Osborne announces VAT refunds for hospice charities | New rule on vulnerable donors | Power to ban trustees 'too broad'

Plus: Spike in donations on Giving Tuesday | Employee engagement down at the Charity Commission | Charities would raise more if society lottery regulations were relaxed, says report

George Osborne
George Osborne

VAT refunds for hospices, search and rescue and air ambulance charities, and changes to the investment limits for social investment tax relief were among the announcements made in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement this week. George Osborne also announced that the government will increase the amount an organisation can take under the social investment tax relief scheme to £5m a year, up to a lifetime maximum of £15m.

Fundraisers should not accept donations from people who appear unable to make a proper decision, according to a new rule in the Institute of Fundraising's Code of Fundraising Practice. The Fundraising Standards Board asked the IoF to consider including advice on vulnerable donors in the code after adjudication in April following a complaint against the veterinary charity PDSA, which had accepted several large donations from a woman with schizophrenia.

Proposals to give the Charity Commission the power to disqualify people it considers unfit from being charity trustees is too broad and needs external scrutiny, MPs and peers have heard. Representatives of a working party from the Charity Law Association told a hearing of the Joint Committee on the Draft Protection of Charities Bill, which has been set up to provide scrutiny of the bill before it goes before parliament, that they were in favour of the regulator having a discretionary power to disqualify people from being trustees. But they said that they had concerns about the conditions and the procedure for people being disqualified.

There was a sharp rise in charitable donations on Giving Tuesday, which took place this week, according to the Charities Aid Foundation. Although an exact figure has not yet been determined, the software provider Blackbaud reported that UK donations were up by 270 per cent compared with the same day last year and the online giving platform JustGiving said that total donations rose by 46 per cent on the same period.

Employee engagement levels at the Charity Commission have fallen over the past year, with particular declines in staff confidence in the regulator’s leadership and change-management capacity, according to this year’s Civil Service People Survey. The commission’s score declined in eight of the nine "drivers of engagement" areas measured in the survey, which asked commission staff to what extent they agreed with statements about such areas as their work, management, pay and wellbeing.

Charities would be able to raise more money for good causes and the National Lottery should not be affected negatively if the regulation of society lotteries was reduced, according to a new report commissioned by the People’s Postcode Lottery. The report, published by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, says there is significant potential for the PPL to expand the contributions it makes to good causes to as much as £130m a year – an increase of £120m – if regulations governing revenue and prize sizes are relaxed.

This is a selection of the top stories: for the week's full output, click here

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