Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 4 December

Bates Wells highlights

Social Enterprise

The Information Commissioner’s Office has confirmed it has issued the first fines to organisations that have failed to pay the new data protection fee. It is reported two charities are amongst those fined. See today’s Briefing for how to check if your organisation is up to date with any fees due.

Our “Getting to Grips with GDPR” event series continues in the new year with Data Security Incidents: What are we expected to do and when? Find out more and book your place here.

At a glance

The Government has published a “Code of Conduct for Recipients of Government General Grants”.

The Fundraising Regulator has announced it will name all organisations it investigates, whether the complaint is upheld or not.

A new report released by CAF shows the continued rise of donor advised funds in the UK.

The government is consulting on new guidance to help parents avoid unsafe out-of-school settings.

NCVO has launched the Governance Wheel, a simple tool that helps boards of voluntary organisations quickly get a visual picture of how well they’re functioning and fulfilling their roles.

Charity Commission

Warning to charities operating in Syria and Turkey

The Commission has issued an alert to warn charities and charitable appeals which are operating in Syria or Turkey, directly or via partners, that there is a risk that a terrorist organisation may financially benefit from any aid passing through the Bab Al-Hawa crossing.

Fundraising Regulatory Alert

The Commission has issued a regulatory alert about postage stamp fraud in relation to fundraising. It says that stamp fraud involves the preparation, distribution and sale of previously used stamps for reuse and that charities which collect used stamps as a method of fundraising can be targets for this fraud.

SORP consultation

The Charity Commission is encouraging comments on the consultation which opened last week on the development process of the Charities SORP. The consultation document is on the SORP website.

New inquiry

The Charity Commission has announced that it has opened an inquiry into Buddhist charity Rigpa Fellowship (279315).

Charity law cases

A further appeal has been filed in the First Tier Charity Tribunal relating to the Charity Commission’s decision not to remove the following three charities from the register of charities: The JNF Charitable Trust; The JNF Educational Trust; and KKL Charity Accounts. The appeal has been brought by John Nicholson (who has previously brought a similar appeal in 2014 which was refused by the Upper Tribunal) and Annie O’Gara and Kholoud al Ajarma. The Tribunal has determined there is a preliminary issue of “standing” to bring the appeal which will be determined first.

A new appeal has also been filed by Linda Ferguson – no details given.


NCVO has launched the Governance Wheel, a simple tool that helps boards of voluntary organisations quickly get a visual picture of how well they’re functioning and fulfilling their roles. The governance wheel links to the Charity Governance Code and can be used as a starting point for reviews based on the Code. BWB’s Tesse Akpeki is a senior governance associate at NCVO and has been involved in some training events leading up to the launch of the Wheel.

For trustees to make informed decisions about their charities, they need data on the impact the charity is having. But almost everything can be data, so what should trustees be asking for? In its latest blog, Nicola Pritchard, Consultant at New Philanthropy Capital, shares insights from sector leaders who spoke at a recent NPC seminar.


As you will know, the Department for Exiting the European Union has published a collection of documents that have been laid before Parliament to support its assessment of the UK-EU Brexit deal. The collection of documents includes the following command papers:

  • “EU exit: taking back control of our borders, money, and laws while protecting our economy, security and Union”. This paper sets out how, in the government’s view, the Brexit deal delivers on the referendum result in the areas of the economy and security.
  • “EU exit: assessment of the security partnership”. This assessment compares the UK-EU security partnership as set out in the political declaration with a no-deal scenario.
  • “EU exit: long-term economic analysis”. This analysis considers the potential long-term economic impact of the UK’s future relationship with the EU. It compares four potential future scenarios against the current arrangement (under which the UK is an EU member state). The four scenarios are: the government’s view of the future relationship as set out in the 12 July 2018 white paper; a hypothetical free trade agreement with zero tariffs; an EEA-type scenario, which reflects being outside of the customs union; and a no-deal scenario. The government has also published a technical reference paper setting out the methodology used for this economic analysis.

