Bates Wells Briefing for Charities and Social Enterprises | 7 February

Bates Wells highlights


The Fundraising Regulator has launched a new consultation relating to complaints handling, TPS Assured Certification and online fundraising platforms.

BWB and the Institute of Fundraising are collaborating on an essential series for fundraisers. Christine Rigby and Gerald Oppenheim (Head of Policy and Communications at the Fundraising Regulator) will be speaking at the first in the series: The Code of Fundraising Practice demystified. This seminar will cover an introduction to the Code of Fundraising Practice and rulebooks.

At a glance

The Commission has now published the application form for a waiver of automatic disqualification as a trustee or senior manager of a charity. Further information is in the press release.

The Charity Commission has published “Tackling Abuse and Mismanagement 2016-17”, its annual report of its compliance casework

Shelter has launched a commission into the future of social housing.

The House of Commons Treasury Committee is launching an inquiry into SME finance.

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has announced that it will be developing an online charity application form.

Charity Commission


The Commission has issued a further press release reminding charities that safeguarding is a priority for all charities, not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk. This is further to the latest report on Tackling Abuse and Mismanagement in Charities (see below) which revealed that the number of safeguarding concerns leading to regulatory compliance cases has increased.

Automatic disqualification guidance/waiver application form

The Commission has now published the application form for a waiver of automatic disqualification as a trustee or senior manager of a charity. Further information is in the press release.

The guidance on disqualification, issued last month, has been updated to include links to the above application form, and to Unlock’s full guidance for charities on this.

New inquiry

The Commission has announced that it has opened a statutory inquiry into Cymmer Workmens Hall and Institute (810098), a Welsh charity operating a social club and funding educational activities. The Commission’s concerns have originated from substantial levels of non-primary purpose trading that the charity has undertaken, the charity’s failure to submit Statement of Recommended Practice compliant accounts and the fact that the charity appears to have only one active trustee.

Tackling Abuse and Mismanagement 2016-17

The Commission has published Tackling Abuse and Mismanagement 2016-17, its annual report of its compliance casework.

Risk Framework

The Commission has published a new version of its Regulatory and Risk framework.

Overseas charities

The Commission is advertising Outreach Events for newly formed charities working in high risk areas, taking place this month in London, Manchester and Birmingham.

Parliamentary question on CC board appointments

Civil Society is reporting that there has been a written Parliamentary question raised about the process of appointments to the Commission’s board.


See under Education.

Tax and VAT

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has written to the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) to ask they carry out a review into inheritance tax (IHT). The Chancellor suggests the review should focus on the technical and administrative issues within IHT, the practical issues around routine estate planning and disclosure, and how the current gifts rules interact with the wider IHT system. The Chancellor and the OTS will agree a scoping document for the review, which will be published in due course.

NCVO Tax Commission – NCVO has set up two groups that will be supporting the Tax Commission’s work. An advisory group of individuals with expertise in taxation and finance issues will provide technical feedback and advice to the commission when it analyses responses to its call for evidence and develops recommendations which will be put to government in spring 2019. A reference group of senior people from across the voluntary sector will provide sector-specific insight and views on behalf of the many organisations and groups who benefit from, and are affected by, the tax system. The commission will be launching a 16-week public call for evidence at the end of February, seeking views and evidence from anyone with relevant knowledge, expertise or experience of the system of charitable tax reliefs in the UK. This includes charities, donors, academics, think tanks, representative bodies, accountants, financial advisers, tax professionals, and of course, members of the public.

See under Culture and Creative below.

Data protection


The European Commission has:

  • published guidance on the forthcoming reform of EU data protection rules under the General Data Protection Regulation.
  • launched a new online tool to raise awareness of the GDPR and help citizens, businesses, in particular SMEs, and other organisations to comply with and benefit from the new data protection rules.
  • published “Stronger protection, new opportunities“, a Communication to the European Parliament and Council providing guidance on the direct application of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will apply in EU member states from 25 May 2018.

ICO fines

A company that made 8.7 million nuisance calls has been fined £300,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).


NCVO has published its annual “The Road Ahead”, its report looking at the upcoming year and identifying the key trends that are likely to shape the operating environment of charities and their work. Issues highlighted include politics and the economy, and changing social attitudes.

Steve Holiday, the chair of the Full-Time Social Action review, has reported his recommendations to government. Civil Society Media reports that his recommendations include that no new legal status is needed for full-time volunteering.

IVAR, the Institute for Voluntary Action Research, has launched a new website with free insights into:

  • Core funding
  • Cross sector working
  • Strategy and planning
  • Merger


EU (Withdrawal) Bill

The Lords Constitution Committee has stated that the EU (Withdrawal) Bill is fundamentally flawed and needs to be rewritten as it currently risks ‘undermining legal certainty’. The peers have stated that the bill is ‘constitutionally unacceptable’.

The House of Lords has debated the key purposes and principles of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill during its second reading.

Local government

The Local Government Association has issued a briefing on the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19 (EUWB) on local authorities. The LGA’s key messages are that:

  • Post-Brexit, Parliament should replicate the formal advisory role that local government currently has in policy making through its membership of the European Union Committee of the Regions. There is currently no proposal for this.
  • The devolution of former EU powers must reach local authorities, and not just the devolved (national) jurisdictions, and offer councils, their residents and local businesses the benefits of new legislative freedoms and flexibilities.
  • A locally-led successor to EU regional aid is necessary to avoid a funding gap for local communities arising upon the UK’s withdrawal from the EU Multi-annual Financial Framework in 2021.

