Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 12 June

Bates Wells highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

The charity, the British and Foreign Bible Society has been fined £100,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office, after criminals gained access to supporter data via the charity’s website.

At a glance

The Charity Commission has published information about the 2018 annual return service which will be available later in the summer.

The Fundraising Regulator has published a new section of the Code of Fundraising Practice covering fundraising platforms, and accompanying guidance.

The Competition and Markets Authority has published guidance for care homes for the elderly on charging fees after a resident’s death, and is consulting on consumer law compliance guidance for the sector.

DCMS has opened up its next round of funding for public service mutuals.

The Institute for Public Policy Research has published “The Charity Workforce in Post-Brexit Britain – Immigration and Skills Policy for the Third Sector”.

Charity Commission

Charity Annual return 2018

The Commission has published information about the 2018 annual return service which will be available later in the summer. As there are some new questions on the new annual return, the Commission is suggesting charities can start preparing for those now. The Commission says that it recognises that the new questions will create additional work for some charities, so some questions are voluntary this year, to give charities time to put in place the systems to collect the information more easily in future years. The new questions relate to:

  • Income from outside the UK
  • Overseas expenditure
  • Salaries and benefits in charities

New inquiry

The Commission has announced that it has opened an inquiry into Christian charity Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries International (1100416). The charity has repeatedly failed to submit returns and financial information to the Commission on time and its accounts for 2014 and 2015 were qualified by its auditors and in September 2017 the Commission was made aware of potentially significant losses to the charity. The Commission is concerned about apparent failures within the administration and management of the charity which have resulted in an environment in which such losses could occur, and continued to occur over a prolonged period. The charity operates through a network of approximately 40 separate branches, which are allowed a degree of autonomy from the main charity. The Commission has identified concerns as to the adequacy of the trustees’ oversight and control over the individual branches. The Commission also has concerns about the trustees’ failure to promptly report serious incidents to the Commission and to the police.

Charity names

London Business School, which is an exempt charity set up by Royal Charter, has successfully obtained an order from the Company Names Tribunal ordering a company using the name “London Business School of Management Limited” to change its name and pay £800 costs. (The proceedings were undefended.)

Tax and VAT

NCVO reports the chair of the Charity Tax Commission, Sir Nicholas Montagu, has written a provocative article asking whether we should question the indiscriminate approach to charitable tax reliefs. He suggests we might want to start asking some awkward questions about whether public benefit could be increased if we distinguished between charities by size, purpose, demonstrable impact, geographical location or other criteria.


The Institute for Public Policy Research has published “The Charity Workforce in Post-Brexit Britain – Immigration and Skills Policy for the Third Sector”.

NCVO has also published this blog “Are EU staff leaving the charity sector?

Data protection


The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has added guidance on the General Data Protection Regulation’s ((EU) 2016/679) (GDPR) seven key principles to its Guide to the GDPR.

ICO fines

The charity, the British and Foreign Bible Society has been fined £100,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office, after their computer network was compromised as the result of a cyber-attack in 2016. The Society receives card payments from supporters in the UK but held supporter details on an insufficiently secure network – the password was easy to guess and there were other failures to maximise security.


Fundraising platforms

Following a consultation earlier this year, the Fundraising Regulator has published:

Fundraising Platforms have an implementation period until the end of August 2018 to comply with these new requirements.



Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary, has joined with the Institute of Directors to call on more than 30,000 leading British businesses to encourage their employees to serve as governors of schools and colleges. The Education Secretary will announce that the budget for training and support for this “army of volunteers” will be doubled to £6 million up to 2021 to ensure more school leaders have access to training courses to build on their existing skills.

Schools across the country are being encouraged to wear green and help their local communities as part of Green for Grenfell Day on Friday 15 June.

Higher education

The Universities Minister has called for better value for money for students – see this speech made at the HEPI annual conference.