In November, New Philanthropy Capital hosted a free breakfast event to gauge whether charities are prepared for Brexit. The panelists included: Professor Jonathan Portes, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Kings College London and Swee Leng Harris, Head of Policy at The Legal Education Foundation. You can catch up on what happened tweet by tweet on Wakelet or watch the live stream on Periscope.


The Government has published a “Code of Conduct for Recipients of Government General Grants”.

The deadline is approaching for applications to the Transform Foundation’s 2018 Charity Website Grant Programme, with the application window set to close on 14th December. The programme, which is run by the Transform Foundation, offers £18,000 grants to charities to fund the redevelopment of their website, to ramp up their online income and increase their charitable impact.

The Government has announced a new £15 million round of the Tampon Tax Fund. Charities across the country can now bid for at least £1 million in funding for projects that support victims of domestic violence or work to reduce rough sleeping and homelessness among women. The money will also be available to programmes that help vulnerable women through music therapy, encourage them to participate in sport to improve their physical and mental well-being or charities that make onward grants to smaller organisations, so they can deliver tailored services to support women.

Five tech companies have been awarded contracts to use cutting-edge technology to tackle the problem of rural isolation and loneliness.


The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has published a literature review summarising the research literature on child sexual abuse (including child sexual exploitation) in residential schools. The aim is to provide an overview of what is already known, specifically in relation to child sexual abuse that occurs within residential schools, their role in safeguarding children from sexual abuse and the role they play in protecting children from sexual abuse in general. The review also draws on literature relating to non-residential schools from all sectors.

Data protection

ICO fines

The Information Commissioner’s Office has confirmed it has issued the first fines to 100 organisations that have failed to pay the new data protection fee. Civil Society Media reports the 100 includes 2 charities. The data protection fee was introduced in May this year. Organisations that have a current registration (or notification) under the 1998 Act – prior to 25 May 2018 – do not have to pay the new fee until that registration has expired. You can check if your fee is due for renewal here.

In addition, the ICO has:

  • fined ride sharing company Uber £385,000 for failing to protect customers’ personal information during a cyber attack. A series of avoidable data security flaws allowed the personal details of around 2.7million UK customers to be accessed and downloaded by attackers from a cloud-based storage system operated by Uber’s US parent company. This included full names, email addresses and phone numbers.
  • fined two companies that made nearly 1.73 million direct marketing phone calls to people registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). DM Design Bedrooms Ltd based in Cumbernauld, Glasgow has been fined £160,000 for making more than 1.6 million nuisance calls to TPS subscribers between April and November 2017. And Solartech North East Ltd based in Middlesbrough was fined £90,000 for making 74,902 calls to numbers registered with the TPS between May and June 2017.


A former trainee secretary at a GP surgery has been fined £350 after she admitted unlawfully reading the records of 231 patients in two years. Hannah Pepper was employed at the Fakenham Medical Practice in Norfolk in August 2015 and her duties included lawfully accessing medical records to assist doctors, solicitors and insurance companies. The surgery discovered in October 2017 that she had been reading a work colleague’s patient file without consent, and a subsequent investigation surgery found that Pepper had illegally accessed 231 patient records with no valid reason, including records of colleagues and their families, her own relatives, friends and acquaintances and also members of the public. In a subsequent interview with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) she accepted she had no justifiable reason for accessing the records and suggested that at times she struggled with the monotony of some of her tasks. In addition to the fine of £350, the secretary was also ordered to pay costs of £643.75 and a victim surcharge of £35.


See Fundraising item under Charity Commission above.

Fundraising Regulator

The Fundraising Regulator (FR) has announced a change of policy re naming charities it investigates. For complaints received after 1 March 2019, the FR will name all organisations it investigates, whether the complaint is upheld or not. To date, the FR has mostly published anonymised summaries of investigations. This new naming policy will not be applied retrospectively and when the FR publishes its decisions, it will “recognise the organisations that have cooperated fully with our investigation and any actions they have taken to learn from the complaint, whether it is upheld or not”.

