Bates Wells Briefing for Charities and Social Enterprises | 30 January

Bates Wells highlights


Baroness Stowell has been announced as the preferred candidate to be the new Chair of the Charity Commission.

As the countdown to GDPR gets ever closer, what key points does your organisation need to know? In the final session in our ‘Countdown to GDPR’ series, Bates Wells experts will guide participants through the key points. Find out more about this event here.


At a glance

The Commission has issued advice to charities that have received donations from The Presidents Club Charitable Trust.

The House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has this week released a report on the potential impact of Brexit on the creative industries, tourism and the digital single market.

The Department for Education has published updated advice for schools on their powers to screen and search pupils and confiscate items found following a search.

The Parliamentary Communities and Local Government and Health Committees have launched a joint inquiry on the long-term funding and provision of adult social care.


Charity Commission

New Chair – preferred candidate announced

DCMS has announced that Baroness Stowell is the preferred candidate to be the new Chair of the Charity Commission. NCVO has welcomed the announcement.

Annual Public Meeting and additional Commission funding

The following speeches from the Commission’s AGM have been published:

There were no significant announcements at the AGM, other than additional funding for the Commission which was confirmed late the previous day.

Presidents Club dinner

Following the fallout from the Presidents Club dinner, the Commission has issued advice to charities that have received donations from The Presidents Club Charitable Trust when considering whether to accept or refuse donations.

  • Regarding accepting or refusing future donations, the Commission says “Different charities may legitimately come to different decisions, and trustees can approach the Commission for advice if they are unsure about their approach.”
  • Regarding keeping or returning donations already made, the Commission says, among other things, that it does not expect trustees to return funds raised for charitable purposes in the circumstances but understands if they wish to consider doing so.

The Commission’s advice contains a reminder to file a serious incident report where a charity’s reputation could be harmed.

This is an interesting think piece from David Ainsworth of Civil Society about whether charities should be giving money back received in previous years, and what will happen to all the money now.
Also see under Fundraising below.

Inquiry Report

The Commission has published its report into the inquiry into Peacetrail (1154428) a CIO with objects for the advancement of the Islamic religion and for the prevention or relief of poverty anywhere in the world. The charity was identified for a compliance visit because it was in default of its annual reporting obligations and was operating in a high risk area.

The inquiry concluded that the trustees had been responsible for misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of the charity, primarily through their lack of oversight over the charity’s CEO and failure to fulfil their basic legal duties, including obtaining evidence of end use of charitable funds and failing to file the charity’s statutory returns on time. The Commission also issued a press release about the case.

Future response to national critical incidents

The Commission has announced that it has hosted a discussion about responding to future domestic disasters such as terror attacks, natural disasters, and other large scale national crises in the UK with 25 large and small charities, umbrella bodies, fundraising platforms and charity regulators.

Charity Property Matters Survey

The Commission is publicising the Ethical Property Foundation’s bi-annual survey.


Data protection

ICO fines

The First Tier Tribunal has reduced an Information Commissioner’s Office monetary penalty from £150,000 to £75,000. The ICO had issued Basildon Borough Council with a £150,000 monetary penalty under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) for a serious contravention of the seventh data protection principle (DPP7). For details see here.

Undertaking to the ICO

The ICO has accepted an undertaking from Surrey Police relating to an unredacted file containing personal and sensitive data, which originated from Surrey Police, and was in the possession of a member of the public.

New Practitioner award

Sunday 28th January was the 12th annual Data Protection Day. To celebrate, the ICO is introducing the ICO Practitioner Award for Excellence in Data Protection to recognise those practitioners who go above and beyond when it comes to data protection. More details about the awards and how to enter can be found here.



Presidents Club

See under Charity Commission above.

The Fundraising Regulator has issued a couple of short statements about whether it will take regulatory action and Lord Grade’s attendance at the 2006 dinner.

Fundraising Preference Service

A Welsh-language version of the Fundraising Preference Service has been launched.



Culture & Creative

The House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has this week released a report on the potential impact of Brexit on the creative industries, tourism and the digital single market. The report draws a number of conclusions and makes various recommendations to the UK Government in relation to three key areas: workforce; funding; and the regulatory environment. Notably, the report explores the impact of Brexit on a number of recent regulatory updates including the country of origin broadcast rules and territorial licensing, and include some recommendations in relation to data protection.


