Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 07 June 2017

Bates Wells Highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

Last week marked “one year to go” until implementation in the UK of the General Data Protection Regulation. See today’s Briefing for announcements by the ICO and for a link to Bates Wells’ briefing setting out 10 key steps to take.

This week’s review covers the two week period from 22nd May to 3rd June.

At a glance

We are in the final few days of Volunteers’ Week 2017.

New Philanthropy Capital has published its latest research on the State of the Sector.

CASS has published “Social investment as a new charity finance tool: ‘using both head and heart’”.

National Voices and Social Enterprise UK have published “Healthy Commissioning”, the results of a survey of NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups and their use of the Social Value Act.

Charity Commission

New inquiry

The Commission has opened an inquiry into All Nations Community Centre (1111832), a charity with objects to provide community activities, including educational and social support, in the Gloucestershire area. Last year the charity was included in the Commission’s class inquiry into charities that are in default for submitting their statutory accounts and returns for 2 or more financial years (“double defaulters”). The Commission ordered the charity to submit its accounting information for the five financial years ending 30 September 2011 through to 2015. The trustees failed to comply with the order. The inquiry will look at:

whether All Nations Community Centre is established as a charity and is operating for the public benefit the general administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees with specific regard to the charity’s property whether or not the trustees have complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law

Next public meeting

The Commission’s next public meeting will be held in Cardiff on 29 June. The speakers will include senior staff from the Commission and David Teague from ICO Wales.

Safer giving advice

The Commission has issued advice about giving safely both in the context of Ramadan and in relation to the Manchester terror attack.

Inquiry reports – double defaulters

The latest “double defaulter” inquiry reports have been published, into:

In all three cases, the inquiry led to the compliance by the charity trustees of their obligations to submit the missing accounting information and the Commission exercised powers in each case under section 52 Charities Act 2011 (to obtain bank records and financial information to assist with their scrutiny of the accounts) and section 84 Charities Act 2011 (to direct the trustees to prepare and complete the missing documentation and provide copies to the Commission).

In the case of the Rugby League Foundation, the charity’s representatives told the Commission that arrangements had been made some time ago for the charity’s funds to be transferred to another charity. However, the Commission said that this did not excuse the trustees’ failure to fulfil their statutory obligations and noted that checks had not been made to ensure that the final accounting documents were completed at that time.

Consultation on complementary and alternative health charities

response by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA) to the Charity Commission consultation on the use and promotion of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) outlines the PSA’s view that the consultation document does not make it clear how the Commission is exercising judgment of CAM therapies and suggests that the Commission considers using the PSA’s accredited registers programme in order to mitigate public risk in any decisions it makes on CAM therapies.


Last month the charity “Getting On Board” published a report “The looming crisis in charity trustee recruitment:  how poor recruitment practices threaten to damage the effectiveness of UK charities”. BWB’s Tesse Akpeki comments “The report confirms a trend that has been developing over the past three years.   There is definitely room for improvement regarding the diversity and profiles of boards.  In particular the suggestion for individuals to use a diverse range of routes to access trusteeship is a practical step that should broaden the makeup of trustee boards.”


NPC has published its latest research on the State of the Sector involving 400 charity leaders. The findings “hold up a mirror to the sector and highlight examples of those charities leading the way”.  

The ICAEW has “collated the expert knowledge of external auditors and ICAEW specialist staff to set out a series of recommendations to help charities to demonstrate their positive impact and become more resilient and transparent.”  The report “Audit insights: charities – positive impacts in challenging times” can be obtained by emailing the ICAEW via this link

The policy institute Chatham House has published a paper “Humanitarian Action and Non-state Armed Groups: The Impact of Banking Restrictions on UK NGOs”.

Volunteers’ Week

Takes place this year from 1st to 7th June.  To mark the occasion, NCVO are providing free and discounted volunteer resources for the whole week, including:

              Good practice in volunteer management

              Assessing the impact of your volunteers

              Volunteering and the law

In celebration of Volunteers’ Week, BWB Get Legal is also offering 50% off its Volunteer Agreement.

