Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 20 March

Bates Wells highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

The Cabinet Office has published a consultation on social value in government procurements.

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At a glance

The government has launched a consultation on measures to prevent the misuse of confidentiality clauses in situations of workplace harassment or discrimination.

An All Party Parliamentary Group has been set up for Philanthropy and Social Investment.

The government has published a new International Education Strategy outlining plans to increase student numbers and income generated from international education.

The Home Office has published summary guidance for making a modern slavery statement.

Charity law cases

Tony George, Legal Adviser at the Commission has written this article for the Law Society Gazette about the recent Densham v Charity Commission case, relating to the charitable status of allotments.

Tax and VAT


HMRC has published an updated VAT notice setting out who may be exempt from “Making Tax Digital” (MTD) for VAT, on grounds including disability, remoteness of location, insolvency or religious belief, and how to claim.

The Chancellor confirmed in his Spring Statement that while MTD will be made compulsory for certain businesses this April, as planned, it will not be mandated for any other business or taxes until at least April 2021. The statement also said that there will be a light touch approach to penalties in the first year of implementation.



The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has published a new briefing, ‘Regional Funding After Brexit, Opportunities for the UK’s Shared Prosperity Fund’. This contains a useful background section on EU funding, outlines three challenges facing the UK (regional inequality; centralisation of power; and a lack of community voice) and provides recommendations for how the Shared Prosperity Fund could be designed effectively to tackle these problems. Rob Tinker of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation is credited in shaping the paper, among others.

General charity sector

Civil Society has published an article on charity leaders who have expressed warnings about a no-deal Brexit.

Third Sector has published this Podcast on the practical, social and funding effects Brexit could have on the voluntary sector. Jane Thomas from the Brexit Civil Society Alliance together with Jo Cox Foundation chief executive Catherine Anderson and John Tizard, chair of NAVCA speak on: How does the sector mitigate against, and respond to the impacts of Brexit? How will a no deal affect the communities and beneficiaries that the voluntary sector supports? How can we ensure that civil society voices from across the UK are heard in the Brexit process?


The Government has responded to a written question on whether charity shops can continue to sell second hand goods with a CE label in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The written question by Toby Perkins (Chesterfield, Labour) was answered by Secretary of State Kelly Tolhurst. Her response confirmed that the Government has announced a time-limited continuity approach to minimise disruption to businesses and consumers. This will mean that CE marked goods, whether new or second hand, can continue to be sold in the UK as long as those goods were compliant at the time they were initially placed on the UK market, and are still safe.

Health and social care

The Guardian has published an article about a leaked civil service document on adult social care planning in a no-deal scenario. The document warns “vulnerable adults” could be “placed at risk due to the wider impacts of EU exit and/or when statutory adult services/social care services are not delivered – for example food disruption”.

The King’s Fund has published this blog on Brexit’s implications for health and social care in England.


The Education (Fees and Student Support) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) (Scotland) Regulations 2019 have been published. This enactment amends UK legislation in relation to ensuring that all categories of students who are currently eligible for home fee status and student support will continue to be eligible in the event that the UK exits the EU with or without a formal exit deal in place in Scotland. It comes into force on 6 April 2019. The Education (Student Fees and Support) (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 have also been published.

The Irish Independent has reported that a new ‘Celtic Connection’ of higher education institutions across Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is being forged to help protect the sector from the fallout of Brexit. The aim is to strengthen links between individual colleges both for ease of movement and to boost attempts for research funding handouts. This is being planned under the umbrella of the British-Irish Chamber of Commerce.

Trade Marks

In a recent blog, Mathew Healey outlines what organisations should be thinking about when it comes to Brexit and trade marks.



In response to a written question asking when plans for the reform of regulation surrounding society lotteries will be announced the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport stated that it is hoped that a response to the consultation will be published in the first half of 2019.


In an open letter to Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice Lucy Frazer, the Institute of Fundraising, Remember A Charity, the Institute of Legacy Management and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations have urged the Government to reconsider proposals to increase some probate fees so that estates including bequests to charities are not adversely affected. The charitable organisations suggest that a “reduction or discounted rate” on estates that include a legacy gift would reduce the financial impact on charities and create an incentive to leave a charitable gift.


An All Party Parliamentary Group has been set up for Philanthropy and Social Investment. It will be launching in April. This is an initiative arising out of the Philanthropy Impact Public Affairs Committee.


Civil Society Media reports that 6 grant-making foundations are recruiting for a director of cross-foundation collaboration, to facilitate the pooling of knowledge and resources. This may be of interest from a governance and social investment perspective.



