New Charity Commission Guidance on Safeguarding

The Charity Commission has revised two safeguarding guidance documents. Find them both below along with some additional information on safeguarding policy and procedures.

Last week, the Charity Commission published two revised guidance documents to support charities and trustees to consider the actions they need to take to safeguard people and protect them from harm. Links to the two documents are below, along with a benchmarking template that you can use if you wish. There is also additional guidance on the role of a Caldicott Guardian as well as further information on safeguarding policy and procedures.

The two revised documents from the Charity Commission are:

We have taken the recommendations from this document and created the attached ‘benchmarking template’. Age UK has used this to consider where we are against the recommendations; identify priority actions; and reassure Trustees about our work in this area. You may want to use this template to complete a similar exercise for your organisation.

Caldicott Guardian Guidance

If you receive funding from the NHS, a Local Authority or other public body to deliver health, care or carer support programmes of work, you may need to appoint a Caldicott Guardian.

A Caldicott Guardian is the conscience of an organisation, their role is to keep people’s data safe and to help guide decision making in relation to the way private, confidential information about patients and service users is used.

The attached guidance below provides further information about which organisations must appoint a Caldicott Guardian, any organisation that the guidance applies to is encouraged to be compliant by 2023.

An e-learning module on the role of the Caldicott Guardian has been created and can be accessed via this link. You should be able to access this for free if you provide services on behalf of the NHS. Most Local Authorities will also provide training for Caldicott Guardians.

Safeguarding Policy and Procedures

Following a recent audit of some local partner safeguarding policies and procedures, it was found that some did not reflect best practice or most up-to-date legislation.

All policies and procedures should:

• Reflect the Care Act 2014 rather than No Secrets (2000), this includes the definitions and language within the documents. For example, the term ‘vulnerable adult’ should be replaced with the term ‘adult at risk’ and the definition of an adult at risk should be taken from the Care Act.
• Include all 10 types of abuse and neglect
• Make reference to making safeguarding personal and the importance of listening to the voice and opinion of the adult at risk.
• Refer to the local authority processes and procedures.
• Include information on safer recruitment or refer to related policies such as DBS and recruitment policies.
• Include information on how to support with wider issues as listed by the Charity Commission such as bullying and harassment or include links to specific policies on these themes.

The SCIE website has useful information or if you would like some assistance with reviewing and updating your policy and procedures, please contact me by emailing amy.mcleod@ageuk.org.uk.

Sources of Support for Local Partners – Latest Information

Age UK’s Quality & Transformation Team have shared an updated sources of support guide for Autumn/Winter 2021-22. Find out full details below.

As we face another challenging winter, the Quality and Transformation team wanted to remind local partners of the help and support that is still available to you. The team have updated the guide below which draws together a range of useful resources which can either be accessed directly (via this site, The Loop or through external organisations) or by contacting your Regional Link. Contact details for Regional Links are listed in the guide but if you have any questions, comments or concerns please email COVID-19EnquiryLine@ageuk.org.uk.

The full guide can be viewed or downloaded below:

November Workshops: Building a Long Term Remote-Hybrid Working Strategy

Find out all the details of the latest Manage Remote Teams webinars on Building a Long Term Remote-Hybrid Strategy.

Manage Remote Teams is an organisation that helps charities to successfully embrace remote and hybrid working patterns. Following the continued take up from the Age UK Network, they have added 2 new dates for November – Thursday 11th and Tuesday 23rd. Please click here to sign up or read on for further information.

Charities everywhere are making inspired changes to the way they work, and positive shifts are well underway. With the right protocols and remote ethos in place, charities can continue to deliver their valuable services without compromise. At the same time, employees can benefit from a much-needed positive work-life balance. Manage Remote Teams consider remote and hybrid working to be an appropriate modus operandi for the 21st century, both because of – and in light of – a global pandemic.

Manage Remote Teams believe that the time has now come to draw a line in the sand and create a clear and well thought through remote/hybrid people strategy which makes long term sense. Their workshops are for charities who wish to embrace bold and sustainable change for this exciting and new working paradigm.

You’ll come away with:

  • Clarity around the business case for a viable remote and hybrid people strategy.
  • Insights on how other companies overcome obstacles.
  • Information about maintaining high and improved productivity, motivation.
  • An understanding of the connection between flexibility and staff retention.
  • Tips for building trust and loyalty in dispersed workers.
Who should attend?

Those who wish to:

  • Understand how a long term remote/hybrid people strategy would benefit their charity.
  • Confirm they are already on the right path
  • Hear what other charities are planning
  • Have some additional guidance

To find out all the details including how to book your FREE place, please click here.

