Representative body NCVO has said that charities must continue to make "urgent" preparations for a no-deal Brexit and published new guidance.
NCVO’s renewed warning comes despite legislation attempting to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal passing into law this week.
On Monday, the European (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 received royal assent, requiring the government to ask the EU for an extension to its current withdrawal date of 31 October if it cannot pass a deal through Parliament before then.
However, NCVO has today warned that charities must continue to prepare for a no-deal exit as the UK could still leave without a deal either at the end of October or at a delayed exit date in January.
Ben Westerman, NCVO’s Brexit analyst, said: “A no-deal Brexit would be seriously disruptive for organisations of all kinds, and charities would have to deal with a range of consequences not only for them but more importantly for the causes they work on.
“Reviewing the potential impacts of Brexit for your organisation and your cause is an essential part of good governance. The consequences of a no-deal exit will be different for each charity, but we’ve tried to cover everything trustee boards need to be thinking about.
“It’s particularly important that you review what you need to do now, don’t simply take a ‘wait and see’ approach, as developments could happen very quickly.
“While on the face of it parliament has legislated to avoid a no-deal Brexit on 31 October, there is still some risk of a no-deal exit on that date given the need for agreement from the EU. In any case, the legislation only moves the deadline back 12 weeks, which means preparation is still urgent.”
New guidance for charities
The umbrella body has published new guidance for charities to prepare for a no-deal exit from the EU.
Its suggestions for charities include:
- Draw up a budget plan for the coming years based on best- and worst-case scenarios.
- Consider the impact a devalued pound might have on your operations, contracts and supplies.
- Consider where disruption to, or slowing of, supply chains might affect your operations, such as access to food or medicine.
- Take steps to support EU staff to gain residency.
- Ensure that the financial services provided to you – banking and insurance – are registered in the UK.
Last month, NCVO wrote to the minister for civil society Baroness Barran to request funding for charities to prepare for a no-deal exit.