Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 18 April

Bates Wells highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

Bates Wells’ Managing Partner Martin Bunch has been profiled in the latest issue of the Law Society Gazette, in a feature that examines many of Bates Wells’ long-term aims and recent achievements.

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At a glance

The Charity Commission has published the transcript of Baroness Stowell’s speech to the NCVO conference on Monday 16th April, her first major speech since taking up the position.

The Fundraising Regulator and Charity Commission have issued guidance about the requirements under the 2016 Act for charities above the audit threshold to include certain statements about fundraising in their trustees’ annual report.

The government has published its response to a consultation about education in out of school settings. Separately it has launched a call for evidence in relation to home schooling.

The government has published its response to the consultation on the Package Travel Directive.

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has published common queries and where to find its guidance.

Charity Commission

Baroness Stowell speech to NCVO conference

The Commission has published the transcript of Baroness Stowell’s speech to the NCVO conference, her first major speech since taking up the position. The focus of the speech is the fall in public trust and confidence in charities and the Commission’s role in helping to restore it.

New inquiry

The Commission has announced that it has opened a statutory inquiry into The Save the Children Fund (“Save the Children”) over concerns about the charity’s handling, reporting and response to serious allegations of misconduct and harassment against senior staff members in 2012 and 2015.

Safer Giving Advice

The Commission has issued a news story about safer giving, including a video and online donation tips.


In this interview with Governance & Leadership, Vicky Browning, the chief executive of ACEVO, discusses recent safeguarding media stories, ensuring reputation does not outweigh cause, and the positive reaction from the voluntary sector.

See under company law and insolvency below.

Charity law cases

In the First Tier Charity, an applicant has been unsuccessful in appealing against a decision by the Charity Commission not to register The Banbury Children’s Foundation as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (“CIO”).

Tax and VAT

The First Tier Tribunal Tax has issued judgment in an appeal by Greenisland Football Club (GFC) against a penalty issued by HMRC for £53,101.00. GFC had had a new clubhouse built and it issued the building contractor with a zero-rated certificate on the ground the clubhouse would be used solely for a relevant charitable purpose. HMRC believed the certificate was issued incorrectly because the works did not qualify for zero-rating. Greenisland Football Club’s appeal was successful.


Civil Society Media has this summary of Stuart Etherington’s speech to the NCVO conference on Monday 16th April. He touched on low pay in the sector and, in relation to safeguarding, announced Dame Mary Marsh, former chief executive of NSPCC, will lead the development of a new code of conduct for the voluntary sector, which every charity could follow.

NCVO has published the latest of its quarterly political updates, The Inside Track.


See under Data protection below for a prosecution by the ICO relating to disclosure of personal data in a safeguarding report.

Also see under Higher education section below.

Brexit news


NPC reports according to research published by the Migration Observatory, thousands of UK residents could be at risk of losing the legal status they are entitled to after we leave the EU, including many of society’s most vulnerable groups. The report, Unsettled status?, uses government data to estimate the size of different cohorts of EU citizens who could struggle to secure ‘settled status’. It finds that victims of domestic abuse, older people and children are among those at most risk.

Trade sectors

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has published a report, Smooth operations, which outlines the regulatory needs of 23 industry and service sectors following the transition period for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The report is based on conversations with UK businesses and trade associations. Some 18 out of the 23 industry and service sectors stated that they preferred convergence or alignment for the majority of regulation in their areas that mattered.

Data protection

See here for Elizabeth Denham’s speech at the Data Protection Practitioner’s Conference on 9 April 2018.

New Philanthropy Capital has published this blog “Should you trust a charity with your data?

A former housing worker who obtained a confidential report identifying a vulnerable victim, and subsequently shared that report with others, has been convicted of data protection offences by a jury at St Albans Crown Court.


Challenge events involving travel

The government has published its response to the consultation on the Package Travel Directive. The accompanying press release says the proposed new rules include:

  • an extension to current protections to cover millions of holidays booked online
  • a requirement for better information to be provided to travellers at the point of booking, making it clear what their rights to refund are
  • ensuring the business that puts together the package holiday is responsible for the entire holiday – even if some elements will be fulfilled by other companies

Regulations will be introduced in Parliament in April, with protections coming into force from 1 July 2018.

