Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 13 August

Bates Wells highlights

The Information Commissioner’s Office is consulting on a new framework code of practice for the use of personal data in political campaigning. 

At a glance

The Charity Commission has updated its guidance on exempt charities (CC23).

The Fundraising Regulator will begin invoicing charities this month for the levy for the year 1 September 2019 to 31 August 2020.

The European Commission has published guidance on the participation of third country bidders and goods in the EU procurement market.  

Charity Commission

Exempt charities

The commission’s guidance on exempt charities (CC23) has been updated to include amended details of principal regulators and information about recent regulations coming into force.

Official Custodian

The Charity Commission has published the annual accounts for 2018-19 of The Official Custodian for Charities. The foreword to the accounts provides a summary of the role and powers of the OC.

Tax and VAT

Gift Aid and donor benefits

Charity Tax Group has flagged that changes have been made to chapters 3.18 to 3.25 of the HMRC Charities guidanceto clarify when and how donor benefits should be treated and how they are valued for Gift Aid limits. CTG says there are a number of helpful changes, incorporating comments by the working group, including:

  • representing the relevant value test as two not three thresholds [3.21.1
  • applying the disregard to electronic literature as well as physical literature [3.24
  • a more flexible approach to valuing benefits where there is no commercial value (i.e. a non-ticketed event) noting a fair and reasonable method of valuation will suffice [3.23.5].

Naming rights

CTG says it is seeking further clarification from HMRC on changes to section 3.19.7  fundraising events in honour of a donor and 3.19.8 on naming rights.

Creative industries tax reliefs

HMRC has published the latest statistics on creative industries tax reliefs.  


Last week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a fast-tracked one-year Spending Round to ensure departments can focus on delivering Brexit by October 31. 

The Annual report of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LG&SCO) highlights a rise in the number of education, children’s services and adult social care complaints that are upheld. The LG&SCO registered nearly 17,000 complaints and just over 20% of these resulted in the LG&SCO upholding a complaint and making recommendations of the relevant local authority.

Data protection

New Code of practice for political campaigning

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is consulting on a new framework code of practice for the use of personal data in political campaigning. The ICO says the code does not introduce new requirements for campaigners but seeks to explain and clarify data protection and electronic marketing laws as they already stand. It also seeks to provide practical guidance and useful examples on ways campaigners could comply with their obligations whilst carrying out common political campaigning activities. The draft framework code is now out for public consultation until Friday 4 October 2019.

Case re data controllers

The ECJ has ruled that companies that embed Facebook “Like” buttons on their websites can be considered to be a controller jointly with Facebook in respect of the operations involving the collection and disclosure by transmission to Facebook of the personal data concerned.  Fashion ID GmbH & Co. KG v Verbraucherzentrale NRW eV (C-40/17) EU:C:2019:629 (29 July 2019).


Fundraising Regulator levy

The Fundraising Regulator’s August newsletter states it will be invoicing charities this month for the levy for the year 1 September 2019 to 31 August 2020.  As previously, invoices will be sent to registered charities in England, Wales or Northern Ireland with fundraising costs of £100,000 or more.  This year the FR has added two extra bands near the bottom of the levy scale so some smaller charities will pay less than last year.


The Health Secretary has announced a £250 million investment in artificial intelligence. The AI Lab will work on earlier cancer detection, new dementia treatments and more personalised care.

Social finance

Co-op Foundation announced last week a new £3m extension to the #iwill fund. Community organisations across England can apply for grants of up to £35,000 to help young people have a say in how community spaces are managed.  A total of eight grants are expected to be made from this round, and organisations have until noon on Friday 20 September to apply.

Public sector commissioning/mutuals

Last week we mentioned a new consultation on the definition of “public service mutual”. Bates Wells Partner Abbie Rumbold comments “It seems that we never learn. The consistent story is that letting private sector providers deliver public services results in low performance and high cost. Only this week we were reminded that the care of some of our most vulnerable children is funding significant profits for tax haven based companies and yet it continues.

But maybe Mutuals bring a little light to this gloomy picture and with more clarity about what they do and who they are, maybe commissioning can work better. DCMS’s recently launched consultation on mutuals is a chance for mutuals across the UK to contribute to the wider discussion about how Government policy can support mutuals better.”

Public procurement and state aid

The European Commission (Commission) has published Guidance on the participation of third country bidders and goods in the EU procurement market. The guidance is described by the Commission as part of a package of initiatives to ensure fair competition, high quality and a level playing field in public procurement markets.

The European Commission has announced that it has decided that measures in favour of Ryanair at Montpellier airport in France constitute incompatible state aid. The Commission found that marketing agreements between the local Association for the Promotion of Touristic and Economic Flows (APFTE) and Ryanair and its subsidiary AMS were financed through State resources and were attributable to the State, APFTE being funded almost entirely by regional and local French public entities. The payments in favour of Ryanair on the basis of the marketing agreements did not correspond to effective marketing needs of APFTE but only served as an incentive for Ryanair to maintain its operations at Montpellier airport. The Commission found that the marketing agreements gave an undue and selective advantage to Ryanair over its competitors. France must now recover the illegal state aid amounting to around EUR8.5 million from Ryanair.

At the end of July, the European Commission launched a consultation seeking views on whether the EU’s state aid rules for health and social Services of General Economic Interest (SGEIs) as updated in the 2012 SGEI package met their objective. The Commission seeks comments, via an online questionnaire, by 6 November 2019.

Consumer law

BEIS has published guidance for businesses on how to improve customer understanding of their contractual terms, conditions and privacy policies online. The guidance presents techniques available to businesses to increase customer engagement with, and understanding of, contractual terms and privacy policies, drawing on new evidence-based research and a review of existing academic literature. BEIS commissioned the Behavioural Insights Team to work with regulators and academics to design and test the various techniques, and produce a report. The focus is on methods offering low-cost, practical and scalable solutions. Full results and methodology are available in the technical report. The most effective suggested techniques include:

  • Displaying key terms as frequently asked questions.
  • Using icons to illustrate key terms.
  • Showing customers contractual terms within a scrollable text box instead of requiring a click to view them.
  • Providing information in short chunks at the right time.
  • Using illustrations and comics.
  • Telling customers how long it will take to read a policy and when it is their last chance to read information before they make a decision.

Immigration – sponsor licences

Recently, additional obligations have been imposed on Sponsors of Tier 2, 4 and 5 migrants. See a summary here from Bates Wells’ Chetal Patel.

Bates Wells BrandAware training for charities

A Charity’s brands – its names, logos and slogans – may be the most valuable things it owns. But is everyone in your organisation ‘BrandAware’? Do they understand how to look after these key assets?

We can offer your organisation brand awareness training by our sector-leading trade mark lawyers. Our training will explore key elements of legal brand awareness for charities and businesses.

Click here to find out more and register your interest with our Head of Trade Marks, Mathew Healey.

Disclaimer – The information contained in this update is not intended to be a comprehensive update – it is our selection of the website announcements made in the week up to last Friday which we think will be of interest to charities and social enterprises. The content is necessarily of a general nature – specific advice should always be sought for specific situations.

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 August 13, 2019.