The Office for Civil Society has published a guide to help charities prepare for the UK’s departure from the European Union, including the possibility of leaving without a deal.
In an email to subscribers, the OCS tells charities to consider how Brexit will affect data protection, the rights of EU nationals, and changes to EU funding.
The guide says the government’s “top priority” is to deliver the deal negotiated with the EU but said it is also “accelerating” no-deal preparations.
The OCS says a no-deal Brexit would mean the continued free flow of personal data between the EU and the UK would no longer be automatic.
It recommends that charities review whether they would be affected by this and that they should review the government’s technical notice on data protection as well as the Information Commissioner’s Office’s guidance for organisations on data protection.
The email says: “We are keen to understand how prepared civil society organisations are for the implications on data protection in a no deal scenario and what more government can do to support the sector.
“DCMS has established an economic data protection taskforce who would be happy to attend meetings with you and your members to assist with your preparations.”
The notice says EU citizens will be able to apply for “settled status” in the UK, enabling them to continue to work and reside in Britain.
It says this scheme is open to some EU citizens and their family members now but it will open fully by 30 March with a deadline for applying by 13 June 2021 with a deal or 31 December 2020 without a deal.
Earlier this month, prime minister Theresa May announced that the government would scrap the £65 fee it had previously said each application would cost.
The notice says that if the UK leaves with a deal, organisations will be able to bid for EU funding until programme closure in 2020.
In the event of no-deal, it says the government will guarantee EU projects agreed before the UK leaves the EU.
It urges organisations to look at the government’s technical notice on EU funded programmes for more information.
The notice also tells charities with any queries to contact [email protected].
Meanwhile the Charity Finance Group has published the results of a survey of its members which found that more than a third have not prepared at all for a no-deal Brexit.
CFG survey 52 charity professionals, the vast majority of which had either a partial understanding or no understanding about what a no-deal outcome would mean for their charity.
More than four-fifths of charities said they had made little or no preparation for a no-deal Brexit.
Most respondents said their greatest concern about a no-deal Brexit was the lack of certainty about what actions they should take.
Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of CFG said: “It is not surprising, but is worrying, that charities are ill-prepared for a no-deal exit – the level of uncertainty has made organisational planning in this respect incredibly difficult.
“This level of unprecedented uncertainty, volatility and predicted economic disruption coupled with the non-tariff considerations, from workers’ rights to regulatory complexity, present too great a risk to the UK and thus to civil society.
“So we call on all parties to prioritise the most vulnerable in our society, and do everything within their power to prevent a no-deal Brexit.”