Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 10 October

Bates Wells highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

The Charity Commission has published its statement of Strategic Intent, setting out its key objectives for 2018-2023. See today’s Briefing for more details and see here for BWB comment.

To co-incide with Charity Fraud Awareness Week, BWB’s Mindy Jittay is speaking at our Cybersecurity and Fraud event, providing key details for not-for-profits.

At a glance

A Manchester firm has been fined £150,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office for making thousands of nuisance direct marketing phone calls.

The government has announced a £240 million “social care investment” to ease NHS winter pressures.

Five Youth Performance Partnerships are to be created in England to give young people greater access to the performing arts.

Charity Commission

New CC Strategy

On 4 October, the Commission published its statement of Strategic Intent, setting out its key objectives for 2018-2023. The document includes a new statement of the Commission’s purpose, which is “…to ensure charity can thrive and inspire trust so that people can improve lives and strengthen society.” There are then five strategic objectives which are: holding charities to account, dealing with wrongdoing and harm, informing public choice, giving charities the understanding and tools needed to succeed, and keeping charity relevant for today’s world.

In the accompanying news story, the Commission says that the new purpose will inform everything it does, and that the new purpose and Statement of Strategic Intent do not replace the regulator’s statutory objectives. which it will continue to fulfil.

The transcript of Baroness Stowell’s speech at the RSA on Thursday evening, which launched the new strategy, has also been published. Some of the points made in the speech are:

  • There is a basic public expectation that a charity must behave like one. The Commission will do more to hold charities to account against that expectation. A charity must be a living example of charitable purpose, charitable attitudes, and charitable behaviour.
  • As well as the compliance role, the CC also has a leadership role, and a powerful voice, and has a responsibility to use these. For example, in future, the CC should make better use of technology, to become quicker at concluding straightforward enforcement cases.
  • Baroness Stowell wants to ensure that no complaint about a charity is ignored, so that those that don’t result in regulatory action inform the trend data, and in turn help the CC to become more proactive in preventing problems in charities in the first place.
  • The CC will aim to provide a better service to trustees who are trying to run their charity well, to provide advice, facilitate collaborations and mergers, and provide swift and user-friendly permissions where these are required.
  • The CC should make better use of the information and data gathered about charities.
  • Baroness Stowell sees no benefit in a deliberately adversarial approach and will be championing charitable behaviour, as much as drawing attention to shortcomings or failings.

For comment, see:

Charity fraud awareness week

The Commission is publicising the upcoming third annual charity fraud awareness week and letting charities know how they can get involved

As part of Charity Fraud Awareness Week, BWB will be present an educational seminar in conjunction with Santander’s Cyber Crime Unit’s head security consultant, Paul Sudbury, along with Rob Oakley and Mindy Jhittay of BWB’s dispute resolution team. The event will provide attendees with some practical guidance on how to protect their organisation from cybercrime and fraud and, should if organisations do become a victim, what steps to take in the short and medium term. Click here for more information and to register your interest in attending.

CC News

Issue 61 of CC news has been published. Topics covered include, reminders about completing Annual Returns, safeguarding duties, the new rules on automatic disqualification, charity fraud risks and the latest Public Trust and Confidence report.

Charitable status of journalism

BWB Partner Lawrie Simanowitz has responded to a consultation launched by the Cairncross Review, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport’s (DCMS) investigation into how sustainable, high-quality journalism can be nurtured at a time when the media continues to face significant commercial challenges. In his submission to the DCMS Lawrie’s principal focus is on the sixth question posed by the consultation: “what do you consider to be the most effective and efficient policy levers to deliver a sustainable future for high quality journalism?” Arguing that “strong new measures are urgently needed to ensure the financial sustainability of the press”, he suggests that media organisations could change their funding models by registering as a charity. For further detail of Lawrie’s response, see here.


On 4 October 2018, Charity Finance Group (CFG) launched the first Gift Aid Awareness Day to address the estimated £560m of Gift Aid which remains unclaimed every year. CFG are encouraging charities to use the day to equip their staff and volunteers with essential facts, so they are condiment in answering questions from existing and potential donors. CFG has published a package of resources which can be downloaded for free from here.

