Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 28 March

Bates Wells highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published guidance on relying on “legitimate interest” as a basis for processing data. See today’s Briefing for this and other data protection news.

The BWB Briefing will take a break next week returning the week beginning Monday 9th April.

At a glance

The Charity Commission has published two pieces of written evidence which it has submitted to the inquiry into freedom of speech in universities launched by the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Various NGOs, DFID, the Charity Commission and safeguarding experts have pledged to improve safeguarding standards, following the Safeguarding Summit on 5 March 2018.

A pensions white paper has been published.

Charity Commission

Evidence to inquiry on freedom of speech in universities

The Commission has published two pieces of written evidence which it has submitted to the inquiry into freedom of speech in universities launched by the Joint Committee on Human Rights in November 2017. The Commission also gave oral evidence to the inquiry. The evidence covers the Commission’s views on the fiduciary duties of trustees, the meaning of ‘advancement of education’ in charity law, and the charity law framework as applied to students’ unions.

New resources on tackling fraud

The Commission has published new resources on tackling fraud in the charity sector, including a new report on preventing fraud, produced by the Commission in conjunction with the Fraud Advisory Centre and supported by Crowe Clark Whitehill, and other related publications.

Returning donations

Third Sector has reported on a speech by Sarah Atkinson of the Charity Commission warning charities not to be hasty to return donations without checking the legal position.


See here for NCVO’s March Governance round-up. It includes tips on applying the Governance code to small and medium sized charities, and also a blog with lessons from a charity’s merger.

Tax and accounting

Gift Aid

Following the publication of a government report that has found that £560m of Gift Aid goes unclaimed every year, Charity Finance Group is launching a “Gift Aid Awareness Day” for charities across the country on the 4th October 2018.


The BBC Radio 4 series “The Charity Business” can be downloaded here. There have been three episodes covering fundraising, service delivery and impact.

Cancer Research has announced from now on all internships will be paid making it one of the first major UK charities to abolish unpaid internships.


Bond reports that NGOs, DFID, the Charity Commission and safeguarding experts have pledged to improve safeguarding standards, following the Safeguarding Summit on 5 March 2018.

Data protection


The Information Commissioner’s Office has published guidance on relying on “legitimate interest” as a basis for processing data. See here for comment on the guidance from the Institute of Fundraising.

Data protection bill

The version of the Bill amended by the Public Bill Committee and published last week includes several new exceptions available for processing special category data for purposes of the substantial public interest:

  • Support for individuals with a particular disability or medical condition – specifically designed to help charities
  • Safeguarding of children and of individuals at risk
  • Safeguarding of economic wellbeing of certain individuals

We are hoping these provisions or even better versions will make it into the final Act.

A submission made by BWB to the Public Bills Committee in relation to the Data Protection Bill has been published.


EU Withdrawal Bill

The UK and the EU negotiators have agreed on the legal text for the transition period. On 19 March 2018, the UK government and the European Commission published a draft withdrawal agreement which includes the text agreed by the negotiators on the post-Brexit transition period. The UK government has now agreed that the transition period will end on 31 December 2020.

Health and Social Care

The Commons Health and Social Care Committee has published a report on Brexit and medicines, medical devices and substances of human origin in which it calls for patient safety to be prioritised in the next stage of Brexit negotiations.


The Lord EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has launched an inquiry into the impact of Brexit on plant and animal biosecurity.

In a speech at Prosperity UK, Michael Gove discussed the protection of our environment, as well as a new era for farming and fishing outside the EU.


See above under Charity Commission (returning donations) and the GDPR section of Data Protection.

Fundraising Regulator

The Fundraising Regulator is asking for feedback on its website.

Prize draws

The Advertising Standard Authority has upheld a complaint about a prize draw mailing sent out by Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation. The ASA concluded the direct mailing implied that consumers had already won a prize, that they were luckier than they were and exaggerated their chances of winning, and therefore was in breach of the Code.

Children’s services

Five new Regional Adoption Agencies have been granted £3.4 million. The additional funding will go to 17 councils to speed up the matching process between children awaiting adoption and adoptive families, as well as improving adopter recruitment and reducing costs.



The Department for Education has published the terms of reference for a review into school exclusions in England. The review is scheduled to report at the end of 2018, and intends to examine how head teachers use exclusion in practice, and why some groups of pupils are more likely to be excluded than others. The review will not examine the powers head teachers have to exclude pupils. The review intends to examine the differences in exclusion rates between individual schools and geographical areas. The review will also examine the differences in exclusion rates between groups of pupils: currently pupils from certain ethnic groups, pupils eligible for free school meals, pupils with special educational needs, looked after children, and children in need are more likely to be excluded from school than other pupils. The review will examine the factors behind these differences and make recommendations for best practice in this area. A consultation on the terms of reference has also been published. The consultation closes on 6 May 2018.

