Bates Wells Briefing for Charities and Social Enterprises | 06 December 2017

Bates Wells Highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

Everything is now in place for the Charity Commission from 1st January 2018 to begin accepting applications from charitable companies wishing to convert to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.  For advice on whether this is something your charity should be considering, please speak to your usual BWB contact.

Tesse Akpeki of BWB’s OnBoard has published “Ten things that trustees can do relating to digital”. 

At a glance

The National Audit Office has published its report on the progress made by the Charity Commission since 2015.

The Fundraising Regulator has published two anonymous case studies about complaints it has investigated.

HM Treasury has issued a response to its consultation published in August 2017 seeking views on draft regulations to increase the thresholds at or below which a co-operative and community benefit society may disapply the requirement to undertake an audit in respect of a financial year.

Last week the Government announced a package of support worth nearly £45 million to provide additional help for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

BWB and the Institute of Legacy Management have collaborated to produce a new factsheet focusing on the implications of the General Data Protection Regulation for legacy management professionals.

Charity Commission

NAO report

The National Audit Office has published its report on the progress made by the Charity Commission since 2015.  The Commission press release welcoming the report flags a number of key findings including that the Commission is:

  • becoming a more risk-based regulator – referencing the launch of its Risk Assessment Unit and its refreshed risk framework
  • securing new powers and using them effectively – evidenced by the reduced challenges it faces in the First Tier Tribunal (Charity) and the reduction in the average length of its investigations
  • offering improved services – including the launch of a new registration system that has reduced waiting times despite significant increases in registration applications
  • working more effectively with others – including improved external engagement with charities on key projects and an increased number of memoranda of understanding with key partner organisations and agencies

Speech by Helen Stephenson to the Charity Law Association Conference

See here for the text of the Charity Commission’s Chief Executive’s speech at the Charity Law Association’s Annual Conference last week. 

Grenfell Tower

The Commission has published this information about the funds that have been raised, and how they have been distributed. This information will be updated on a regular basis.

Consultation on 2018 Annual Return

See here for the response filed by NCVO.


On 23 November 2017, the following regulations were finalised by Parliament:

  • the Charitable Incorporated Organisations (Conversion) Regulations 
  • the Charitable Incorporated Organisations (Consequential Amendments) Order
  • the Index of Company Names (Listed Bodies) (England and Wales) Order

The Commission has also updated this page on its website to add more detail about how conversions to CIO will be dealt with.   It includes for example that the trustee benefit and dissolution clauses in the new CIO constitution must mirror what is in the Articles of the converting company.


Following the recommendation in “Taken on Trust” report (2017)  that ‘all key stakeholders in the charity sector should review and enhance their advice, support and communications to reflect and draw upon developments in digital technology’, Tesse Akpeki of BWB’s On Board has published “Ten things that trustees can do relating to digital”. 

Also see under Northern Ireland below.

Audit and accounting

HM Treasury has issued a response to its consultation published in August 2017 seeking views on draft regulations to increase the thresholds at or below which a co-operative and community benefit society may disapply the requirement to undertake an audit in respect of a financial year.  The government received 12 responses to the consultation, the majority of which were supportive of the proposals. Accordingly, the government has decided to proceed with the proposals to increase the thresholds at which co-operatives and community benefit societies are required to appoint an auditor from £5.6 million turnover and £2.8 million assets to £10.2 million turnover and £5.1 million in assets.  The government intends to lay the statutory instrument to enact this change before the end of 2017 and it is expected to come into force from 6 April 2018.


NCVO has published “An evidence review of organisational sustainability:  an analysis of the support available to VCSE organisations”.  There is also this accompanying blog

The Office for Civil Society has appointed David Knott as its next director. He has been promoted from being deputy director of the OCS and has previously worked in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, the Cabinet Office, Department for International Development and as an adviser on public administration reform.


Health and social care

Over 50 third sector organisations have backed an SNP amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill calling for a review of the impact of Brexit on health and care systems across the UK. The amendment is due to be heard as MPs debate the laws repatriated from the European Union after Britain leaves. The sector is concerned about the impact on staff from the EU, a decline in funding for medical research and levels of funding for services.


Fundraising Regulator

The Fundraising Regulator has published two anonymous case studies about complaints it has investigated:

  • Case Study 9 – A complaint that a charity was unable to verify that an individual fundraising on its behalf was genuine (Upheld)
  • Case Study 10 – A complaint that the content of a mailing sent by a charity was potentially disturbing and that the charity continued to send the individual mailings despite being asked to remove him from the mailing list (Partly upheld)

Consultation on Code

Just a reminder that the current Code consultation closes on Friday 8th December. 

Legacies and GDPR

Bates Wells Braithwaite and the Institute of Legacy Management (ILM) have collaborated to produce a new factsheet focusing on the implications of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for legacy management professionals.   Commissioned at the request of the ILM, the factsheet – produced for ILM’s members – examines eight specific areas of legacy management which will be affected by the introduction of the GDPR. 