Charity Tax Group has flagged a new report from the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) which takes a strategic look at the general approach to providing guidance for taxpayers. Recommendations include:

  • A New Model for guidance should be adopted, building upon the current innovative programme that uses new ways of delivery, moving the emphasis to the taxpayer’s needs, away from the needs of HMRC officers.
  • HMRC should have a senior Strategic Head of Guidance, with remodelling guidance as a key departmental priority in HMRC’s operating plan.
  • HMRC should form an ‘advice and guidance panel’ to advise and support HMRC in this endeavour. The panel could consist of senior HMRC officers, respected tax specialists and academics.
  • HMRC should set a strategy of clearly identifying three levels of guidance so that users can immediately see the level of complexity of the material they are about to read. Level 1: simple guidance, for the majority of individual taxpayers. Level 2: more advanced guidance, primarily aimed at more sophisticated taxpayers and others in business. Level 3: HMRC’s technical manuals, primarily for tax advisers.
  • HMRC should undertake a consultation on the circumstances in which a taxpayer can rely on published guidance and the extent to which a taxpayer will be subject to interest, penalties and the tax in dispute where guidance is found to be incorrect.
  • HMRC should be clearer when its guidance is knowingly giving a statement of HMRC’s opinion rather than something it considers to be generally accepted.

Charity Tax Group also reports the Economic and Financial Affairs Council has adopted a proposal which amends the existing EU VAT directive (2006/112/EC) in order to allow Member States to apply, if they so wish, the same VAT rate to e-publications such as e-books and online newspapers as for their printed equivalents, removing provisions that excluded e-publications from the favourable tax treatment allowed for traditional printed publications.

Also see under Social Impact.

Data protection

A Manchester firm has been fined £150,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for making thousands of nuisance direct marketing phone calls.


See under Culture and creative below.


The government has announced a £240 million “social care investment” to ease NHS winter pressures. The extra funding is aimed at reducing delayed transfers of care and will be allocated to councils based on the adult social care relative needs formula.

Social finance

Tecnometry, in partnership with the Charity Investors’ Group (CIG), publishes quarterly “The Tecnometry CIG Charity Fund Universe”, to provide a representative peer group for the analysis of UK charity investment performance. See here for their last quarterly report.

Social impact

On Wednesday 7 November BWB is hosting a Philanthropy Impact seminar “Tax reliefs and how to maximise your clients’ social impact”. The Chair is Cliff Prior, CEO, Big Society Capital and on the Panel are:

  • Jamie Broderick, SITR investor
  • James Dickens, Director & Chartered Financial Planner, Grierson Dickens
  • Dawn Muspratt, Co-Founder & CEO, Our Power
  • Grace England, Investment Manager, Resonance

Culture and creative

Five Youth Performance Partnerships are to be created in England to give young people greater access to the performing arts. The £5m scheme will bring arts organisations and schools together to teach practical performance skills both on and off stage, including drama, dance, art, creative writing, lighting, sound and set design.

Late payment

The government has announced steps to increase business confidence in the Prompt Payment Code. The Small Business Commissioner will join the Code’s Compliance Board and the Board will publish its decisions, including any decision to remove a signatory from the Code for non-compliance. In addition, BEIS has issued a call for evidence, seeking views on further measures to tackle late payment of smaller businesses. The issues raised include whether businesses should make one of their non-executive directors specifically responsible for the company’s prompt payment performance, whether the government should further define “grossly unfair”, as used in late payment legislation, and whether small businesses should be encouraged to make more use of accounting software and finance options. The deadline for responses is 29 November 2018.


The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has published a video on its website from its recent “Meet the Regulator” event in Edinburgh.

OSCR has published its latest edition of its newsletter, OSCR reporter, which contains a round-up of recent OSCR news stories.

Northern Ireland

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) is reminding members of the public to respond to its current consultation on its Strategic Plan 2019-2022, which runs until 12 November. The plan aims to address how the regulator can fulfil its objectives effectively, in light of ongoing reductions in public spending, and proposals include:

  • implementing a new risk framework, which will enable the Commission to identify registration/casework applications, annual monitoring submissions and concerns about charities which carry a low risk of damaging public trust and confidence in the sector. Resources can then be focused on higher risk issues and cases.
  • reducing the Commission’s engagement with public events and research, focussing resources instead on support such as registration and annual reporting workshops.
  • deploying staff from other areas of the Commission to support charity registration.
  • reviewing processes currently requiring consent to identify a de minimis level policy that would not require consent. For example, authorised transactions incurring small sums of money such as a gift under £100 on the retirement of a long serving charity employee or volunteer.

CCNI has announced that the interim manager of NI charity Rehabilitate Youth Ireland (NIC101040) has taken the decision to remove the charity from the register. The statutory inquiry into concerns about the charity’s governance and administration remains ongoing.

CCNI has announced that former editor of the Irish News and deputy editor of the Belfast Telegraph, Nick Garbutt will be guest speaker at the regulator’s public meeting on Monday 15 October 2018, speaking on the topic of how to protect a charity’s reputation.



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 October 10, 2018.