This week’s review covers the 3 week period from 15th July to 2nd August.
At a glance
The Charity Commission is seeking feedback on its current safeguarding guidance.
The Charity Tax Commission has published its final report “Reforming charity taxation: towards a stronger civil society”.
The Government has published its plans for reform of society lotteries.
A consultation on the definition of “public service mutuals” has been launched.
The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee has published a report “Enforcing the Equality Act: the law and the role of the Equality and Human Rights Commission”.
Survey on safeguarding guidance
The commission is seeking feedback on its current safeguarding guidance via a survey, see this blogpost for details.
Inactive or ineffective charities – the Revitalising Trusts Programme
The Charity Commission has published guidance on getting help for inactive or ineffective charities through the ‘Revitalising Trusts’ programme. The guidance notes that charity trustees should seek help and discuss their charity’s future if it is hard for the charity to get new trustees, spend their income, identify beneficiaries or find time to run the charity. The Revitalising Trusts programme is an initiative of the Charity Commission in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and UK Community Foundations. A charity may get an email from the programme if it has not spent any money in the last 5 years or spent less that 30% of its income in that time.
Display of trustee legal names on the charity register
The Charity Commission has updated its guidance on the display of trustee legal names on the charity register to give trustees more time to apply for a dispensation (to remove a trustee’s legal name from public display on the charity register). The date from which the name of all charity trustees will be displayed to the public on the charity register, unless a dispensation has been granted, is now 1 April 2020 (instead of 1 September 2019). The commission had already extended the date from 1 April 2019 to 1 September 2019 back in March.
The commission also updated the section on ‘Changes to public display names for trustees’ in this news story to note that if trustees have used the display name feature, this will be removed on the 1 April 2020 and their legal name will be shown to the public.
|Name of charity||Brief description||Anything unusual e.g. unusual facts or novel/rare use of Commission’s powers|
|Cymmer Workmen’s Hall and InstituteAlso see press release||A Welsh social club charity acted outside its charitable objects by running a licensed bar as part of the charity’s activities (failing to relocate the non-charitable arm of its activities into a suitable trading vehicle).In addition there was only one trustee in place in breach of the charity’s governing document. The charity was previously included in the class inquiry for failing to file accounting information.||During the inquiry the commission made a fully regulating scheme under s.69 of the Charities Act 2011 so that the charity could adopt a new and modern governing document.The trustees had failed to comply with regulatory advice of the commission issued several times since 2006. As a result of the inquiry a separate trading company was also formed to run the bar and more trustees were appointed.|
|The Light (formerly a registered charity)||An inquiry was opened following a complaint about the charity’s financial procedures, discrepancies in the charity’s accounts and apparent unauthorised trustee benefits.||HMRC had also opened an investigation into two of the former trustees and information was shared between the regulators.The inquiry issued an Order under section 80(1)(e) of the act, removing all three trustees on the basis that they were outside England and Wales and their absence or failure to act impeded the proper administration of the charity – all of the trustees were in Pakistan.The Charity was then removed from the register under section 34(1)(b) of the act.|
|Fatimiyya Trust (formerly a registered charity)||The commission’s engagement started when it discovered links with this charity and The Light (see above). Again, financial discrepancies were found on further investigation.||As above, the commission collaborated with HMRC, removed all of the trustees as they were overseas and then removed the charity from the register.|
The commission has announced inquiries into:
- the educational charity, Avicenna Global, due to concerns over potential misconduct and/or mismanagement at the charity. The Commission had previously opened a regulatory compliance case into the charity after serious allegations were made concerning the financial conduct of one of the charity’s trustees. The inquiry will examine the relationship between the charity and the Avicenna Academy School; whether there has been any unauthorised trustee benefit and whether the trustees have carried out their duties in particular their duty to account for the charity’s funds and the management of conflicts of interest.
- an unregistered charitable fund for Rohingya refugees.
New and recent edition of Charity Commission News
The Commission has published its 63rd issue of Charity Commission news. You will have seen most of the content in this already; it includes news items on whistleblowing, charities and non-charities guidance, charities working internationally and the criminal offence of failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion.
Also see under Education below.
Charity law cases
See under Scotland below.
