Bates Wells Briefing for Charities and Social Enterprises | 15 November 2017

Bates Wells highlights


A new research Report about trustees has been published “Taken on Trust – the awareness and effectiveness of charity trustees in England and Wales”. See today’s Briefing for details.

At a glance

This week is Trustees’ Week.

A charity worker has been prosecuted for making his own copies of sensitive data.

Innovate UK has announced an extra £30 million of funding for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), which connect UK businesses with an academic or research organisation and qualified graduate to work on innovation projects.

Charity Commission

Report “Taken on Trust – the awareness and effectiveness of charity trustees in England and Wales”:

Published this week, this new report has been written by a consortium which includes the Charity Commission, led by Cass Business School and the Cranfield Trust. It is based on research into trusteeship commissioned jointly by the Charity Commission and the Office for Civil Society following the Commission’s announcement that it would do so at its public meeting in January 2017. At that time the Commission said that it would be issuing a survey to 19,000 trustees to understand their views on the challenges they face in their role in order to gain “an in-depth understanding of the current state of charity trusteeship and who our trustees are” and to “Enable the Commission and wider society to know whether current expectations of trustees are appropriate and how they can best be supported to fulfil their roles”.

The main report (92 pages) is called “Taken on Trust – the awareness and effectiveness of charity trustees in England and Wales”:The report makes 28 recommendations – these appear from page 9 onwards – and Appendix 5 contains a table setting out the conclusions which led to each recommendation.

The Commission’s press release provides a short summary of the report’s findings from the Commission’s perspective.

The Commission has published its own formal response to the report (8 pages).

There is also a report on the provider perspective on advice and support for charity trustees, from NCVO and the Cranfield Trust (32 pages).

Commission fraud guidance

The Commission’s guidance on “Protecting your charity from fraud” has been updated again. The page says that the update this time is to add links to a series of elearning videos.


As you may know, this week is Trustees’ Week.

 Tax and VAT

NCVO Commission

National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has announced it has established a commission to undertake a full review of the charity tax system. The team of commissioners, which is to be led by former Chairman of Inland Revenue, Sir Nicholas Montagu, will review existing charitable reliefs and make recommendations to government as to how the reliefs might more effectively achieve their intended public benefits. The commission aims to fulfil its remit within 18 months. Its conclusions will assist the Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society, chaired by Julia Unwin CBE and due to close in 2019. The government’s last comprehensive review of the charity tax system was in 1997.

Also see under Scotland.



A briefing by the Nuffield Trust has considered how the UK’s future relationship with the EU will shape the NHS.


Secretary of State for Environment, Michael Gove, has announced that a new environmental regulator could be made to ensure the UK’s environmental standards remain in place post-Brexit.

Trade / Procurement

The new Trade Bill has been recently introduced and will ‘fill the regulatory void’ when the UK leaves the EU, to give the UK the powers necessary to bring existing EU trade agreements into UK statute so that when the UK officially withdraws from the EU, businesses will face minimal disruption and confusion. An accompanying factsheet explaining the Bill was published by the Department of International Trade.

In particular, the Bill will ensure that the UK can become an independent member of the Agreement on Government Procurement (rather than a member by virtue of being in the EU) which according to the Government will maintain UK businesses’ access to public contracts worth £1.3 trillion. The Bill also establishes a new independent body called the Trade Remedies Authority with the power to launch trade remedies investigations, a responsibility currently assigned to the European Commission.


The Home Office and Dexeu have published details of the UK’s proposed administrative procedures for EU citizens to obtain settled status. Much of the content has already been signalled in the June 2017 policy paper, in the Prime Minister’s Florence speech in September 2017, and in the various joint technical notes comparing the EU and UK positions on citizens’ rights which have been published after each round of negotiations.


Fundraising Regulator

The Fundraising Regulator (FR) has welcomed its 1000th sign up to the registration scheme launched in March 2017 to charities not within the scope of the fundraising levy. In addition, 1400 larger charities have paid the levy thereby registering with the Regulator.

This along with other topics is covered in the Fundraising Regulator’s November newsletter.

Preparation for GDPR

The Fundraising Regulator’s website has this page which brings together links to a range of GDPR resources published by the FR, the ICO, NCVO, and the IOF.


Civil Society Media reports the Institute of Legacy Management has expressed concern that the Law Commission’s consultation on wills does not “pay sufficient attention to the increasing impact of technology” on will making.

Leticia Jennings, a partner in BWB’s Dispute Resolution team, has been quoted in the Law Society Gazette’s latest coverage of the Law Commission consultation on wills.


See under Research below.

 Social Finance

Charity creates ‘first ever’ monthly impact reporting dashboard
According to Civil Society Media, Street League (a sport for employment charity) has launched an online dashboard to provide monthly impact reporting. It enables users to access anonymised data about the young people it is supporting, the barriers they had to overcome and the employment sectors they have moved into. Matt Stevenson-Dodd, chief executive of Street League, shares that success should be measured by presenting the work of the charity in a transparent way rather than by turnover.

Data Dives no.2 – Visualising 2,000+ social investments
Writing for Big Society Capital’s (BSC) blog, Nick Benton (Data & Management Information Controller, BSC), shares information about BSC’s second Data Dives which looks at social outcomes targeted by charities and social enterprises across the UK. BSC have used Tableau for this interactive visualisation allowing users to follow their own lines of inquiry. This dataset provides interesting statistics such as the median investment size is just £50k and although by amount invested, 30% of investments are into charities and social enterprises headquartered in London, these investments account for only 12% by number of investments.


Innovate UK has announced an extra £30 million of funding for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), which connect UK businesses with an academic or research organisation and qualified graduate to work on innovation projects.

 Data Protection

A charity worker has been prosecuted for making his own copies of sensitive data. Robert Morrisey sent spreadsheets containing the information of vulnerable clients to his personal email address without the knowledge of the data controller, his employer the Rochdale Connections Trust. The defendant sent 11 emails from his work email account which contained the sensitive personal data of 183 people, three of whom were children. The personal data included full names, dates of birth, telephone numbers and medical information. Further investigation showed that he had sent a similar database to his personal account on another occasion. Morrisey appeared at Preston Crown Court and admitted unlawfully obtaining personal data in breach of Section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998. He was given a conditional discharge for two years and was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,845.25, as well as a victim surcharge of £15.

Preparations for GDPR

The ICO is revising its small and medium-sized enterprises toolkit into a GDPR checklist that will enable businesses to identify gaps in their preparations. The ICO also expects to publish a comprehensive GDPR guide by the end of the year, which will expand on the content of the current “Overview of the GDPR”.


Reporting serious incidents

Dr Diarmuid McDonnell and Dr Alasdair Rutherford from the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling have published key insights emerged from analysing the first year of serious incident reporting in Scotland. They employ a novel dataset in order to understand the types of serious incidents charities report to the Scottish Charity Regulator.


The Charities Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 2006 have now been amended to allow members of The Institute of Financial Accountants to also provide independent examination services to charities preparing fully accrued accounts.


The Scottish Government has published a discussion paper to initiate debate about income tax policy ahead of the draft budget in December, with suggestions that it may be planning to make use of devolved powers to raise rates or change thresholds. The paper sets out the powers the Scottish Parliament has over income tax – namely, to set rates and bands for non-savings, non-dividend income tax only – the contribution income tax makes to the budget, who pays tax and the benefits of taxation for individuals and businesses. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously stated that income tax in Scotland should meet four tests: to protect low earners, be progressive, be proportionate to the ability to the pay and support the economy. The Scottish government’s tax and spending decisions for 2018/19 will be published in the draft budget on 14 December 2017.

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 November 16, 2017.