The LGA also raises the prospect of a lighter touch procurement process, which offers more opportunities for local growth and better participation from non-UK companies.

Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has published a report on the implications of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill for human rights.

Competition and State Aid

The House of Lords EU Select Committee has published a report considering the implications of Brexit for competition and state aid.


New Code consultations

The Fundraising Regulator has launched its latest consultation which is in two parts:

  • The first two parts (A and B) invite feedback on specific issues raised by the sector in relation to complaints handling and the TPS Assured Certification. The deadline for response on these is 28th February 2018.
  • Part C proposes to introduce a new section to the Code for online fundraising platforms and aims to ensure that these platforms provide adequate and clear good practice guidance to individuals setting up a fundraising page on their sites. It also aims to ensure relevant platforms follow the legal requirements set out within the recently introduced Payment Services Regulation 2017. The deadline for response on fundraising platforms is 14th March 2018.

Fundraising Regulator – Public Register

The Fundraising Regulator has re-launched its Public Register following several updates designed to improve transparency. The register now states whether an organisation is:

As of 31 January 2018, the Register records that

  • 1,400 organisations paid Levy Year 1, while 199 were non-payers. (The 199 include 49 charities that have committed to pay, 76 no responses, 28 refusals and 46 in negotiation.)
  • 1,208 organisations have paid Levy Year 2, while 503 have so far not paid. (Of the 503, 95 have committed to pay, 368 have not thus far responded, 23 have refused and 17 are in negotiation.)
  • Several organisations that have not paid in Levy Year 1 have paid in Levy Year 2.

NAVCA has produced this short guide for smaller charities to the Fundraising Regulator and the Code.


See under Tax and VAT above.

Events involving travel

The CAP Executive has issued guidance on travel marketing, in relation to both availability and pricing.


See under Procurement below.

Social finance

The House of Commons Treasury Committee is launching an inquiry into SME finance. In particular, it will consider the extent of competition in the market, the various sources of funding available to small businesses, including crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, and whether the current regulatory framework provides appropriate protection to SMEs when they borrow money, taking into account the lessons to be learned from RBS’ Global Restructuring Group.

EC publishes final report on sustainable finance

On 31 January 2018, the European Commission (EC) published the final report of its high-level expert group (HLEG). The group was established to develop an overarching EU roadmap on sustainable finance, with the aim of encouraging capital flow within the European financial markets towards sustainable investments. In its final report the HLEG recommended a number of priority actions which financial institutions and supervisors should take to protect the financial system from sustainability risks. It included the following:

  • Establish a classification system (or taxonomy), starting with climate mitigation, to establish market clarity on what is “sustainable”.
  • Clarify investor duties and bring greater focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when making investment decisions.
  • Improve disclosure by financial institutions and companies to make sustainable opportunities and risks transparent.
  • Develop official EU sustainability standards for some financial assets, starting with green bonds.
  • Integrate sustainability in financial institutions’ governance as well as in financial supervision.

Social Impact Bonds reach global mass: 108 projects launched in 24 countries
The Social Finance Impact Bond Database provides information on all 108 projects which have collectively raised $392 in capital to reach up to 738,000 people. To date, ten of these social impact bonds (SIBs) have reported a full capital return to investors. The US market saw particularly strong growth in 2016-2017 while SIBs are also gaining traction in low-income and developing countries. The database can be accessed here.

Carillion: Will the bells now ring for social enterprises?
BWB’s David Hunter notes opportunities and threats to the social enterprise movement. In proposing certain changes to benefit public bodies and their constituents, David hopes more opportunities will be created for social enterprises to win and deliver public services in meaningful ways to benefit the commissioning authorities, the enterprises and their service users.

Social enterprise

The House of Commons Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Committee has launched a new inquiry into government support for small businesses. The inquiry will look at what the Government can do to help small businesses improve their productivity, particularly through access to management training, the latest best business practices, and information on the availability of financial support. It will also look at the issue of late payments to small suppliers and examine the role of the new Small Business Commissioner in tackling deliberate poor treatment of these suppliers by major companies.


Housing charity Shelter has launched a commission into the future of social housing to address crucial issues which have been highlighted by the Grenfell Tower Fire. The commission will aim to give social housing tenants across the country, starting with the Grenfell community itself, a far louder say in the future of social housing. The commission will be chaired by Reverend Mike Long of the Notting Hill Methodist Church near Grenfell.

Culture and creative

HMRC has updated its guidance on creative industry tax reliefs from Corporation Tax, to provide further clarity on the operation of Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief (MGETR).


Government has published a new CCS Behavioural Insights framework which “will support public bodies to procure the expertise of organisations that offer behavioural insights – changing the way policy is developed and public services are designed, making them more efficient and in tune with the needs and preferences of the public”. The framework is available for use by central government departments and other public sector bodies including NHS Trusts, schools, universities, colleges, local authorities and the Police and Fire Services.


The government has announced that James Wates CBE has been appointed as the chair of a new industry group which will work with the Financial Reporting Council, the Institute of Directors, the Trades Union Congress and others to draw up the UK’s first set of guiding principles for large private companies.


The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has issued a news story about the new Chair of the Scottish Fundraising Panel.

OSCR has announced that it will be developing an online charity application form.

OSCR is publicising SCVO event The Gathering 2018 to be held later this month.

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 February 7, 2018.