Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 03 May 2017

Bates Wells Highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

Charities which are part of multi-employer defined benefit schemes should look closely at the current pensions consultation – see today’s Briefing for details.

At a glance

The Information Commissioner has issued updated guidance on the use of personal data in political campaigning.

The Department for Education has published operational guidance for local authorities and providers on the entitlement of parents to 30 hours free childcare contained in the Childcare Act 2016.

The BBC reports the government is scrapping planned reforms to the non-contentious probate fee regime.

Pioneers Post has launched a special report – “Impact Measurement: Perspectives from the front line” – which explores social enterprise practitioners’ attitudes towards measuring and reporting social impact in their own organisations.

Charity Commission

New inquiry

The Commission has opened an inquiry into ANO (also, known as Aid for the Needy and Oppressed, 1155123), a charity with objects to relieve poverty, particularly in countries affected by disasters and war, through financial support, goods and services.  The opening of the inquiry follows a serious incident report to the Commission in January 2017, after a trustee of the charity was stopped by UK Ports Officers and cash totalling £19,300 belonging to the charity was seized.

Inquiry report (double defaulter)

The Commission has published the latest “double defaulter” inquiry report, into Eco Learning Ltd (1072447).  As a result of the inquiry, the charity has submitted its outstanding annual accounting information.

Charity law cases

From December last year, the First Tier (Charity) Tribunal has considered further appeals from local residents against the Charity Commission scheme made for Bath Recreation Ground.  The Tribunal part allowed the appeals, ordering some changes to the scheme.  See here for the full decision.

Grants and reporting requirements/Common Reporting Standard

NCVO has published “The Common Reporting Standard: What does it mean for small charities?

Election and campaigning

The UK’s Information Commissioner has written to all major political parties reminding them of their obligations when contacting potential supporters during the General Election campaign.  Elizabeth Denham has also invited them to a briefing session to hear details of updated guidance on the use of personal data in political campaigning.  The guidance covers the rules around data protection and electronic marketing. It includes a section on the use of data analytics and associated technologies by political parties for campaigning purposes.

BOND has issued this Briefing paper “Understanding the Lobbying Act – Briefing Paper for Bond Members, UK General Election, 8 June 2017“.


Immigration / free movement

The Institute for Public Policy Research has published a report on free movement for EU nationals during Brexit negotiations.

The Commons’ Education Select Committee has produced a report on Brexit and higher education, arguing that guarantees need to be given to university staff who are EU nationals to prevent a ‘brain drain’.


Response to Fundraising Regulator’s consultation on changes to the Code of Fundraising Practice

This consultation closed last week. See here for a blog about the Institute of Fundraising’s response – and here for the full response. BWB submitted a response which we will be publishing on our website shortly.

Street fundraising

Birmingham City Council and the Institute of Fundraising have agreed to launch a street fundraising agreement for the city, which comes into effect from 2 May 2017.  The agreement was initially piloted through a 3 month trial, but has now been extended on a rolling 1 year basis. 


The BBC reports the government is scrapping planned reforms to the non-contentious probate fee regime. The proposals included plans to increase probate fees by replacing the current fixed fees for probate applications with a banded fee structure linked to the value of the deceased’s estate.  The government has not indicated whether a Conservative government would introduce the fee increase if re-elected.

See here for the latest Legacies Roundup from BWB’s Legacies Team.  

Social finance

Social impact measurement – Pioneers Post special report

Pioneers Post has launched a special report – “Impact Measurement: Perspectives from the front line” – which explores social enterprise practitioners’ attitudes towards measuring and reporting social impact in their own organisations. The report has been published by Pioneers Post in partnership with Buzzacott, with the support of The Good Economy Partnership and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. Key conclusions from the report include the finding that 50% of participants consider themselves to have an excellent or good knowledge of impact measurement, but that there remains a mismatch between “grassroots” and “specialist” outlooks on impact measurement. The full report can be accessed here.

Seven lessons for social impact measurement

Keeping on the topic of social impact measurement, Pioneers Post has also posted a short video with seven key tips for social enterprises to achieve social impact more efficiently.

European committee adopts report on technology in finance

The European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) has adopted a draft report on FinTech, which addresses the influence of technology on the future of the financial sector. The report stresses the importance of developing an EU framework for FinTech, which includes new methods of fundraising such as crowdfunding. Themes touched on include consumer and investor protection, data protection, and engagement with non-EU countries on FinTech issues. The European Commission published a consultation paper on connected topics in March.

BWB is extremely active on a number of fronts aimed at establishing a business culture where organisations take responsibility for their stakeholders generally, not just their shareholders. We are a B Corp and are currently sponsoring a programme run by the British Academy on The Future of the Corporation. One of our lawyers, David Hunter, is also a research fellow at the University of Bristol, involved in a project looking at the potential ramifications of the UK government encouraging a more mission led approach to business. A blog by David published recently by the university provides a handy snapshot of why this is currently a live issue, what the motivations are for different groups advocating for a change and what the implications may be.


Early years

The Department for Education has published operational guidance for local authorities and providers on the entitlement of parents to 30 hours free childcare contained in the Childcare Act 2016. The guidance has been published to help local authorities and providers understand how they should deliver the free entitlements. Local authorities must have regard to the guidance when discharging their duties to secure free early years provision and, unless they have good reason to do so, should not depart from the guidance.

There have been recent changes to the requirements for those providing childcare for 0-5 year olds under the Childcare Act 2006 in nurseries/as childminders, which will affect charities and social enterprises providing these services.  There are changes to the qualifications that staff must hold in connection with first aiding and to the calculation of staff: child ratios to comply with the Welfare Requirements; as well as the express requirement for providers to have regard to various safeguarding guidance.  The new version came into force at the beginning of this month. To the extent that you have any queries, please contact BWB Partner Emma Dowden-Teale.

Data protection

See under Election and campaigning above.

A finance brokerage firm responsible for sending thousands of spam text messages has been fined £40,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

An online building products supplier has been fined £55,000 by the ICO after the firm failed to protect its customers’ personal information.  Construction Materials Online Ltd was unaware its website contained a coding error which left it vulnerable to attack.

The ICO’s blog on its international work contains a summary from 25th April of its involvement in the Article 29 Working Party.


The Department for Work and Pensions has published draft regulations that will amend the employer debt rules affecting multi-employer defined benefit (DB) schemes to introduce a new arrangement for dealing with employer debts, referred to as a “deferred debt arrangement”.  The consultation runs until 18 May 2017.  


ISO 20400 on sustainable procurement launched in April.  It is the first international sustainable procurement standard. It provides guidelines for integrating sustainability into an organisation’s procurement policy strategy and process. It defines the principles of sustainable procurement (such as accountability, transparency, respect for human rights and ethical behaviour).  Unlike many other ISO standards, ISO 20400 is a guidance standard rather than a certification standard. This means that organisations cannot become certified to ISO 20400. Instead, the standard aims to build a global consensus on expectations for responsible procurement.

Companies House monitoring service

In case you did not know about this, the Companies House “Follow” service allows you to sign up to receive email alerts whenever anything is filed for the company you are “following”.  You can follow any company registered at Companies House. For added security, trustees and company secretaries of charitable companies can opt to follow their own company so they are alerted to any fraudulent filings.  For more see here.

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 May 3, 2017.