Also see under Campaigning and Scotland below.

Social finance

Pioneer’s Post shares Peter Holbrook’s (CEO of Social Enterprise UK) response to the government’s Industrial Strategy published last week. Holbrook considers it time to move responsibility for social enterprise to BEIS so that “our voice can be heard and our ideas considered”. He believes the Office for Civil Society is unable to exert any influence over BEIS for the benefit of the sector and the wider society.

Melanie Mills (Social Sector Engagement Director, Big Society Capital) shares her views on helping social enterprises and charities understand more about social investment and when it might be the right type of funding.

Social impact

This is an interesting blog about NPC’s Data Labs project, the aim of which is to enable charities and other organisations working in areas like criminal justice, health, education, employment, to understand the effectiveness of their interventions.  The design makes use of government administrative data. The outcomes for the people a charity works with (such as whether or not they go on to re-offend) are compared with the outcomes of a group of individuals who share similar characteristics but who haven’t accessed the charity’s services.

See under Culture and creative below.

Social enterprise

See item about SEUK under Social Finance above.

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


Professor Jo Pritchard, co-founder of the UK’s first health spin out, has been awarded the Employee Ownership Association (EOA) Baxendale Fellowship. 

Also see here for press releases about various winners of this year’s other EOA Awards.

Education and skills

See here for a speech by the Schools Standards Minister about the return of textbooks. 

Last week the Government announced a package of support worth nearly £45 million to provide additional help for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The Department for Education has announced its new Careers Strategy. 

The Parliamentary Education Committee has launched an inquiry into the quality and accessibility of apprenticeships and skills training funded by the Education & Skills Funding Agency. The inquiry will investigate whether employers, taxpayers and learners are receiving good value for the time and money invested in training, and will examine how effective the current monitoring system is at identifying inadequate training providers. The inquiry will also investigate the ease at which individuals from socially disadvantaged backgrounds can access good quality training and apprenticeship opportunities. The Committee will be accepting written submissions until 5 January 2018.

NCVO has published “Future employment and skills training for disadvantages groups:  a successor to the ESF”.


See item under Brexit above.

The Access to Innovation Fund is a new grant fund focussed on supporting people with early stage innovative ideas with the aim of enhancing patient care and supporting the NHS. Although applications regarding the management of long term conditions are encouraged, other areas will also be considered.  The fund is a grant from Boehringer Ingelheim Ltd but will be independently administered and distributed by the Apperta Foundation. Successful applications must be through social enterprises – for more details see here.

Housing and homelessness

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has set out details of a new Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel that will help develop a national strategy as part of the government’s commitment to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminate it altogether by 2027.  This new Advisory Panel made up of homelessness experts, charities and local government, will support the Ministerial Taskforce, which brings together ministers from key departments to provide a cross-government approach to preventing rough sleeping and homelessness.

International development

The UK Government is to host its first ever Global Disability Summit.

BWB’s Amanda Ogilvie has written for Civil Society Media about INGOs and how they must identify, manage and monitor risks effectively.

Culture and creative

NCVO has published this guest blog about quality and impact in the arts sector.

According to new statistics, the UK’s booming creative industries made a record contribution to the economy in 2016. Industries including advertising and marketing, arts and film, TV and radio, and museums and galleries are all part of this economic sector, which is now worth almost £92bn.


People in the UK remain willing to become involved in society but attracting people from more diverse backgrounds remains a challenge, says a new report from NCVO.  The report, ‘Getting Involved: How people make a difference‘, gives an overview of the different ways and activities in which people participate in society, drawing together statistics from a variety of sources.

Data protection

An urgent parliamentary question on the Uber hacking case was asked in the Commons by Wes Streeting MP. The response was provided by the Minister for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, Mike Hancock MP.  See here for a recording.


BEIS has published a report “Leveraging Public Procurement to Grow the Innovation Economy: An Independent Review of the Small Business Research Initiative by David Connell; Final Report and Recommendations”. This follows a review and consultation on how the government can maximise the impact of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), particularly in relation to improving procurement outcomes for government, supporting innovation by SMEs and the development of new technology-based products and services. Among other things, the report found that the SBRI is highly valued by businesses that have used the programme and its contracts have had positive effects on company revenues.

Pro bono

BWB Partner Paul Jennings features in this Law Society Gazette article about pro bono work.


From 1 January 2018, Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations (SCIOs) will appear in the Registrar’s Index of Company Names, which is maintained by Companies House.  Where the proposed name for a SCIO includes a ‘sensitive word or expression’, you will need to contact Companies House to obtain their approval before you apply to OSCR.   See here for a more detailed briefing from the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. 

The consultation period for OSCR’s Fundraising Guidance has now been extended until 08 December 2017.

OSCR has published its December newsletter.

Northern Ireland

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has published this blog about “Making the most of your trustees’ report”.

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All content on this page is correct as of December 6, 2017.