The Education Secretary has announced an expert group to work with government to look for new ways to support teachers.

Further education

See item under Higher education below.

Higher education

The government has published a new International Education Strategy outlining plans to increase student numbers and income generated from international education.

Ministers have set out the need for a ‘culture change’ at universities to encourage more care leavers to stay in higher education.


The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill has received Royal Assent. This means from 2020 adults in England will be considered potential organ donors unless they chose to opt out or are excluded.

The Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt has appointed the first ever National Adviser for LGBT Health in the NHS.

Social finance

The Beacon Collaborative has published the findings of its conference in January, at which philanthropists, sector leaders, policy makers and senior advisers discussed how to increase giving and social investment in the UK.

Charity Finance Group has published a Spring Statement briefing paper to help draw out the main points for charities. See also this Press release.

In line with the move to encourage the sector to make the most of SITR (social investment tax relief), Charity Tax Group provides a reminder that charities and social enterprise wishing to use the relief can apply for advance assurance from HMRC. Big Society Capital’s GET SITR platform offers an editable advance assurance application framework that can be downloaded.

Opinion from Social Finance, written for Civil Society, on the opportunities for charities and social organisations in new government funding for a £90m youth employment initiative, and the constitution of a new financial inclusion organisation intended to deploying £55m of funding; Civil Society reports further on the proposed financial inclusion organisation, including that it plans to work with a range of lenders and investors.

Seb Elsworth, CEO of the Access foundation, writes for Third Sector providing commentary on how charities view their position and relative power in the context of receiving social investment, in light of the Civil Society Futures report published last year.

Charity Finance reports that the National Lottery Community Fund has awarded £65m to 2,250 community-led projects in Q1 2019.

International development

Penny Mordaunt announced last week the UK is doubling its aid support for plastic recycling in poor nations.


The European Foundation Centre has launched the fourth edition of its mapping of environmental funding, which is a study of European philanthropic funding for environmental issues.

Public services contracting

The Cabinet Office has published a consultation on social value in government procurements, seeking views on proposals which would require central government departments to take account of social impact as part of their award criteria. The consultation outlines a mandatory social value delivery model for central government buyers which sets out the government’s commercial objectives for social value. These objectives are contained in a number of high level themes (such as diverse supply chains and environmental sustainability), which departments should select where these are relevant and proportionate to the subject-matter of the contract. Each theme lists the intended policy outcomes (such as reducing environmental impact), standard award criteria and a suggested set of evaluation questions. Bidders’ responses will then be scored against the qualitative aspects, using a standard scoring methodology, in the same way that other questions concerning “quality” are treated in a tender. Each policy outcome will also include a set of proposed metrics that should be used to manage the delivery of the contract. Contract bidders will need to submit quantitative information based on these metrics where they have been selected. The government will introduce detailed guidance and training on this new approach prior to implementation. The consultation closes on 10 June 2019 and responses should be emailed to: [email protected].

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has updated the Core Terms to the Public Sector Contract. This is the CCS standard template for framework contracts for common goods and services and forms part of that framework and the call-off contract in every CCS contract. The CCS has also updated the Public Contract’s Framework Award Form, Call-off order form, Framework Schedules, Joint Schedules and Call-off Schedules. When setting up a new framework contract, CCS will use:

  • The standard core terms (used in every procurement).
  • Relevant schedules as appropriate.

The schedules are templates. They will be customised for every procurement by the CCS and will be found in the bid pack for new procurements.

Modern slavery

The Home Office has published summary guidance for making a modern slavery statement under section 54 (Transparency in Supply Chains) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. This sets out who needs to publish a statement, how to calculate turnover and what factors to consider when determining whether an organisation has a demonstrable UK business presence. It also includes information for groups of companies, charities, investment trusts and companies entering administration, outlining whether they need to make a statement. The guidance for charities clarifies that donations, legacies and grants, where the donor receives no service or benefit do not need to be included when deciding whether a charity meets the £36 million turnover threshold.


BEIS has announced that the Financial Reporting Council will be replaced with a new independent statutory regulator – called the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority – with stronger statutory powers.


OSCR’s most recent blogpost is on the subject of “5 Excuses for not having Young Trustees” and was written by Cordelia Sampson, Chair of Trustees of Edinburgh Students Charities’ Appeal.

Northern Ireland

The Department of Justice has announced that it is to reduce fees for Basic and Standard Criminal record checks made through AccessNI. From 1 April 2019, the cost of basic and standard checks will be reduced from the current fee of £26 to £18.

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 March 20, 2019.