National Insurance

NI Card PictureYou pay mandatory National Insurance if you’re 16 or over and are either:

  • an employee earning above £184 a week
  • self-employed and making a profit of £6,515 or more a year

The amount of National Insurance you pay depends on your employment status and how much you earn.

If you’re employed

You pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions. The rates for most people for the 2021 to 2022 tax year are:

Your pay Class 1 National Insurance rate
£184 to £967 a week (£797 to £4,189 a month) 12%
Over £967 a week (£4,189 a month) 2%

National Insurance increase from April 2022

From 6 April 2022 to 5 April 2023 National Insurance contributions will increase by 1.25%. This will be spent on the NHS and social care in the UK.

The increase will apply to:

  • Class 1 (paid by employees)
  • Class 4 (paid by self-employed)
  • secondary Class 1, 1A and 1B (paid by employers)

The increase will not apply if you are over the State Pension age.

You can find more details here

Annual Leave

annual leaveThe DCAS office will be closed for annual leave from Monday 6th September, and will reopen on Monday 13th September

Many thanks to all the groups who have used our service, some for over 25 years, and continue to do so!!

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Managing redundancy for pregnant employees or those on maternity leave

pram-jpegThe beginning of pregnancy to the end of maternity leave is a ‘protected period’ during which a woman is entitled to special consideration if this is necessary to make good any disadvantage she may otherwise experience

The law makes it clear that: 

  • During the protected period, unfavourable treatment of a woman because she is pregnant or on maternity leave is unlawful. This means a woman doesn’t have to compare her treatment with anyone else to show direct pregnancy and maternity discrimination
  • A woman on maternity leave has the right to return to the same job before she left; an interim employee cannot be given her job even if you think the person is a better employee.
  • Selecting a woman for redundancy because of her pregnancy, maternity leave or a related reason is automatically unfair dismissal as well as being unlawful discrimination.
  • Failure to consult a woman on maternity leave about possible redundancy is likely to be unlawful discrimination.
  • A woman made redundant while on maternity leave must be offered any suitable alternative vacancy if you have one. She doesn’t need to apply for it.
  • Special provision for a woman in connection with pregnancy or childbirth is not sex discrimination against a man provided that the action you take does not go beyond what is necessary to rectify her disadvantage.

If you are reorganising and/or need to make employees redundant and this includes someone who is pregnant or on maternity leave, you need to:
· Check the redundancy is genuine and necessary
· Ensure you consult and keep in touch
· Establish non-discriminatory selection criteria
· Consider alternative work.

The full guidance from ACAS can be found here

Watch out for CEO/BEC fraud


CEO fraud, also known as Business Email Compromise (BEC), is a type of fraud that is enabled via social engineering. Social engineering is the manipulation of situations and people that results in the targeted individuals divulging confidential information.

CEO fraud involves the impersonation of a senior figure (usually the Chief Executive Officer) with subsequent requests for transfers of funds.

How does CEO fraud happen? 

CEO fraud is a request, often made via email, purporting to come from a senior person in the company, normally to the finance officer, requesting an urgent payment. 

The request may outline that the transaction is confidential and sensitive in order to discourage further verification. The fraudster may pick occasions when the real CEO is out of the office, or on holiday, preventing the financial officer from checking the validity of the request.

How can I help to prevent CEO fraud? A checklist: 

  • Any payment requests with new or amended bank details received by email, letter or phone should be independently verified. This includes internal emails from senior management that contain payment requests. Fraudsters can spoof email addresses to make them appear to be from a genuine contact, including someone from your own organisation.
  • Don’t be pressured by urgent requests, even if they appear to originate from someone senior – remember this is a common tactic adopted by fraudsters.
  • Be cautious of how much information you reveal about your company and key officials via social media platforms and out-of-office automatic replies.
  • Consider removing information such as testimonials from your own or your suppliers’ websites or social media channels that could lead fraudsters to knowing who your suppliers are.
  • Regularly conduct audits on your accounts
  • Make all staff aware of this type of fraud, particularly those that make payments.  
  • Ensure warning messages are understood and that appropriate checks, actions and processes are followed to ensure requests are genuine.
  • Sensitive information you post publicly, or dispose of incorrectly, can be used by fraudsters to perpetrate fraud against you. The more information they have about you, the more convincingly they can purport to be one of your legitimate suppliers or employees. Always shred confidential documents before throwing them away
 What to do if you suspect you’ve fallen victim to impersonation fraud 
  • If you believe you’ve fallen victim to a CEO fraud attack, contact your bank immediately. They will try to recover the money from the fraudster’s bank account. The quicker you alert your bank, the greater the chance of recovering the funds. 
  • Report it to ActionFraud – the police’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre. Even if you’ve not suffered any financial loss, this will allow the police to analyse trends and help them to prevent fraudsters exploiting other companies. You can file a report via their website at
  • Charities affected by fraud should also report it to the Charity Commission as a serious incident.
  • Where appropriate, the Charity Commission can also provide timely advice and guidance.