The FR is also warning about a fake email claiming to be from ‘FPS Have Your Say’ and offering gift certificates. Any emails like this should be deleted immediately.

Charity Shops/Secret Santa

An online guide has been developed by the Charity Retail Association to encourage companies to take part in its annual Good Cause Santa Clause campaign which urges companies to persuade their staff to buy secret santa gifts from charity shops.


Philanthropy Comes of Age 2018” is a new report released by CAF that shows the continued rise of donor advised funds in the UK, with £500m of new contributions to charitable funds in 2016/17 and a projected £1billion in contributions by 2025/26.

Philanthropy Impact has published this blog about the role of crypto-currencies in philanthropy.

In its recent publication Funding a good start New Philanthropy Capital outlines the various ways in which philanthropists could make an impact on early year’s education.


Early years

See under Philanthropy above.


The Department for Education has published a consultation on draft guidance on school security. The guidance if implemented would be non-statutory.

See this government press release about the Schools Linking Programme, which aims to help school kids learn more about different faiths and backgrounds in their local communities. It includes taking part in competitive sports to boost team-working skills, creating collaborative artwork and community volunteering.

Out of school education

The government is consulting on new guidance to help parents avoid unsafe out-of-school settings. A new voluntary safeguarding code of practice is also being consulted on, designed to help providers understand how they can make their setting a safe environment for the children attending it. The voluntary code provides guidance for settings in relation to a wide range of issues, including safeguarding, online safety and suitability of staff.

Health and social care

See under Data protection above.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has published its annual review of social care complaints made to the Ombudsman. In the review, the Ombudsman Michael King says “It’s no longer just one-off mistakes; we’re seeing problems with systems, policies and the way procedures are being applied…”. The review also reports a nine per cent increase in complaints about charging.

Social finance

Pioneers Post reports on Big issue Invest’s (the social investment arm of The Big Issue magazine) announcement of a new mobile-first investment platform that will bring a range of social and environmental impact funds direct to a retail audience. The minimum investment amount on the platform will be £500 but it is hoped that this will be brought down to £2.50 in the future.

Writing for Civil Society, Andy Pitt (head of charities, London at Rathbones) notes that an increase in the number of investment choices available and the collapse of interest rates and bond yield has led to this question being one that is commonly asked of investment managers. Pitt goes on to list the advantages and disadvantages of each approach and concludes that a blend of both could be the best option depending on a charity’s requirements.

Social impact

See under Governance above.

Charities working internationally

BOND has published this briefing about a new government bill, called the Counter Terrorism and Border Security Bill, which could pass imminently. BOND says:

  • The bill gives the UK government the power to designate a geographical area and make it an offence for British nationals and residents to travel to areas where extremist groups operate. This could severely restrict NGOs’ ability to operate in some of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
  • The penalties for travelling to a designated area are high. If an individual charged with this offence is not able to show that they had “reasonable excuse for entering, or remaining in, the designated area” they could receive a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
  • It’s crucial that that the government and peers urgently amend the bill so that it exempts aid workers and others with a legitimate reason to travel to these designated areas.

The Department for International Development has published its annual overview of official UK spend on international development in 2017.


See third item under Funding above and second item under Education, Schools.

Culture and creative

See third item under Funding above.

New figures show Britain’s creative industries have broken the £100 billion barrier.

Housing and homelessness

New Philanthropy Capital has published a paper “Tackling the homelessness crisis: Why and how you should fund systemically”.

Heritage buildings

BWB Partner Jamie Huard has written this Briefing on historic buildings and the requirements under the Equality Act 2010 to make “reasonable adjustments” to ensure that people with disabilities are not disadvantaged when visiting a property.


The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator is reminding Scottish charities to file their annual accounting and reporting information on time.

Northern Ireland

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is also publicising the SORP consultation (see under Charity Commission).


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 4, 2018.