Health and social care

In relation to care homes for the elderly, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA):

  • Upfront information. What information care homes should provide to prospective residents and their representatives, and when and how they should do so. For example, in addition to highlighting the essential information on the home’s website and in information packs and marketing materials, homes must train staff to explain it to people when they make initial inquiries over the phone, by email or in person.
  • Treating residents fairly. What care homes should do to ensure that their contract terms and the way they treat residents and their representatives are fair under consumer law. The rules reflect the CMA’s non-sector specific guidance on unfair contract terms (CMA 37). Of interest is the comment that upfront fees are discouraged where no specific service is provided in return. Examples given include fees for admissions or settling in services, which are in fact paid for through the regular residential fees.
  • Quality of service and complaints handling.

The deadline for responses is 12 July 2018.

A cross-government plan has been launched to support unpaid carers. The 2-year plan will raise the profile of carers, improve employment opportunities and help to better identify young carers.

New research into funding for adult social care has been published. The Review of Adult Social Care Relative Needs Formulae proposes a new formula to be used with the Local Government Finance Settlement.

Social finance

DCMS has opened up its next round of funding for public service mutuals. See this BWB Briefing for comment and details.

Melanie Mills (Director of Social Sector Engagement, Big Society Capital) writes a blog post to raise awareness about Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR). This post includes a video of Breadshare’s (a social enterprise) chief baker explaining SITR which offers charities a new way to raise investment by offering a 30% tax break to investors.

Power to Change and Social Finance have authored this publication which calls on local authorities to rethink the way they make investments. The paper highlights how councils can invest in the community in a way that delivers economic, social and environmental benefits for council taxpayers while also delivering a financial return for councils.

Spin outs

See under Social finance above.

As part of its Bigger Thinking series, the Employee Ownership Association has published “Supporting the Spinouts”.

International development

Charities who help people with disabilities have received a UK aid funding boost.

Housing and homelessness

The government has announced 83 areas will share £30 million to boost the immediate support available to people living on the streets and help them into accommodation.

The High Court has granted permission for the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JWCI) (with the support of the Residential Landlords Association (RLA)) to challenge the Right to Rent policy by way of judicial review.

Asset of community value

The Court of Appeal has considered the test for listing an asset of community value. St Albans and City District Council (council) had listed a field as an asset of community value pursuant to section 88 of the Localism Act 2011 (LA 2011) following a nomination by a residents’ association which said the field had been used extensively by local residents for recreational activities and maintained by them for more than 40 years without any objection by the landowner. The land owner argued that, as a matter of law, “actual use” for the purposes of section 88 of the LA 2011 must mean lawful use. Since the actual use of the field by the local residents, apart from the public footpaths over it, was a trespass, and unlawful, it could not therefore form the basis (or a qualifying use) for the purpose of listing an asset as being of community value. The Court of Appeal held that the council was entitled to list the field as an asset of community value. The words “actual use” in section 88 of the LA 2011 were on their face, unambiguous, and if construed literally, were plainly apt to cover the actual use that the local community made of the field.


The Minister for Implementation, Oliver Dowden, has announced a review that will make recommendations on how to encourage more disabled people to apply for public appointments.

Community interest companies

See here for a list of CICs registered in May 2018.

On Wednesday 20th June, the CIC Regulator is running a 30 min webinar about CICs and funding, dividends and Tax Relief. See here for details and how to sign up.


Under new laws to be laid in Parliament on Monday 11 June, big firms will have to justify their chief executives’ salaries and reveal the gap to their average UK worker. It means that for the first time, UK listed companies with more than 250 UK employees will have to disclose and explain this difference – known as ‘pay ratios’ – every year. In addition to the reporting of pay ratios, the new laws will also:

  • require all large companies to report on how their directors take employee and other stakeholder interests into account
  • require large private companies to report on their responsible business arrangements
  • require listed companies to show what effect an increase in share prices will have on executive pay to inform shareholders when voting on long-term incentive plans

Subject to Parliamentary approval, the regulations will come into effect from 1 January 2019 meaning that companies will start reporting their pay ratios in 2020.


OSCR has published new guidance for Scottish charities on reducing the risk of fraud.

OSCR has published its newsletter for June. Topics covered include: interim safeguarding guidance, GDPR and how to publicise that you are a Scottish charity.

Northern Ireland

CCNI has announced that it will take part in a live annual reporting Twitter Q & A from noon until 1pm on Thursday 14 June.



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 June 12, 2018.