Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 20 April 2017

General Election 2017

Charities, Social Enterprise

Despite speculation, Theresa May’s announcement of a General Election to be held on 8 June took most of the country by surprise. Simon Steeden, partner in BWB’s Charity and Social Enterprise Department, said “Despite speculation, the election announcement came as a surprise.  Many charities and campaigning organisations will be wondering how to engage with the campaign, and what heightened regulation in the run-up to the election will mean for their existing plans.”  Click here to view an article written by Simon on the snap General Election.   

We are hosting a seminar on Tuesday 25 April to explore these issues, and would welcome anyone currently grappling with them to attend.

At a glance

The Charity Commission, OSCR and CCNI have published “enhanced joint guidance” for auditors and independent examiners.

The Institute of Fundraising has launched “Good Asking”, a report on why charities research and process supporter information.

The Department for Education has approved applications for 131 new free schools.

The House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee has published its latest report on adult social care.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has launched a consultation on which derogations (exemptions) within the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) should be applied in the UK.

Charity Commission

The Charity Commission, OSCR and CCNI have published “enhanced joint guidance” setting out what auditors and independent examiners must report. The revised list of matters of material significance is intended to assist auditors and independent examiners in meeting their reporting requirements to the charity regulators.  The new guidance adds 2 new areas for reporting:

  • If an auditor has concerns regarding a charity’s accounts and issues a modified audit opinion report or qualified independent examiner’s report. 
  • Where an auditor has concerns that conflicts of interests or related party transactions have not been properly managed or declared.

Accounting and audit

See under Charity Commission above.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland have published TECH 02/17, which provides updated guidance on realised and distributable profits under the Companies Act 2006 and all relevant statutory instruments made under the CA 2006. Its purpose is to identify, interpret and apply the principles relating to the determination of realised profits and losses for the purposes of making distributions under the CA 2006. See here for a comparison with the previous version.


New Philanthropy Capital has published “a provocation about how government should develop if we want to put civil society at the heart of our thinking”.


Charity sector implications

The following report published last week by the Charities Aid Foundation concludes that Brexit has had no effect on donations to charities, but more people are getting involved with volunteering and campaigning.

  • UK Giving 2017 says British people donated £9.7m in 2016, compared with £9.6m in 2015.
  • It says 17 per cent of adults aged over 16 had volunteered in the previous 12 months, compared with 13 per cent a year earlier.
  • According to the report, 56 per cent said they had signed a petition in the previous 12 months and 6 per cent said they had taken part in a demonstration or protest, which is the equivalent of three million people. The respective figures for the previous year were 21 per cent and 3 per cent.


The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants has issued a new post-Brexit Immigration policy paper, highlighting six areas for reform to ensure that the UK remains open, welcoming and fair to both EEA and non-EEA migrants coming here in the future.


The Institute of Fundraising (IoF) has launched Good Asking – a report on why charities research and process supporter information. The IoF have been working with leading academic Beth Breeze from the University of Kent, to survey over 300 fundraisers to understand why they process and research information about their supporters, and what the benefits are for donors, charities and the wider public.

Social finance

Good Finance, a website and collaborative project to help charities and social enterprises navigate social investment, has launched after a year of research and co-design with the sector.  See here for a press release about the launch. 

David Floyd of Social Spider has published this report Social Impact Bonds An Overview of the Global Market for Commissionersand Policymakers

Bank of England Governor addresses development of FinTech

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has delivered a speech on the steps being taken to develop infrastructure for FinTech. FinTech – short for financial technology – includes innovations such as electronic payment systems, crowdfunding and automated financial advice. The speech covers topics including the Bank’s start-up unit, how to assess consumer risk, and striking the balance between innovation and the safety of the financial system as a whole. It can be accessed here.

FCA speech on the future of Project Innovate

The FCA’s Executive Director of Strategy and Competition, Christopher Woolard, has delivered a speech on the next phase of Project Innovate. Project Innovative is a regulatory initiative designed to lower barriers to innovative financial technologies and services while protecting consumer interests. In his speech, Mr Woolard reports that the number of firms participating in the programme has expanded, and provides updates on work to support providers of automated financial advice, and innovative companies outside London. It can be accessed here



As you may have seen, the Supreme Court has held that a child of compulsory school age fails to attend regularly if they do not comply with the rules prescribed by the school – Isle of Wight Council v Platt [2017] UKSC 28 (6 April 2017)

The Department for Education has approved applications for 131 new free schools, creating more than 69,000 places. These schools will be led by high-performing institutions, including a grammar-school-led multi-academy trust (MAT) and the largest state boarding school in the country. 


The House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee has published its latest report on adult social care.   In March 2017 the committee published a pre-budget report describing the “serious consequences” of the financial pressures on adult social care. This final report analyses the evidence that the committee received during the course of its inquiry and describes the impact of funding pressures on councils’ ability to meet their statutory duties under the Care Act 2014, and the threat that is posed to the viability of the care provider market.  The report makes several recommendations as to how the funding, structural and other difficulties affecting the social care system should be addressed, and what should happen to ensure that social care is funded sustainably in the medium and long terms. The report also explores progress on the integration of health and social care innovation in the provision of social care.

The Local Government Information Unit has published a report on the human cost of “cut-price care” in the home care market.

International development

Civil Society Media has this report about a delay to a new DfID funding programme. 

BOND has published this article about 5 NGOs using mobile technology to better engage with citizens.

Arts and culture

Arts Council England has published this summary of the new museum and galleries tax relief.

Data protection

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has launched a consultation on which derogations (exemptions) within the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) should be applied in the UK.  

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published this blog about its consultation on consent under the GDPR, which closed on 31 March.  It concludes that:

  • The ICO received more than 300 responses, a summary of which will be published. 
  • It is working towards having a final version of our GDPR Consent guidance for publication in June – although this timescale may be affected by developments at European level.

NCVO has published its response to the ICO consultation, and an accompanying blog here

A former clerical officer employed by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust who accessed the sensitive medical records of two estranged family members, without the consent of the data controller, has been fined £650, ordered to pay costs of £653.75 to the ICO and a victim surcharge of £65.

Also see under Scotland below.


The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has published this reminder to Scottish charities about getting ready for the new data protection regime.

Northern Ireland

The Charity Tribunal for Northern Ireland has dismissed appeals brought by Trevor McKee and Joseph Hughes.  They were challenging a decision of the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland to give its consent to alterations to the constitution of Lough Neagh Rescue Limited.  

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Disclaimer – The information contained in this update is not intended to be a comprehensive update – it is our selection of the website announcements made in the week up to last Friday which we think will be of interest to charities and social enterprises. The content is necessarily of a general nature – specific advice should always be sought for specific situations.

This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.

All content on this page is correct as of April 20, 2017.