Post-18 education

See first item under Charity Commission above.

The independent panel appointed to inform the Government’s Review of Post-18 Education and Funding has launched a call for evidence.

Access to work

Under new measures introduced in Parliament, by April 2018, hundreds of disabled employees will benefit from a £15,000 increase to Access to Work grants. These added funds to Access to Work grants will aid in expanding the reach of these benefits and ensure that disabled people, particularly those in the deaf community, can receive the necessary support in their workplaces. These measures follow the governments plan to employee an additional million disabled people by 2027.

Social finance

CORE, alongside other civil society organisations, independent experts, Members of the European Parliament and trade unions have written to the President of the European Commission to urge the Commission to include a human rights mandate for the Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance. The letter calls on the Commission to include human rights expertise in the technical expert group from the outset, and ensure that a human rights-based approach is adopted in the development and classification of all activities meant to contribute to climate mitigation and adaptation.

The FCA has published a webpage reminding societies registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 of forthcoming changes to their audit requirements (see above under Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies). Currently, some societies registered under the Act can disapply the requirement to appoint a qualified auditor to audit their accounts if, in the previous year of account, their assets were below the value of £2.8 million and their turnover was below £5.6 million. From 6 April 2018 these thresholds will change to £5.1 million worth of assets and £10.2 million of turnover. However, the changes do not apply to several types of society, such as credit unions, societies that hold deposits, subsidiaries of other societies or some groups -which must still appoint a qualified auditor to audit their account. In addition, the changes do not apply fully to societies that are charities. For these societies, the assets threshold will increases to £5.1 million but the turnover threshold will remain at £250,000.

Dormant accounts programme for improving financial inclusion

The government has published a statement of intent for the programme for the use of £55m in funding from dormant bank and building society accounts to improve financial inclusion. The programme will be designed jointly by DCMS and the Big Lottery Fund, working closely with HM Treasury, the DWP, the FCA, and the Money Advice Service. The Financial Inclusion programme will commit a total of £55m between 2018-2022 to increase the use of fair, affordable and appropriate financial products and services that boost savings, increase protection against shocks, smooth incomes and increase access to and use of fair, affordable and appropriate credit.

FCA publishes approach to supervision and enforcement

The FCA has published consultation papers for supervision and enforcement, which may be of interest to all regulated firms. Both approach documents are open for consultation until 21 June 2018. The final approach documents will be published later this year.

Pensions joint consultation launched

The FCA and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) are widely consulting stakeholders to understand their views on risks and opportunities in the pensions and retirement income sector. The document sets out the two regulators’ definition of what makes up the sector, clarifies their respective regulatory remits, and sets out the areas of focus they would like to explore with stakeholders. Feedback is sought by 19 June 2018.

Social enterprise

Community Interest Companies and agents, who file on behalf of CICs, can participate in user-testing the new online report and accounts filing service from Companies House.

Campaigning and political activity

The government has announced the first-ever National Democracy Week Awards, which will take place as part of the inaugural National Democracy Week (2-8 July).


The government has published a pensions white paper.


BEIS has published a consultation paper on corporate governance and insolvency. It seeks view on proposals designed to improve the corporate governance of firms facing, or in, in insolvency. The proposals include:

  • New measures under which directors of parent companies would be held to account where creditors are prejudiced by the sale of an insolvent subsidiary.
  • Allowing the Insolvency Service’s to investigate the conduct of directors of dissolved companies.

The consultation also seeks views on possible reforms designed to improve wider corporate governance framework following recent company failures. The consultation closes on 11 June 2018.


See under Health above.

OSCR’s Head of Engagement, Jude Turbyne, has written a blog about the current issues for charities around safeguarding.

The Government has issued a paper confirming that it will make changes to ensure that Scottish tax payers can benefit from the right rate of tax relief on Gift Aid despite the changes to income tax rates in Scotland in April 2018. Gift Aid will continue to be paid to charities at the basic rate, with Scottish taxpayers able to claim the correct amount of additional relief.

Northern Ireland

CCNI is running a series of free good governance seminars in association with the Developing Governance Group.

CCNI is publicising the Cyber Security – Small charities guide published by the National Cyber Security Centre.


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 March 28, 2018.