OCS email warns charities about key Brexit issues

The OCS has sent a guide to subscribers to its email updates aimed at helping charities and their beneficiaries prepare for Brexit.

The email guide acknowledges that the situation for charities will vary depending on whether the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement (or some hypothetical variation thereof) is in place on 29 March this year, and confirms to the sector that the Government is “accelerating” no deal preparations.

It also provides an email address for recipients of its guidance to use if they have “any concerns or queries on EU exit”. It is certain, after yesterday’s votes in Parliament, that many in the sector will have a multitude of concerns and queries on EU exit. However, the OCS guide was sent on 31 January, and addresses the key issues at that point.

Data protection in a no deal situation

As we have noted previously, and as is stated in the OCS guide, if there is no deal, “the continued free flow of personal data between the EU and the UK is not automatic”.

The OCS guide directs readers to the government’s technical notice on data protection and the guidance for organisations on data protection published by the Information Commissioner’s Office for more information in this area.

The OCS states it has created an “Economic Data Protection taskforce” who would be happy to attend meetings with recipients of its email to assist with preparations.

Meanwhile, on our Brexit hub in relation to data protection, we have a summary of the implications of a no deal Brexit for data transfer across borders, and a free risk register, setting out key risks for data protection and how to mitigate them.

Rights of EU nationals in the UK

The OCS guidance highlights the need for EU nationals in the UK to apply for “settled status”, with the scheme already open to some, and being fully open by 30 March 2019…

It also states the deadline for applications will be 30 June 2021 unless there is a no deal Brexit, in which case the deadline for applications will be 31 December 2020.

Charities will no doubt have already noted that, earlier this year, the Prime Minister confirmed the £65 application fee for settled status would be scrapped.

On our sister blog hr law live, you can find a summary of the key points of the settled status scheme, and information on the effects of a no deal Brexit on workplace rights.

EU funding

The OCS guidance confirms that in the case of the Withdrawal Agreement being completed, under its terms UK charities’ right to participate in EU programmes during the current Multiannual Financial Framework period will be unaffected. and UK charities will be able to bid for funding, participate in and lead consortia, until programme closure in 2020.

The Government has previously guaranteed EU projects agreed before the Brexit exit date. The guidance refers charities to the technical notice on EU funded programmes for more information about the guarantee and funding for specific EU programmes.

For more on preparing for Brexit generally, head over to our Brexit hub.

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