Tax and VAT
The Charity Tax Commission, established by NCVO in 2017, has published its final report, Reforming charity taxation: towards a stronger civil society. The commission’s chair Sir Nicholas Montagu has written a blog post summarising the key recommendations which include:
- making it easier for higher-rate taxpayers to pass their relief on to their chosen charities
- creating a new digital Gift Aid database
- making it compulsory for UK employers to offer a payroll giving scheme
- removing VAT from wills to encourage solicitors to raise the question of leaving a gift to charities more often.
Baroness Barran MBE has been appointed as Minister for Civil Society within the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
See this NCVO article ‘Boris Johnson as prime minister – what does it mean for charities and Brexit?’
The Office for Civil Society has released guidance on preparing for the EU Exit, which signposts to the Government’s public information campaign on EU exit, and existing information on data protection in a no deal scenario, the settled status scheme, EU funding and the Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps schemes.
Health and Social Care
British Generic Manufacturers Association have released a report which states that generic drugs in the UK are far cheaper than much of the rest of Europe, which in turn saves millions for the NHS, however this position could be altered by Brexit and prices of many common drugs may rise.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will lead a procurement exercise to secure an ‘express freight service’. It will transport small medical supply consignments into the UK within 24 hours if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
The Communities Secretary has announced £20 million funding for councils to prepare for delivering Brexit on 31 October.
The Home Office has released guidance on the right to work in the UK for frontier workers. The guidance defines a frontier worker as an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who regularly commutes to the UK because they are employed or self-employed here but live elsewhere. It also outlines what will be expected of frontier workers if the UK leaves the EU with a deal or not.
Several environmental NGOs have applied to the High Court for permission to take judicial review proceedings challenging the UK government’s use of its powers to make Brexit statutory instruments.
The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that local areas could lose £5.3bn if the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) is not properly replaced when the UK leaves the EU.
The House of Commons has released a briefing paper which explains what it means to “prorogue” Parliament, under what authority it is done, and what its consequences are. It also provides historical and international context for prorogation, and explains its relevance to the Brexit process.
See under Charity Commission above.
NCVO has published an update on its work to deliver phase 1 of the ‘Safeguarding Training Fund’, a programme of funding by the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) and the National Lottery Community Fund.
Consultation on updated data sharing code of practice
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published its draft updated data sharing code of practice, which is open for consultation until 9 September 2019. Bates Wells’ Molly Waiting explains more in this Briefing.
Update on Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust
The ICO has published an update on the use of Google DeepMind’s Streams application at the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust. The ICO has also said it is committed to working with other bodies including the National Data Guardian and Health Research Authority, to improve guidance and support to the sector “so that healthcare organisations like NHS Trusts can implement data-driven technology solutions safely and legally.” In addition, ahead of the transfer of Streams from DeepMind to the new Google Health Unit, the ICO has made it clear to controllers using the Streams service that they will need to have the appropriate legal documentation in place to ensure their processing is in line with the requirements of the GDPR. The ICO says organisations must assure themselves and document how they have taken appropriate steps to mitigate data protection risks beyond contractual obligations and the obligation on Google Health under data protection law, such as audits, reports and other appropriate measures.
The ICO has fined a London estate agency £80,000 for leaving 18,610 customers’ personal data exposed for almost two years. The security breach happened when Life at Parliament View Ltd (LPVL) transferred personal data from its server to a partner organisation and failed to switch off an ‘Anonymous Authentication’ function. This failure meant access restrictions were not implemented and allowed anyone going online to have full access to all the data stored between March 2015 and February 2017.
A motor industry employee who was sentenced to six months in prison in November 2018 for accessing personal data without permission, has been ordered to pay a £25,500 confiscation order in a case brought by the ICO.
Also see under Fundraising below.
Fundraising Preference Service
The Fundraising Regulator has published its latest list of charities that have not logged on to the Fundraising Preference Service charity portal to access requests from the public to stop communication.
In July, the Government published its response to the consultation on Society Lottery Reform. Bates Well’s solicitors Hannah Lyons and Molly Carew-Jones summarise the key points here.
See under Funding below.
Philanthropy Impact has published this “Cryptocurrency Donor and Charity Fundraising Guide” which includes a useful section on what charities can do to stay safe.
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has launched an inquiry into the future of the National Lottery, including the impact of society lotteries (lotteries run by charities and sports clubs for good causes) and other changes to the lottery market on the main National Lottery draw. Responses must be submitted online by 5.00 pm on Friday 30 August 2019.