Health and social care

The Communities and Local Government and Health Committees have launched a joint inquiry on the long-term funding and provision of adult social care. This will feed into the Green Paper on adult social-care funding, which Government intends to publish before the summer recess. The deadline for responses is 7 March 2018.

The Care Quality Commission has updated its guidance on Regulation 5 – the fit and proper persons requirement for directors.

The Competition and Markets Authority has announced developments in relation to the charging of “after death” fees following its market study into the supply of care home services for the elderly in the UK. One of the concerns identified by the CMA in its final market study report related to the practice of some care home providers of continuing to charge fees after the death of a resident. The CMA is concerned that it is unfair to continue to charge fees for an extended period after a resident has died. The CMA is, therefore consulting on draft consumer law advice for UK care home providers on the charging of fees after a resident’s death. The CMA is inviting comments by 16 February 2018. The CMA has also welcomed the fact that, following a CMA consumer law investigation, the Maria Mallaband Care Group, one of the UK’s leading care home providers has agreed, by providing a voluntary undertaking to the CMA, to drop its policy of charging fees after a resident has died.


Social finance

FCA consultation on SME access to the Financial Ombudsman Service

The Financial Conduct Authority has launched a consultation on proposed new rules to allow more small and medium-sized enterprises to refer disputes to the Financial Ombudsman Service. At present only the smallest businesses have such access. The proposals extend this access to all businesses with fewer than 50 employees, annual turnover of under £6.5m and an annual balance sheet total of under £5m. Comments will be accepted until 22 April 2018.

Also see under Corporate Governance below.


Social impact

Julia Grant: How to measure your impact effectively

Writing for Civil Society, Julia Grant (Chief Executive of Pro Bono Economics) details the importance of and the basic ingredients involved in impact evaluation. She is encouraging charities to be clear about their objects and to find hard data to evaluate soft outcomes. She also warns that initial findings may not always confirm resounding success for a charity but it is important to draw insights from bad news and to acknowledge that small positive changes can make a big difference.


Social enterprise

Registrations are now open for the ESELA 2018 Annual Conference, which will be held on 4 May 2018 in Milan. Please book via this registration page.



See under Corporate Governance below.


Corporate governance

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association has published a revised version of its Corporate Governance Policy and Voting Guidelines. The guidelines aim to assist members in promoting the long-term success of the companies in which they invest and ensuring that the management of these companies are held accountable to shareholders. One of the principal changes is the addition of a new section on sustainability (section 13), which emphasises the importance of positive relations with key stakeholders to a company’s long-term performance and highlights climate change as a key sustainability issue.

  • In relation to stakeholder relations, the revised Guidelines indicate that shareholders should consider voting against the annual report and accounts or the re-election of the chair where they believe that key stakeholder relationships are being neglected.
  • They also recommend that where shareholder attempts have failed to encourage companies in sectors affected by climate change to provide a detailed risk assessment and response to the effect of climate change on their business, they should not support the re-election of the chair.



Between now and mid-March, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) will be carrying out research to explore the issues facing Scottish charities and to gather feedback on OSCR. The research is being carried out by Progressive Partnership Ltd, an independent market research organisation.


Northern Ireland

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) has announced that it has opened a statutory inquiry into charity 100 Help the Homeless (NIC100203), which runs a drop-in and advice centre in Belfast city centre. This is the first CCNI inquiry into a charity which is in default of its annual reporting obligations; the inquiry will focus on the financial controls of the charity, as well as looking at other issues relating to governance and administration. CCNI has also given notice of its intention to remove a trustee of this charity.

CCNI has updated its list of charities which have been in default of annual reporting obligations for more than six months.

We mentioned last week that the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) has changed the name of its registration list, which has become the “combined list”. If a charity has been registered by the CCNI, it can be searched for via the public register of charities. If, on the other hand, a charity is not yet registered, users can check to ensure that they are known to the CCNI buy using the online combined list. The CCNI is also encouraging anyone who knows of a charity that is not listed on either of the above lists, to contact them.


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All content on this page is correct as of January 30, 2018.