Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 7 November

Bates Wells highlights


NCVO has published a guide to preparing for Brexit. It includes a general checklist for all charities and an additional one for charities employing EU nationals.

See here for an article by BWB’s Vicky Cook “Should we incentivise people to volunteer?

At a glance

Last week the British Academy launched its Future of the Corporation report.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published two new sets of guidance on encryption and passwords.

The Department for Education has published updated statutory guidance on making significant changes to maintained schools.

The Fraud Advisory Panel has published “An introduction to moving money safely”.

The Financial Conduct Authority have opened up a debate on fair pricing in financial services.

Charity Commission

Interim Manager appointment

The Commission has announced that it has appointed an interim manager at the educational charity Grove Mountain (1162684) to take on the administration of the charity to the exclusion of the trustees. The charity has been subject to a statutory inquiry since August 2017, which is examining regulatory concerns about the financial management of the charity.

New inquiry

The Charity Commission has announced that it has opened an inquiry into Alternative Housing (1152412). The Charity came to the commission’s attention when it was convicted of several breaches of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. The inquiry is examining the extent to which there was: misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity; a significant breach of trust or non-compliance with charity law; and a significant risk to charity property and /or beneficiaries. The inquiry has found that the charity has ceased to operate and has removed it from the Register of Charities.

Annual Return

The Commission’s Annual Return guidance has been updated to include full details about the 2018 return, including the deadline for completing it, all of the questions and information about the new Change your Charity Details service (as, from 12 November, these must be checked and updated before the Annual Return can be accessed).

Charity Fraud

The Commission’s main guidance has been updated with links to the materials from the recent Charity Fraud Awareness Week.


Last week the British Academy launched its Future of the Corporation report, which “identifies a need to re-think radically how business will meet 21st century environmental, social and economic demands, as well as the challenges of technological advances and globalisation.” Bates Wells supports the findings of this research which proposes a new framework based on three interconnected principles, each of which are designed to help redefine the corporation model around the concept of purpose. For more see here.

Tax and VAT

Charity Tax Group reports the deadline for applications under the VAT refund scheme allowing galleries and museums to reclaim VAT incurred on most goods and services purchased in order to fund free admissions has been extended until 4 January 2019.



NCVO has published a guide “Brexit and the voluntary sector: preparing for change”.

Data Protection

New ICO guidance

The Information Commission’s Office has published two new sets of guidance on encryption and passwords. Both provide information on how to protect against data breaches (e.g. monitoring frequent incorrect login attempts and how to implement encryption).


Online fundraising sites

Third Sector reports Gerald Oppenheim, CEO of the Fundraising Regulator (FR), has said its ultimate sanction for sites that do not comply with FR recommendations is to “name and shame” them publicly.


See this BWB blog about charities and legacy fraud.



In a joint letter sent to all school leaders today (Monday 5 November), co-signed by multiple organisations including Ofsted and the Confederation of Schools Trusts, the Education Secretary has committed to reduce the need to collect unnecessary or excessive pupil data, to support school leaders to help deal with the workload associated with teacher appraisals and make better use of technology to simplify data systems.

The Department for Education has published updated statutory guidance on making significant changes (“prescribed alterations”) to maintained schools (such as expansion, changing age ranges or adding a sixth form). This revised version of the guidance updates the previous 2016 version. The guidance will be reviewed again in October 2019.

The Crown Prosecution Service has brought its first prosecution against an unregistered independent school in England and Wales. On 24 October 2018, the Al-Istiqamah Learning Centre Limited, its head teacher and director were each convicted at Westminster Magistrates’ Court of running an unregistered school contrary to section 96(1) and (2) of the Education and Skills Act 2008. Sentencing of the defendants is yet to be fixed.

Secure schools

The government has opened applications for specialist, not-for-profit education providers to apply to run the UK’s first Secure School. This provides a custodial setting for young people which is focused on education and health services.

Children’s Services

NESTA has launched the Future Ready Fund, a £250,000 fund to support high-potential, early-stage interventions that promote wider skills in secondary-age (11-18) young people, focusing on social and emotional skills and resilience.

Health and social care

Last week’s budget announcements included an additional £650 million for social care funding next year. The government also plans to publish a social care Green Paper.

Social Finance

The Fraud Advisory Panel has published “An introduction to moving money safely”. It looks particularly useful for charities moving money across international borders.

Pioneers Post reports on the opening of the Global Impact Investing Network’s (GIIN) Forum in Paris. Amit Bouri (CEO, GIIN) noted that impact investing needs the entire investment industry to get behind the movement or else it could easily lose momentum. Despite the GIIN’s Forum being attended by over 1,200 delegates from 80 countries, business as usual might continue unless there is “systemic change” in investing.

Charity Finance Group has published its October 2018 Finance Focus. It includes an article by BWB’s David Hunter about social impact bonds.

The Financial Conduct Authority have opened up a debate on fair pricing in financial services. The discussion paper, published last week, sets out the FCA’s framework for assessing the fairness of and harm caused by price discrimination and explores how pricing practices can potentially disadvantage some consumers significantly, in particular the most vulnerable and least resilient consumers. The paper may be of particular interest to those working in responsible finance and financial inclusion. The FCA seeks comments on the issues raised in the discussion paper by 31 January 2019.

Social enterprise

Following the resignation of Tracey Crouch as Minister for Civil Society, Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) have issued a call to action asking the Prime Minister to create a dedicated Minister for Social Enterprise and Inclusive Economy in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Luke Fletcher, partner in Bates Wells’ Charities & Social Enterprise team, has joined many other leading individuals across the social enterprise sector in supporting the case for a new ministerial role which puts the inclusive economy at its heart of its work. For more see here.

See here for a list of community interest companies (CICs) registered in October 2018.

International development

The UK has secured a significant change to the international aid rules to allow high income countries, which experience economic shocks, caused by crises and natural disasters, to apply to receive assistance.

Culture and creative

See under Tax and VAT above.


Shale gas developers could be required to consult local communities, even before submitting a planning application, following the launch of the latest government consultation seeking to further reform shale industry practice in England.

The Advertising Standards Authority has not upheld two complaints about content on Friends of the Earth website. The complainant challenged whether the following claims could be substantiated and were misleading:

1. “Fracking is incompatible with tackling climate change”; and

2. “Fracking risks contaminating groundwater” in combination with the image of the tap.

See here for the ASA’s full reasoning for rejecting the complaints.


BWB’s Vicky Cook has written this article “Should we incentivise people to volunteer?

See here for an academic report reviewing the factors influencing participation in volunteering.


The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has published its British Sign Language (BSL) Plan, which closely follows the Scottish Government’s BSL national plan.

Northern Ireland

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has appointed Deloitte NI Limited as interim manager of the charity Morning Star House (NIC101035) which is currently under a statutory inquiry focussing on safeguarding, please see here.

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 November 7, 2018.