Charities need to be aware of the impact of Brexit and potentially make changes as a result. We work with a number of charities on their legal needs and have used our experience in this sector to put together a top 10 of things all charities should consider now that the UK has left the EU.
- Understand the needs of your specific charitable organisation
- Be prepared for any economic difficulty
- Consider the implications on your workforce and consider future employment needs
- Help your existing EU employees
- Research funding
- Consider the effect on legacy giving
- Be vocal and shape future opportunities
- Check your contracts
- Understanding the data you hold
- Appoint responsibility for Brexit maintenance/planning
1. Understand the needs of your specific charitable organisation
Consider the specific needs of your organisation in respect of the economy, spending, tax, skills, regulation and workforce. For some charities, Brexit will have more of an impact than others and the issues each organisation faces may be different depending on their specific circumstances and arrangements.
2. Be prepared for any economic difficulty
Consider how long it would take to put in place measures to make your organisation resilient against key changes coming out of the TCA, economic contraction and increased need. In preparation and to mitigate as much risk, review the contracts and relationships that are integral to your organisation’s work, and identify whether these are affected.
If relevant, identify any goods you or your suppliers source from the EU on a just-in-time basis and with consideration given to the new Rules of Origin, especially where disruption to, or slowing of, supply chains might affect your operations, such as access to (and the extra cost of getting) food or medicine.
3. Consider the implications on your workforce and consider future employment needs
Under current Tier 2 rules for non-EU nationals which will apply to EU nationals under current proposals, over 80% of EU nationals currently working in charities would be ineligible to work in the UK.
Although the 2019 Civil Society Almanac tells us that EU nationals make up only 4% of voluntary sector staff, the numbers are concentrated in particular areas such as social and residential care jobs. 87% of EU nationals currently employed in these areas will become ineligible under new proposals.
4. Help your existing EU employees
In combatting the above implications, think about how to guide your existing staff through the proposed settlement process for European citizens. It would be sensible to help your EU workers secure settled immigration status sooner rather than later.
5. Research funding
The loss of EU funding (estimated to be at least £258m per annum) could have devastating effects for charities and voluntary organisations. Even if your organisation receives no direct funds from the EU, there may be an indirect impact, so it is wise to investigate these areas. There are a number of indirect risks, such as will there be a change in local authority funding? Will businesses change their level of support to charities due to funding shortages?
6. Consider the effect on legacy giving
Gifts in wills are a vital and much-valued source of income for British charities. Despite the Brexit deal, both house and share prices are expected to fall sharply, dragging down legacy values in their wake. Whilst this may be beyond your control, focus on what you can control, concentrating on influencing and inspiring future generations of legacy donors.
7. Be vocal and shape future opportunities
There is a view that our departure from the EU creates a new landscape of opportunity.
Charitable organisation should be vocal about their needs and ambitions for the charity sector in the future. If there is to be any positive change for charities following Brexit, this will require great levels of discussion to ensure any opportunities can be factored into plans for new UK-specific laws.
8. Check your contracts
Obtain advice to understand the details of the TCA and identify any potential risks within your contacts.
9. Understanding the data you hold
Make sure you know where you’re sending your personal data and where it is coming from. Even if you don’t have an overseas arm, your suppliers may mean that you are exporting your personal data.
If, for example, you hold your data in the cloud or you have an IT provider who provides “follow the sun” support then you should understand what that means for your personal data and where it is hosted or where the support is provided from to make sure it is compliant.
At the moment, if your personal data is going from the UK to the EEA then it’s business as usual even after the end of the Brexit transition period, although the Government has said that it could look at this again in the future.
If the personal data is moving from the EEA to the UK – this happens, for example, if it is hosted in the EEA and you access it in the UK - then the Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement provides for business as usual for the next 4-6 months. After that it is hoped that the UK will have an adequacy finding from the EU Commission and personal data can continue to be sent from the EEA to the UK or accessed from the UK. If adequacy is not given then additional safeguards will need to be applied to the personal data.
10. Appoint responsibility for Brexit maintenance/planning
The changing landscape is still largely unpredictable and is currently changing almost daily. If you have not done so already, be sure to appoint an individual or group of individuals who are responsible for monitoring changes and/or opportunities in the landscape.
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