Fit Note

The fit note – the basics

Fit NoteGeneral rules of the fit note

People can only be given a fit note if their doctor considers their fitness for work is impaired.  If someone is fit for work, they will not be given a fit note.

Doctors cannot issue fit notes during the first 7 calendar days of sickness absence. Employees can self-certify for this time, visit Employee’s statement of sickness to claim Statutory Sick Pay for a template form.  If your organisation requires medical evidence for the first 7 days of sickness absence, it is your responsibility to arrange and pay for this.

Fit notes can be handwritten or printed, but must always be signed by a doctor. If they are printed, you can scan the barcode using a 2D matrix scanner so that you can add it to your sickness records.  It also confirms that the fit note is genuine.

If a GP has issued a fit note, it should include the address of the practice.  If a hospital doctor has issued the fit note, you may also receive a yellow Med 10 form stating the time your employee has spent as a hospital inpatient.

5 things to do if you’re given a fit note BY AN EMPLOYEE

  1. Check whether your employee’s doctor has assessed that they are not fit for work, or may be fit for work.
  2. Check how long your employee’s fit note applies for, and whether they are expected to be fit for work when their fit note expires.
  3. If your employee may be fit for work, discuss their fit note with them and see if you can agree any changes to help them come back to work while it lasts.
  4. If your employee is not fit for work, or if they may be fit for work but you can’t agree any changes, use the fit note as evidence for your sick pay procedures.
  5. Consider taking a copy of the fit note for your records (your employee should keep the original).

More details of Fit Notes can be found here

Tax Codes

taxcodesYour tax code is used by your employer or pension provider to work out how much Income Tax to take from your pay or pension. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will tell them which code to use.

Find your tax code

Use the check your Income Tax online service within your Personal Tax Account to find your tax code for the current year. You can also view your tax code for:

  • a previous tax year
  • the next tax year

You’ll be asked to sign in with Government Gateway or create an account if you do not already have one.

Once signed in, you can also see:

  • if your tax code has changed
  • how much tax you’re likely to pay

You can also find your tax code on your payslip or tax code letter from HMRC.

If you think your tax code is wrong

If you think your tax code is wrong, you can update your employment details using the check your Income Tax online service.

You can also tell HMRC about a change in income that may have affected your tax code.

Why your tax code might change

HMRC may update your tax code if:

You may also be put on an emergency tax code if you change jobs.

How To Convert a Community Interest Company to a CIO

Charity Commission LogoIf you are a Community Interest Company (CIC) you can apply to the Charity Commission to convert directly to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).

Step 1: Prepare a conversion resolution

The directors of the CIC will need to produce a conversion resolution which confirms that the members of the CIC wish to convert the CIC into a CIO under the Charitable Incorporated Organisations (Conversion) Regulations which came into force on 1 September 2018.

Step 2: Adopt Charity Commission model CIO constitution

Adopt and complete one of the model CIO constitutions found here

Replace ‘CIC’ with ‘CIO’ in the name to reflect that the organisation has converted.

Section 8 of the model CIO constitution covers if members would be liable to contribute to the assets of the CIO if it is wound up.

If the amount each member would be liable for is more than £10, you must select option 2 to confirm:

  • the CIO’s members will be liable to contribute to its assets if it is wound up
  • the amount up to which they will be liable for

The amount you enter in section 2(i) must not be less than the amount up to which the CIC’s members were liable to contribute to the assets of the CIC if it were wound up.

If the amount each member of the CIC is liable to contribute to its assets if it winds up is £10 or less, you can select option 1.