Free One-to-one Sessions

In addition, Dermot Dennehy, CEO of Manage Remote Teams, holds a free one-to-one session with one CEO from any charity across the UK once a week. Dermot has now opened this up to the Age UK Network and it is on a first come first serve basis. The only stipulation is that this must be your first Manage Remote Teams workshop.

If you wish to secure your place in August, simply email Dermot and he will agree a date with you: Dermot@clickonic.co

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.

September/October Manage Remote Teams workshops now open to volunteers too

Find out all the details of the latest Manage Remote Teams webinars, which are now open to volunteers at Age UK Partners.

Manage Remote Teams is an organisation that helps charities to embrace remote and hybrid working. Following the continued take up from Age UK partners for their recent workshops, they have added additional dates for September and October, including free places for volunteers of any Age UK partners who have had staff attended sessions to date (or plan to in future). To find out all the details, including how to book your free place at a workshop, please click here.

Charities everywhere are making inspired changes to the way they work, and positive shifts are well underway. With the right protocols and remote ethos in place, charities can continue to deliver their valuable services without compromise. At the same time, employees can benefit from a much-needed positive work-life balance. Manage Remote Teams consider remote and hybrid working to be an appropriate modus operandi for the 21st century, both because of – and in light of – a global pandemic.

Manage Remote Teams believe that the time has now come to draw a line in the sand and create a clear and well thought through remote/hybrid people strategy which makes long term sense. Their workshops are for charities who wish to embrace bold and sustainable change for this exciting and new working paradigm.

Who should attend?

Those who wish to:

  • Understand how a long term remote/hybrid people strategy would benefit their charity.
  • Confirm they are already on the right path
  • Hear what other charities are planning
  • Have some additional guidance

To find out all the details including how to book your FREE place, please download the brochure below:

Free One-to-one Sessions

In addition, Dermot Dennehy, CEO of Manage Remote Teams, holds a free one-to-one session with one CEO from any charity across the UK once a week. Dermot has now opened this up to the Age UK Network and it is on a first come first serve basis. The only stipulation is that this must be your first Manage Remote Teams workshop.

If you wish to secure your place, simply email Dermot and he will agree a date with you: Dermot@clickonic.co

September Workshops: Building a Long Term Remote-Hybrid Working Strategy

Find out all the details of the latest Manage Remote Teams webinars on Building a Long Term Remote-Hybrid Strategy.

Manage Remote Teams is an organisation that helps charities to successfully embrace remote and hybrid working patterns. Following the continued take up from Age UK partners for their August workshops, they have added 3 new dates for September. To find out all the details, including how to book your free place at a workshop this September, please click here to download a brochure or read on for further information.

Charities everywhere are making inspired changes to the way they work, and positive shifts are well underway. With the right protocols and remote ethos in place, charities can continue to deliver their valuable services without compromise. At the same time, employees can benefit from a much-needed positive work-life balance. Manage Remote Teams consider remote and hybrid working to be an appropriate modus operandi for the 21st century, both because of – and in light of – a global pandemic.

Manage Remote Teams believe that the time has now come to draw a line in the sand and create a clear and well thought through remote/hybrid people strategy which makes long term sense. Their workshops are for charities who wish to embrace bold and sustainable change for this exciting and new working paradigm.

Click here to view a brief video introduction to the FREE workshops in September by Dermot Dennehy, CEO

Who should attend?

Those who wish to:

  • Understand how a long term remote/hybrid people strategy would benefit their charity.
  • Confirm they are already on the right path
  • Hear what other charities are planning
  • Have some additional guidance

To find out all the details including how to book your FREE place, please download the brochure below:

Free One-to-one Sessions

In addition, Dermot Dennehy, CEO of Manage Remote Teams, holds a free one-to-one session with one CEO from any charity across the UK once a week. Dermot has now opened this up to the Age UK Network and it is on a first come first serve basis. The only stipulation is that this must be your first Manage Remote Teams workshop.

If you wish to secure your place in August, simply email Dermot and he will agree a date with you: Dermot@clickonic.co

New Charity Commission guidance on remote and hybrid trustee meetings

The Charity Commission has provided important new guidance on remote and hybrid meetings. Find out all the details below.

From the beginning of the pandemic, the Charity Commission has taken a proportionate approach to cases where trustees decided to hold online or hybrid meetings, even if it was not permitted by the charity’s governing document. The Commission is now urging charities without rules permitting meetings to be held remotely or on a hybrid basis, to update their governing documents and approve any previous decisions held contrary to their rules, as soon as possible. Find out more below.

What you can do

Your organisation may be keen to retain the option of meeting remotely – not only because of the risks related to Covid-19 but also because it’s worked well for you and saved time and money.

