTD rules, detailing specific rules which would apply to your circumstance and comments on simple solutions for digital links; and
  2. An enhanced MTD review, which will include a full remote review of the latest VAT return workings to identify specific areas where there is exposure to non-compliance of the MTD rules and consideration of alternative methods of preparing MTD compliant VAT returns.

Further details can be found in the document below:

Should you wish to discuss this proposal or if you have a general query about Making Tax Digital, please contact the Age UK VAT Helpdesk on 0207 842 7499 or AgeukVAT@crowe.co.uk.

Please note: you are under no obligation to use Crowe UK LLP to undertake an MTD review. Our aim is to encourage the network to seek accredited professional advice as and where required to support them in this and other VAT matters.

DHSC Care Home Visiting Guidance

The Department of Health and Social Care has posted new guidance for care home visiting which you can view here.

The Department of Health and Social Care has published a new summary of guidance for care home visiting which you can view here. This guidance covers: single named visitors; essential care givers; advice for staff; and general visiting guidance. Age UK’s website has also been updated with this information, which you can view here.

Ethical Angel – potential business support for your organisation

Ethical Angel is a free virtual marketplace for organisations to receive expert support from a network of skilled professionals. Find out more.

Our corporate partner Barclays has let us know about Ethical Angel – a FREE, virtual marketplace for causes (charities, social enterprises, NGOs, NPOs and startups) to get expert support from a network of skilled professionals. Organisations can discover and ‘order’ project types suited to their needs and Ethical Angel then match them with ‘angels’ (business employees) who have the skills and passion to support them.

Angels are full time business employees who offer a range of specialist skills, knowledge and competencies which can benefit organisations. They can help to up-skill staff, complete one off projects which require their expertise or provide advice. Companies involved include M&S, Sony, Barclays, Fever-Tree and many more.

The causes they support include: good health & well being; reduced inequalities; ending poverty; innovation and infrastructure – so all things that we do as a network.

Click here to find out more.

Settled – a new signpost organisation for EU citizens wanting help to apply for Settled Status

Settled is a new charity who can offer advice and support to EU citizens who want to apply for Settled Status. Download their guidance and consent form here.

Following on from our email to CEOs asking if you could provide older European clients with information on the EU Settlement Scheme, we have been contacted by a new charity, called Settled, who can offer advice and support to EU citizens who want to apply for Settled Status. They have produced the leaflet below which explains more about this issue and contact details for how to get in touch with them.

PLEASE NOTE – the leaflet/consent form below is only for use by other third parties – local Age UK I&A advisers must not use this form to assist your clients or offer them advice with applying for Settled Status. This remains a regulated area of advice that you are not authorised to provide.

If you are in any doubt, contact the Age UK Email Enquiry Service on info.team@ageuk.org.uk or speak to your Information and Advice Development Officer.

Further guidance for advisors is also available here

Download the leaflet and consent form below: