Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 18 December

Bates Wells highlights

Social Enterprise

This is our last Bates Wells Briefing for 2019. The next one will be sent out the week beginning Monday 7th January. Thanks for reading this year and have a great festive season!

At a glance

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published an update on data protection and Brexit.

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced £1 billion of funding to upgrade NHS services in England.

Charity Commission

Fraud Alert

The Commission is warning charities of the risk of “CEO fraud” via Christmas Gift Cards. This involves the fraudulent impersonation of a senior figure within a charity, requesting that gift card vouchers are purchased for staff as a Christmas present. Transfers of funds are requested to a bank account belonging to the fraudsters. The alert is based on reports made to Action Fraud and adds to previous Commission advice on CEO fraud. Also see this BWB Briefing.

Blog post

The Commission has published a guest blog from the Social Change Agency on the subject of recruiting more younger trustees.

Tax and VAT


Charity Tax Group reports the Irish Government has confirmed that there will be a new VAT relief scheme made available to charities who want to apply for exemptions. CTG says “While the fund, which is capped at €5 million a year, is modest it sets an important precedent by recognising the obstacles that VAT presents to charities.” For more see here.

Also see under Social Finance below.


The Safeguarding Training Fund (a joint funded programme between the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and the Big Lottery Fund) is calling for bids from organisations which can provide, develop, and coordinate a national and generic safeguarding package for charities. Initial expressions of interest must be made by midday on 14th January.

Data protection


The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published:


London-based firm Tax Returned Limited has been fined £200,000 by the ICO for sending out millions of unsolicited marketing text messages.

Appeal against ICO fine

The Information Rights First-tier Tribunal has ruled against an appeal in Holmes Financial Solutions Limited v Information Commissioner. The ICO had imposed a £300,000 fine for a breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) in relation to nuisance calls. Holmes had appealed on the basis the fine was disproportionate as it could potentially lead the company to litigation and it was in any case unable to pay the penalty. The question in the case was whether the Information Commission had exercised her discretion appropriately and it was decided that she had. This suggests that it would be difficult to appeal a fine imposed by the ICO.


Public fundraising

The Institute of Fundraising has reported on how its new compliance framework for public fundraising has led to a reduced number of complaints about public fundraising. Improvements include:

  • That the number of Mystery Shopping penalty points handed out to organisations participating in Street Fundraising have declined year on year;
  • local councils are giving positive feedback on the IOF’s Site Management Agreements (SMA’s) across the UK with 92% of councils saying that they believe their SMA has been effective or very effective, and almost two thirds (63%) reporting that there have been fewer complaints reported since the IOF agreements have been put in place.


See here for BWB’s last Legacies Roundup of 2018. It covers the new probate fees and HMRC’s consultation on taxation of trusts.


Education Secretary Damian Hinds has announced an additional £350 million to support children with complex needs and disabilities.

Further education

The second round of the £5 million Taking Teaching Further programme has opened. Bids are being invited from colleges and post-16 providers to attract industry professionals to teach in further education.

Children and youth services

See under Education above.

The Home Secretary Sajid Javid has launched the bidding process to choose an organisation or consortium that will run the £200 million Youth Endowment Fund. Announced in October as part of the government’s long-term plan to tackle serious violence, the Fund will provide a 10 year investment to support interventions steering young people away from becoming involved in violent crime or re-offending.


The Department of Health and Social Care has announced £1 billion of funding to upgrade NHS services in England. A total of 75 projects will receive money to upgrade facilities and treat more patients, including mental health and new integrated care services in the community.

Social finance

The Financial Conduct Authority is working with the government, not-for-profit sector and wider finance industry to support alternative  forms of affordable credit, such as exploring a no-interest loans scheme and supporting the development of a new organisation to deploy £55m dormant accounts funds for financial inclusion work.

Responsible Finance (trade association for 50 lenders) have released a new report which states that the number of loans to social enterprises in 2018 increased to 475 but their total value fell from £142m in 2017 to £138m in 2018. The report is based on data supplied by 36 members of Responsible Finance. The full report is available here.

The Loan Market Association, together with the Asia Pacific Loan Market Association and the Loan Syndications and Trading Association, has published an updated version of the Green Loan Principles (the “Principles”) providing more in-depth explanation of how the Principles can be applied to revolving credit facilities whilst maintaining the integrity of the green loan product.

Immigration change for charities and faith based organisations

The government has published a new statement of changes (HC1779) which confirms that a 12 month cooling off period will be introduced for Tier 5 religious and charity workers with effect from 10 January 2019. If an application has been made for entry clearance or leave to enter or remain before 10 January 2019, the application will be decided in accordance with the Immigration Rules in force on 9 January 2019. This means that the individuals will need to spend a minimum of 12 months outside the UK before returning in either category. For further information or advice, please speak to your usual BWB contact or BWB’s Chetal Patel.


The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has published top tips for charities when asking for donations over the festive season.

OSCR Chief Executive David Robb will be leaving in early 2019 after seven years in the role.

Civil Society Media reports the Scottish Government has agreed additional funding for OSCR.


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 December 18, 2018.