Guidance for auditors on requirement under 2016 Act for charities to make statements in their trustees’ annual report about fundraising

The Fundraising Regulator and Charity Commission have issued guidance about the requirements under the 2016 Act for charities above the audit threshold to include certain statements about fundraising in their trustees’ annual report.

Charity shops

401 of 405 local authorities responded to a Freedom of Information Request which has assisted the Charity Retail Association in preparing this report. The report finds that 51 per cent of these local authorities do not offer full business rates relief to any charity shops in their area, while 42 per cent offer no additional rate relief at all to shops in their area. Download the full report here.



See under Culture and creative below.

Out of school settings

The government has published its response to a consultation about education in out of school settings. The government has decided not to pursue the model proposed in the call for evidence but instead intend to develop further the evidence base for a national approach, including future legislation where gaps in existing powers are identified.

A Call for Evidence has been launched to ask for the views of parents and local authorities on how to ensure children receive the expected standard of education at home.

Higher education

This Guardian article argues universities need to introduce professional boundaries that clearly define the expected relationship between a staff member and a student.

Apprenticeship levy

The Open University has published a report on the first year of the Apprenticeship Levy. Charity Tax Group says the report welcomes the Levy’s intent to increase investment in skills and training, but makes a number of recommendations for how it believes the Levy could be improved.

Social finance

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published its 2018/19 business plan. The priorities in this year’s plan reflect the high level of resources the FCA needs to dedicate to Brexit, but also sets out its key priority areas for the coming year, which include a continued focus on high-cost credit, which may be of interest to those working on issues of financial inclusion and with financially vulnerable consumers.

The FCA has also published its sector views for 2018. The FCA in particular notes a rising demand from consumers for socially responsible and ethical investment options, and expects to see a growth in products available in the retail market.


See item about prosecution of a former housing worker under Data protection above.

International development

BOND has published this summary of Penny Mordaunt’s vision for international development, as explained at an event at the Wellcome Collection last week. Penny Mordaunt’s full speech is here.

Culture and creative

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb has announced £96 million to “support talented music, drama and dance pupils kick-start their career in the arts”. The money will give pupils across the country access to a range of cultural opportunities including:

  • Training at the Royal Ballet School in London;
  • Film-making classes at the BFI Film Academy;
  • Free opportunities to study art and design at their local college or university; and
  • Visits to museums and galleries, using quality resources to support their classroom teaching.

Faith based organisations

See under Education, out of school settings above.


See under Tax and VAT above.

Trade associations

See item under Brexit above.

Charity mergers

New Philanthropy Capital has published a blog “What role for mergers in federated charities?”. NPC are launching major research on mergers in the charity sector on the evening of 19th of April 2018. You can register to attend or join the conversation on Twitter.

Procurement and state aid

The government has concluded that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is best placed to take on the role of state aid regulator post-Brexit.

Company law and insolvency

Last month the government launched a consultation which puts forward a number of measures to improve corporate governance in firms that are in or approaching insolvency. It also seeks views on some other aspects of the wider corporate governance framework and whether these are working as they should. PLC has a summary of it here.

BEIS consultation on modernising consumer markets

BEIS has published a Green Paper consultation seeking views on a range of issues in relation to modern consumer markets. BEIS proposes reviewing competition and consumer regulation by focusing on the core principles of competition, free trade and high regulatory standards; improving consumer experiences in modern regulated markets; exploring the challenges of new digital markets; and ensuring consumers can get redress when the regulations are not followed. The BEIS Green Paper focuses in particular on competition efficiencies and vulnerable consumers in regulated markets, ensuring competition authorities have the tools to tackle restrictive and abusive practice in new digital sectors, and securing the benefits of open, portable data. BEIS invites responses to its consultation by 4 July 2018.


OSCR has made a statement about NHS Endowment Funds. This follows recent media reports over the use of NHS endowment funds and OSCR’s decision to open an inquiry into Tayside NHS Board Endowment Funds (charity number SC011042) on 4 April 2018. The inquiry relates to the decision by the charity trustees in 2014 to fund projects commenced by Tayside NHS Board and the circumstances of that decision. OSCR is working with the Scottish Government to collect evidence on the use of NHS endowment funds and will provide an update to the public on whether it will be undertaking inquiries into other NHS endowment fund charities in due course.

OSCR has published a summary of answers to common queries and where to find its guidance.

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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 April 18, 2018.