Election and campaigning

The Electoral Commission has published details of pre-poll reporting which applies to non-party campaigners and reporting dates.   

NCVO has published this blog by Ben Wilkinson, head of external communications for the Electoral Commission Charities and the Lobbying Act: the Electoral Commission’s view“.

Also see under International development below.


Retail Gift Aid

31st May was the deadline for sending retail gift aid end of year letters. See here for more details.

Matched funding campaigns

This is an interesting article by BOND about the increasing success of matched funding campaigns. 

Also see under Philanthropy and Data Protection below.

Social finance

Social Enterprise UK reports that new research by Ethex, the positive savings and investment platform, shows that more than half of the eligible UK population is keen to make positive investments, but a lack of knowledge, understanding and confidence in what is on offer is holding them back.  

New Philanthropy Capital has published this guest blog by Steve Goldberg which argues “It’s too soon to conclude the SIB game isn’t worth the candle”.

New report warns that low take-up of social investment by charities could deter investors away from this sector

Third Sector reports that a new paper from the Centre of Charity Effectiveness at Cass Business School – “Social investment as a New Charity Finance Tool” – warns that investors could start moving away from social investment if voluntary sector organisations do not take up more of the opportunities on offer. It reports that many charities have ethical and cultural concerns about using investment tools and are “stuck in a grants and donations mind-set”, with concerns about how they would pay back capital, and that charity trustees may need assistance to feel more empowered to explore different models and develop a greater appetite for innovation and change. The full report can be accessed here.

Social enterprise

See here for the latest newsletter from ESELA, the European Social Enterprise Law Association.

Social impact

New Philanthropy Capital has published this blog “What does it take for charities to harness the power of data?


See under Charity Commission and under Social Value above.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has published a guide for councils, on integrating health and social care.  

The National Audit Office (NAO) has announced that it will be carrying out an investigation into NHS continuing healthcare (NHS CHC) in summer 2017.

International development

BOND has published this summary of a debate convened by BOND and ODI between representatives of the major political parties to explore their views and policies on international development.


On 16 May 2017, the Scottish Inner House of the Court of Session reversed a 2016 court decision, which had withdrawn planning consent for the Inch Cape, Neart na Gaoithe and Seagreen Alpha and Bravo large wind farms, off the coast of Scotland. Scottish ministers had granted planning consent for the projects in 2014. The planning consent will now be reinstated. Many commentators see this as a boost to the UK renewables industry.


An article published by Giving Thought, the charity think tank of the Charities Aid Foundation, explores how artificial intelligence (AI) could lead to the development of effective, low-cost philanthropy advice, drive greater amounts of giving and help people to give more effectively.

Data protection

The Information Commissioner’s Office has made a number of announcements to co-incide with “one year to go” until implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  Also see this Briefing from BWB’s Mairead O’Reilly who has also been quoted in a recent Third Sector article regarding fundraising and the GDPR.    

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published its response to the recent DCMS consultation on EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) national law derogations.  Broadly, the ICO supports replicating existing arrangements under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) where these work satisfactorily and only introducing derogations where necessary.   See here for BWB’s response to the consultation.  

A council has been fined £150,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for publishing sensitive personal information about a family.  Basildon Borough Council breached the Data Protection Act when it published the information in planning application documents which it made publicly available online.  The ICO’s investigation found that on 16 July 2015, the council received a written statement in support of a householder’s planning application for proposed works in a green belt. The statement contained sensitive personal data relating to a static traveller family who had been living on the site for many years. In particular, it referred to the family’s disability requirements, including mental health issues, the names of all the family members, their ages and the location of their home.


OSCR has published:

Northern Ireland

CCNI has published new monitoring and compliance guidance aimed at providing an accessible guide to support charity trustees in meeting their legal duties.

CCNI has announced a commitment to board diversity by participating in the Boardroom Apprentice Scheme.

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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 June 7, 2017.