Step 3: Prepare a resolution adopting the CIO constitution

Prepare a resolution adopting the proposed constitution of the CIO. The resolution must confirm that the members of the CIC have adopted the proposed constitution of the CIO.

Step 4: Apply for charitable status

To apply for charitable status as a CIO, you will need to apply to register as a charity and also submit:

  • the resolution of conversion of the CIC to a CIO
  • the proposed constitution of the CIO
  • the resolution of the CIC adopting the proposed constitution of the CIO
  • a completed Trustee Declaration Form

In the ‘Special Circumstances’ section of your application, write that you are a CIC wishing to apply for charitable status as a CIO. Tell us the name of the CIC.

More help can be found here

After you have applied

The Charity Commission will check that you can register as a charity.

If you can they will give Companies House what they need to confirm to the Regulator of Community Interest Companies that you wish to convert your CIC to a CIO.

Once approved, Companies House will cancel the registration of the CIC and the Charity Commission will then register the CIO as a charity and let the trustees know.

Developing A Reserves Policy

Charity ReservesThe following 3 questions are designed to help guide trustees of smaller charities through the issues that need to be considered when developing their reserves policy.

Question 1. Why might you need reserves for the charity to be effective?

The basis of a good reserves policy is thinking through exactly why you might need to hold back some funds as reserves.  If you conclude that your charity does not need to hold any reserves, then you must explain that in your annual report.

Question 2. How much do you need in reserve?

The reserves level may be a target amount or a target range.  Any financial risks you identify should influence the amount of reserves you target to hold and be explained in your reserves policy.

Question 3. Have you got any funds in reserve at the end of the year?

The final step is to compare what you might need in reserve with what you actually hold.  Where the difference is small, no action may be needed.

Information about the reserves policy and the level of reserves held must be included in the trustees’ annual report.

More detailed information and advice can be found here in Annex 1

From The Charity Commission: How We Identify Risks

Charity Commission LogoTo achieve our purpose and fulfil our statutory functions, we are risk-led in our regulation, which means:

  • being proactive in identifying risks and intervening, where possible, to prevent harm before it occurs
  • addressing harm effectively where it occurs
  • focusing our resources effectively on the highest risks

How we identify risks

We identify risks from a wide range of sources including, but not limited to:

  • information charities include in their annual return and accounts
  • serious incident reports from trustees
  • reporting by auditors and independent examiners
  • reports of serious wrongdoing in charities from employees and volunteers, including whistleblowing
  • complaints from the public or public sources
  • our engagement with charities
  • our work with other bodies, departments and agencies
  • concerns raised in the media and by members of parliament

We place an emphasis on being proactive and identifying risks as soon as possible. To achieve this we:

  • identify trends to get a better understanding of the evolving threats and risks to the ability of charity to thrive and inspire trust and confidence
  • analyse the data, information and knowledge that we gather from the sources mentioned above
  • use our awareness of changes to the environment in which charities are operating and the main challenges facing the charity sector

How we respond to risks

Our approach is underlined by our general functions as set out above, which include:

  • determining whether institutions are charities
  • encouraging and facilitating the better administration of charities
  • identifying and investigating apparent misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of charities and taking corresponding remedial or protective action

We will prioritise our casework resources towards addressing the highest risks, those which have the potential to cause the highest level of harm to public trust and confidence, or which may affect trustees’ ability to comply with their duties.

The level and nature of some risks will be such that it would not be proportionate to use our resources to undertake direct regulatory action or engagement with the charity. However, this does not mean that we do not want to be notified of these risks. Whilst we may not take regulatory action, we may still contact a charity’s trustees to alert them to the concerns raised with us. We may keep such information in our records and reassess our response if further information comes to light. We will also use the information to inform our wider understanding of risks. This may result in actions that deal with risk in a thematic way, for example publishing a report of our overall findings or issuing a regulatory alert to all or a relevant category of charities.

There will be some limited cases where the level and nature of risk identified means that another regulator or agency is better placed to respond, for example serious criminal matters. In such cases, we will work with the other regulator or agency to ensure the appropriate response.

An increased level of Commission involvement with a charity or on an issue does not necessarily mean that something has already gone wrong. It may simply mean that a risk requires a greater regulatory involvement or scrutiny.

Since the nature and level of a risk may change during the course of a particular case, we may need to periodically review our response.

You can read more here