Can a Charity use its restricted funds for its general funding in the current circumstances?
Many charities have money that are considered restricted funds which are given to the charity or raised for a specific purpose. The Charity Commission gives guidance on this, please see the link below. Depending on the circumstances in which these monies have been given to a charity or raised you may or may not be able to use them.
Monies raised in an appeal or specific fund raising campaign are unlikely to be available as it is likely to be impossible to get the permission of the donor to change the use. If however you have had monies donated for a specific purpose and you can identify the donor you can use these funds for general overheads and to pay wages etc. if you receive the donor’s specific permission to do so.
You cannot include the following payments in a claim:
- Discretionary bonus or commission payments
- Non-cash payments
- Non-monetary benefits including taxable benefits in kind
- Salary sacrifice benefits that reduce an employee’s pay (however HMRC has agreed that such arrangements can be stopped by agreement if due to COVID-19 and the contract is changed)
The updated guidance has confirmed that all of the grant claimed should be paid to the employee in the form of money and that none of the grant is to the used to pay for the provision of benefits or a salary sacrifice scheme.
Transparency is considered to be central to the philosophy of the COP. The guidance provides details on issues concerning transparency of proceedings and involvement/attendance of P. Whilst there will be some difficulties with ensuring that remote hearings are accessible to the public as an ‘open court’, provisions have been made for the continued presence of the press where the facilities can accommodate this.
Again, the primary point must be that an open dialogue is held with that individual to understand their concerns and to properly consider the impact that not wearing PPE will have on their abilities to undertake their duties. Consideration must be given as to whether there are any parts of their duties that they can undertake and whether they can remain in their role. Engage with the individual to ensure that you understand their point of view. What other duties can they do if they cannot do fulfil all the duties of their role?
The Government acknowledges that there may need to be some flexibility to enable developers to meet any existing s106 obligations, in particular financial contributions, during the current health crisis and in recent guidance it encourages Councils “to consider whether it would be appropriate to allow the developer to defer delivery”. However, the Government considers that the existing arrangements for varying a section 106 agreement by way of a deed are sufficient and will not be legislating for any additional temporary mechanisms.
In the absence of any formal variation, the Government does however advise Councils to take a “pragmatic and proportionate approach” to enforcement of planning obligations at the current time.
The Government’s advice does not refer to concerns over the quantum of any planning obligations but is concerned only with the timing for delivery. However, the viability behind many sites is likely to change as a result of temporary site closures, or the availability of construction materials and labour once sites can re-open. Where there is already a s106 agreement in place, a developer may wish to renegotiate their position on the basis that certain planning obligations are no longer affordable.
Where a s106 agreement was entered into longer than 5 years ago, an application can be made to the Council to formally vary a planning obligation that is now “without purpose”. Any refusals can be appealed to the Secretary of State.
Where a s106 agreement was entered into within the last 5 years, the agreement can only be modified with the agreement of the Council. The ability to renegotiate a s106 agreement will therefore come down to the willingness of the Council to accept the revised viability position. Where Councils are willing to consider this, a robust viability assessment agreed with the Council is likely to be needed.
The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) issued guidance mid-April confirming that you can move to a friend’s address for several days to “cool off” following an argument at home. You should strongly consider either yourself or your spouse moving elsewhere where children are involved as it prevents the children from witnessing conflict within the home, at what is already an emotionally charged time for them. Nevertheless, you should also consider and take legal advice on the financial implications of either of you or your partner moving out and how contact with the children is going to be promoted with both parents, if suitable. The Government Guidance has confirmed that children can be moved between households if they have separated parents.
It is still possible to issue Divorce proceedings and much of the process has now been taken online. The main divorce suit is dealt with separately to the separation of financial assets and children arrangements, which can often take much longer to review and discuss. While staff shortages may mean slower turn-around times there is no reason to suspect that a divorce will not otherwise go ahead as anticipated. Once coronavirus has passed, it is likely that divorce rates will spike and there will be an increased demand on the Court system, so your divorce process may take longer if you delay filing your divorce.
It is also still possible to issue Court Applications regarding any financial settlements or children arrangements, however, the Court system was already under significant pressure before coronavirus, so the pandemic will only add to that and we expect Court processes to significantly be slower in those areas.
Court Applications should in any event be used as a last resort and there are alternative dispute resolution processes available which you should consider, including Arbitration and Mediation. Family lawyers are continuing to advise and assist individuals, manage their separations and can provide information about the options available, using alternative methods of communication such as Teams, Skype or Zoom for clients. Understandably, speaking aloud may be difficult in circumstances where you are not able to get any private time away from your spouse due to you being in lockdown and so email correspondence may be the most appropriate method of communication.