If you do not already have provision for this in your governing document:

  • The Age UK model governing documents include provision for holding trustee meetings electronically (e.g. Zoom, Skype). They do not currently include such a provision for members’ meetings or AGMs so we will prepare a clause that you can include and share this as soon as it’s ready.
  • If you do not use an Age UK model governing document but would like to see and include the relevant clause, it is worded as follows: “A meeting of the Charity Trustees may be held either in person or by suitable electronic means agreed by the Charity Trustees in which all participants may communicate with all the other participants”.
  • If you need to update your governing document and would like to use one of the Age UK model documents, please visit the loop here.

For more information of the Commission’s change of stance, please click here.

Finance Focus – Scenario planning for the next 12-18 months

Age UK’s Financial Governance Team have produced a useful article for CEOs and Boards on scenario planning for the next 12-18 months.

Age UK’s Quality & Transformation Team have been working on scenario planning for the coming winter and into the 2022-23 financial year, to ensure that they are ready for any unwelcome resurgence of Covid and/or challenges to current plans. As part of this work, the Financial Governance Team have produced a useful article on scenario planning for the next 12-18 months, including guidance from recent Finance Network Meetings and some sources of support for CEOs and Boards. The full article can be downloaded below:

Navigating Covid in Summer 2021 – Guidance to help in your role as an employer

The latest newsletter from Stephens Scown, who provide the Age UK HR Express service, offers guidance on how to handle employment-related issues in this latest phase of the pandemic.

We’ve had a number of enquiries about how to handle employment-related issues in this latest phase of the pandemic, with restrictions eased but the infection rate going up. This is a quick reminder that guidance is available below from Stephens Scown who provide the Age UK HR Express service.

Their July newsletter covers the issues of:

  • The new government return to work guidance;
  • Face masks;
  • Vulnerable and pregnant staff;
  • Hybrid working;
  • Self-isolation from 16 August;
  • NHS Covid Pass;
  • and the end of furlough

To read the article, please click here.

You can also find information on:

• Foreign Holidays & Quarantine Rules here.
• And Managing Employees During Covid Closures here.

If you have any specific questions or scenarios that you would like to discuss with them for specialist HR support and advice, please contact HR Express on tel: 03300 945314 or email: hre@stephens-scown.co.uk

Charity Commission Covid guidance for trustees following lockdown easing

The Charity Commission has released new Covid-19 guidance for trustees, including advice on holding AGMs and meetings.

The Charity Commission has released new Covid-19 guidance for trustees, as many remaining legal restrictions are eased in England and Wales. The regulator has said it wants to assure charities that during this period it “will continue to act proportionately in the public interest, whilst helping trustees to think about the wider or longer impact of their decisions on their charity”. Click here to view the guidance or read on for a summary.

This guidance states that trustees should think about “whether or not certain projects, spends or activities can be stopped or delayed in order to focus on essential spending if they are facing financial challenges at this time”. It adds advice on mergers and collaborative working, in light of some of the financial obstacles charities are facing.

Holding AGMs and meetings

The guidance says that charities can gradually move back to face-to-face meetings and hold any outstanding AGMs or other meetings. It notes that “coronavirus continues to have an impact on charity events and trustees may still need to consider how and if they can hold meetings”.

Charities should check if their governing document allows them to hold meetings online, by telephone or on a hybrid basis and consider if they use any power in a governing document to amend the rules to allow the meeting. 

Charities that are not able to hold virtual AGMs, and are not able to move face to face, may have to cancel.

“Trustees may consider that holding a virtual or hybrid AGM or other required meeting is not a viable solution. It may also not be possible for them to move immediately back to face-to-face meetings. In these circumstances, trustees may consider they have no choice but to cancel or postpone… If your governing document does not allow you to postpone or cancel meetings you should use any power in your governing document to amend the rules to ensure you can hold meetings in a valid format.”

Charity Commission Guidance

The regulator states that since the start of the pandemic “we have generally been understanding” if trustees have decided to hold meetings on a remote or hybrid basis or postpone or cancel a required meeting, where trustees can show that they have considered all relevant factors and possible alternatives.

It adds that the regulator will continue to take this approach “in the short term as restrictions are lifted,” provided that trustees “can show their decision is in the best interests of the charity having taken all the circumstances into account”. 

Nonetheless, it adds: “Others affected by those decisions may take a different approach, so you should take advice and fully understand the implications of any decisions you make.”

Regulator aims to bring filing extension to an end

Since April 2020 charities have been able to request an extension if they are unable to submit their accounts or annual return due to the pandemic. 

The Commission has since reviewed its approach to filing extensions “with a view to bringing this temporary measure to an end”. 

It has contacted all charities with a filing extension that was in place by 30 June 2021, and they will now need to meet their filing commitments by 30 September 2021.

Organisations with an imminent filing date that are unable to meet filing obligations for a Covid-19 related reason, can still apply for a new filing extension.

The regulator will allow a fixed three-month extension from the date of the application.