Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 26 April 2017

General Election 2017


Various guides on ‘Purdah’ have been published, explored by Bates Wells, with restrictions applying since 22 April 00:01. See below for more information, including a briefing from Bates Wells.

At a glance 

The Electoral Commission has now published its guidance for non-party campaigners ahead of the general election.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a set of voluntary principles for standards in political discourse.

The Supreme Court has decided that procurement damages are confined to serious breaches.

Charity Commission

Charity accounts monitoring

The Commission has published the findings of its regular accounts monitoring reviews, looking at public benefit reporting and also whether charity annual reports and accounts meet the reader’s needs. It has issued a press release highlighting that 54% of the sets of accounts reviewed did not meet the public benefit reporting requirement.

Inquiry reports (double defaulters – class inquiry)

The Commission has published inquiry reports in two “double defaulting” charities, Gardens of Peace Muslim Cemetery Trust (former registered charity number 1072903) and Cylch Meithrin Trelai (1063165). As a result of the inquiry, the charities have complied with their legal obligations to submit their annual accounting information.


See here for Sir Stuart Etherington’s 2017 state of the sector address to NCVO Annual Conference delegates last week.  

The general election and campaigning

The Cabinet Office has published its “General Election Guidance 2017” and its ‘Purdah’ guidelines for Civil Servants. BWB has published an article on the implications of Purdah for charities and public bodies. The Electoral Commission has also now published its guidance for non-party campaigners who may be campaigning in the run up to the general election.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has written to all political parties calling for political debate to follow standards that will not create divisions, and published a set of voluntary principles for standards in political discourse. The Commission is urging all candidates and campaigners to abide by these principles in the forthcoming general election campaign.

Last week Greenpeace Ltd and Friends of the Earth Limited were fined by the Electoral Commission for failing to comply with campaigning rules at the 2015 UK Parliamentary General Election. 

Also see under Scotland below.



In a joint letter to the Prime Minister, organisations including WWF, Greenpeace, RSPB, CAFOD and Friends of the Earth, have warned the UK Government against watering down climate change and environmental commitments during Brexit negotiations.

Sector implications

Rob Wilson MP has responded to the following written question on the Government’s assessment of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on the charity sector:

Question: “To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment she has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on (a) access to funding for the charity sector and (b) the charity sector in general.”

Rob Wilson: “The Government has a long term plan and strategy to make sure that the sector is supported. Given the sector’s diversity, we recognise that there could be a broad range of implications and we are carefully assessing the impact of leaving the EU on the voluntary and community sector. We are also continuing to gather information and listen to the concerns and priorities of the charity sector.”

Also see under Higher Education below.


Fundraising Regulator

Civil Society Media reports Rob Wilson, minister for civil society, has warned charities that he is disappointed with fundraisers’ response to their new regulator, and has said he may still consider introducing statutory regulation.  He was speaking at the drinks reception for NCVO’s annual conference yesterday, when he urged charities to support the Fundraising Regulator and said he was disappointed by those who had refused to pay the levy. 

Social finance

The Local Government Information Unit has published an introductory guide to crowdfunding for local authorities to enable them to make informed choices about whether or not to take advantage of such opportunities.

Investments by charities: guidance on how to invest for the long-haul

Civil Society has published an article by Rothschild Wealth Management which guides charities through the concept of “patient holding”, where investments are selected and maintained on the basis of their long-term performance. The full article can be accessed here.

Social enterprise

Social Enterprise UK has issued this comment on the snap election. 

Sport and recreation

The Department for Communities and Local Government has published a consultation on its proposals for preserving the free use of public parks.  The consultation closes on 5th July.

The Youth Sport Trust has been awarded £658,708 to continue providing Change4Life.

The government is in the process of setting up the Sports Business Council which will focus on supporting growth for the sports sector, improving access to finance and developing skills.


The Supreme Court has decided that procurement damages are confined to serious breaches. Nuclear Decommissioning Authority v EnergySolutions EU Ltd (now called ATK Energy EU Ltd) [2017] UKSC 34 (11 April 2017).


In light of the forthcoming general election, OSCR has reminded charities of its general guidance on campaigning on political issues.

OSCR’s most recent blogpost is on the subject of digital transformation.

OSCR has registered its 10,000th charity.

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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 26, 2017.