Data Developments UK Ltd

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Data Developments UK Ltd's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Data Developments UK Ltd is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Stephen Hendy, managing
Contactless giving for
churches and charities
Winston Churchill once said that “we make a living
by what we get, but we make a life by what we
give”. Charities and churches form a part of life,
from fundraising for Children in Need to being a place for the
community to respond to a disaster or for personal instances
of giving. Each depends on public generosity and efficient
administration. Data Developments, a Midlands-based company,
was founded in 1985 to assist a local charity. The needs of small
to medium charities and churches drive its software development.
In a society which is becoming increasingly cashless, online and
contactless donations offer new opportunities and challenges
for the third sector. Stephen Hendy, managing director of
Data Developments, provides an insight into how its software
responds to charities’ needs in a changing society.
Imagine going to a restaurant and having to pay by cash, or having to keep a
selection of coins for car parking. It’s almost unthinkable. Yet, just a few years ago,
this was normal. So what would happen to a church or charity if they could only
accept cash donations?
Digital and contactless giving
Digital and contactless giving captures spontaneous generosity, but charities need
technology to benefit. MyGiving.Online, our online donations platform, enables
people to give using a “donate now” button on the charity’s website, QR codes
or through our mobile app. The software allows donors to manage their own
giving, update personal details, make donations or produce a personal-giving tax
»Managing director:
»Established in 1985
»Based in Wolverhampton
»Services: Finance, donations
and membership software for
churches and charities
»No. of employees: 15
»Used by over 8,500 charities
and churches
»Innovative solutions including
integrating contactless
terminal donations into our
Data Developments
statement, and the charity records are
automatically updated. The Gift Aid
and Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme
(GASDS) claims are sent directly to
HMRC, and record keeping, reporting
and audit trails are all amended.
Charities and churches ready to
embrace the digital world can use
our contactless terminals. These can
be located either in or outside the
organisation. People can “tap and go”
on the terminal – it is fast, secure and
also provides the option to gift-aid the
donation. The information goes directly
into MyGiving.Online and, if gift-aided,
is immediately claimable. People can
donate quickly and easily even if they
do not have any cash on them.
Digital and contactless giving saves
both charities and churches time and
work. This method avoids the need to
count the cash, complete paying slips
and pay into a decreasing number of
high street banks. Using MyGiving.
Online along with our finance platform
MyFundAccounting.Online, donations
go straight into both systems. Their
donor and financial records are
updated immediately, meaning the
process is less time-consuming and
more secure. Each platform allows the
administrators to access the software
from multiple locations, and limit
access to the registered users.
Financial management
The income of charities and churches is
given based on the trust that it will be
used to further the stated aims of the
organisation. Whether using browser
or desktop software, the crucial issue
is continual trust in the integrity of
the process. The charity sector overall
manages huge financial resources and
often works with personal data. To
ensure this, the public’s trust regulations
have increased significantly, and include:
»Financial management from the
Charity Commission and the Office
of the Scottish Charity Regulator
»Donations and Gift Aid from HMRC
»Data protection from the Information
Commissioner’s Office
Given the range of this legislation, it is
understandable that people working
in the sector, often voluntarily, can
feel overwhelmed. To meet these
challenges, we concentrated on four
areas: finance, giving, membership,
and training and support.
We are dedicated to helping people do
the best job possible for their charities
and churches. We do this by listening
to people in the sector, and designing
software to make compliance easier.
The range of personal volunteering
experience within Data Developments
helps us greatly. As new technologies
become available and regulations
change, the challenge is to maintain
compliant software and still offer the
benefits of the digital world.
Our programs and how they
Finance: Our finance software, Finance
Co-ordinator and MyFundAccounting.
Online, promotes ease-of-use account
structures that enable the treasurers
to start quickly and easily. We include
“assistants” that guide the user step
by step through the more involved
Data Developments
GDPR conference, 2018
Charities and
ready to
embrace the
digital world
can use our
Highlighting best practice
transactions such as bank transfers
and loans. These also provide more
accessible language, using “money
in” and “money out” rather than
debits and credits. Funds are managed
without the need for multiple bank
accounts. All reports are real-time,
including traditional accounting
reports, SORP-compliant reports with a
financial input to the trustees’ annual
report and a wide range of analysis.
Giving: Our aim is to broaden
the range of donations received
without adding to the workload of
the organisation. MyGiving.Online
software imports donations from
bank statements and other files to
minimise the data entry and keep
it as automated as possible. Our
donations system automatically
checks that donors and donations
meet HMRC requirements. It submits
claims directly to HMRC online,
expediting tax recovery and improving
cashflow. Thank-you letters are key to
maintaining relationships with donors,
and these can be produced from
Membership: Maintaining data
protection and security is vital at any
time in any industry, but is especially so
when working with vulnerable people.
Our system maintains personal records
securely with encrypted notes where
appropriate, and provides options to
limit information shown on reports.
Skills, groups and visits can be recorded
together with facilities to provide
dynamic analysis of the information.
It also has options to record consent
and produce full information reports to
individuals if requested.
Training: Showing, rather than telling,
people through simple explanations
and points of best practice helps
to accelerate the learning curve.
Course notes are provided to keep
the training in-house. Our courses
take place around the country and
provide opportunities for charities and
churches to share, even prompting
collaborative projects. As with our
training, the support we offer is
friendly and professional – people feel
safe asking anything.
We started locally and spread first
through word of mouth. Local, then
national, exhibitions helped us to
engage with more varied charities.
Solutions requested by our users lead
us to work with umbrella organisations
and sector experts including
dioceses and national accountants.
Consequently, we developed varied
compliant account structures and
reports which gave users an easy
start. Sharing encouraged the flow of
At crucial points, such as the
introduction of Gift Aid or, more
recently, digital giving and the
General Data Protection Regulation,
we felt we could support by offering
conferences with expert speakers.
The family atmosphere we fostered in
the company has spread to our users,
and in 2015 we hosted a free 30th-
anniversary celebration conference and
lunch. It is at these times in particular
that we are able to encourage best
practice and collaboration.
We started
locally and
spread first
through word
of mouth
MyGiving.Online – Data
Developments’ online
donations platform

This article was sponsored by Data Developments UK Ltd. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy