HE Shared Legal – until recently, a HEFCE-funded pilot project – has made a successful application for a portion of the grant funding offered by HEFCE last year in relation to VAT cost sharing group projects.
As a result, the service has been awarded the sum of £48,000, which will be paid in two tranches, in May 2014 and March 2015. This funding will be used primarily to enable the service to obtain external, specialist advice in connection with the technical legal, tax and accounting aspects of the proposed conversion of the HE Shard Legal service from a trading arm of the University of Strathclyde into an independent VAT cost sharing group (CSG). Issues to be addressed include the following:
- Design of a robust system for the assessment and monitoring of adherence to the exemption requirements
- Establishment of a suitable methodology for the re-charging of costs
- Any required clearance of these arrangements with HMRC
- Drafting, adjustment and completion of a flexible ‘members’ agreement’ and other constitutional documents
- Creation of appropriate governance, management and reporting systems and policies
The service is also seeking HEFCE approval to allow a portion of the funds to be applied towards service salary costs, in recognition of the work that will be undertaken internally with the conversion project.
This award represents excellent news for HE Shared Legal, and will provide benefit in a number of different respects, including:
- Access to specialist advice
- Assurance for CSG participants
- Favourable publicity
- Possible salary costs contribution
In particular, the award will assist the service to achieve the transition to CSG status, which is scheduled for 1 May 2015. This conversion project will represent a major element of the work of the service over the next twelve months. It is anticipated that much of the experience gained will be able to be ‘recycled’ for the benefit of our individual subscribers, as required. The award also carries an obligation to share our experience with the HE community at large.
The application was kindly supported by five ‘sponsoring’ subscriber institutions, to which the service is most grateful.