High-performing academy trusts are being encouraged to grow and support more schools across England, supported by £17 million new funding. Alongside this the Government is setting out more details on a new package of support, worth an estimated £16.5million, to support 2,400 underperforming schools to improve their leadership.
The Department for Education has issued a consultation on revised statutory guidance for local authorities in England on home to school travel and transport. The consultation closes on 31 October 2019.
As part of a drive to make financial reporting across all types of schools more consistent, the Department for Education is inviting views from across the education system on applying some of the financial measures used in academies to local authority run schools.
See under Health below.
The Office for Students now has additional regulatory powers, including statutory powers to impose financial penalties of up to £500,000 or two per cent of a university’s income from tuition fees and grants (whichever is highest).
See under Data protection above.
The Prime Minister has announced £1.8 billion funding for NHS frontline services.
The Health and Social Care Secretary has announced £20 million funding to prepare more young people for an entry-level job or apprenticeship in the NHS. This will be matched by £7 million from the Prince’s Trust. The programme will be delivered by The Prince’s Trust and supported by Health Education England.
Nine air ambulance charities across England will receive a share of £10 million government funding.
The Department of Health and Social Care has published the Better Care Fund Planning Requirements for 2019-20, together with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and NHS England. The Planning Requirements set the allocations from the ring-fenced NHS England fund for each clinical commissioning group to be pooled into the Better Care Fund and apply conditions to their use.
The Centre for Mental Health has published “Arm in arm: The relationships between statutory and voluntary sector mental health organisations”.
In its response to the recent Social Investment Tax Relief consultation, Big Society Capital is calling on the Government to make essential changes to the tax relief, including expanding eligible activities to include community-owned renewables and refinancing and increasing the lifetime limit to £5 million; press release. Access – the Foundation for Social Investment’s response to the consultation is also accessible, here.
A new £100m Climate Action Fund from The National Lottery Community Fund to tackle the climate emergency has been announced. The new fund, from the largest funder of community activity in the UK, is intended to build a network of people and communities to drive high impact community-led climate action.
A Bridges Fund Management press release reports that it has raised £35 million through its Social Outcomes Fund II, which was dedicated to social outcomes contracts. The release comments on the fund’s achievements.
Foundations and impact investing: Why the heck is it taking so long? Felix Oldenburg comments on how foundations can become serious impact investors by innovating with their endowments, not just their grant money (from the EVPA/Pioneers Post Impact Papers series).
Pioneers Post presents its report on The Gathering conference that took place in Leicester earlier this year. The report has been divided into the four key themes: Connecting to the Social Sector, Prioritising Impact, Building the Market, and Future Gazing & Future Shaping.
The Impact Investing Institute has appointed its first CEO, Sarah Gordon, a former Financial Times business editor. Pioneers Post provides commentary.
£3m of grant funding available from People’s Postcode Lottery (PPL) for registered charities and not-for-profits without charitable status. For this round, bids can be made to three of the 18 PPL trusts (People’s Postcode Trust, Postcode Community Trust and Postcode Local Trust), which have different impact objectives.
How impact investing can tackle the plastic crisis. This DigitalAgenda blog comments on how ClimateCare, described as the ‘number-one B corp in the UK’, aims to make ocean clean-ups and lower-carbon cooking profitable, which could be of interest to impact investors.
Climate: the defining issue for the next decade. Bates Wells’ David Hunter writes for the summer edition of the Philanthropy Impact Magazine (p.25), highlighting the need for companies to accept the role of climate change and its political, financial and business risk, and how impact investment is the means to “preserve the cake”.
Bates Wells’ Impact Economy Brief is our fortnightly update, presenting a selection of articles, podcasts and materials, with the latest analysis and developments in the Impact Economy. If you’d like to know more, you can sign-up to the Brief. You may also like to take a look at our Impact Economy Glossary.
A consultation on the definition of public service mutuals has been launched, with the aim of providing clarity and increasing understanding in the sector. The consultation closes on 30th September following which the government will publish a revised definition that “reflects current priorities for public services”.
Faith based organisations
Labour MP John Mann has been appointed by government as an independent adviser on antisemitism. He will be responsible for providing the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government with independent advice on the most effective methods to tackle antisemitism.
An independent adviser has been appointed to provide expert advice on a definition of Islamophobia to the government. Imam Qari Asim MBE, Deputy Chair of the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group will lead a process for establishing a definition of Islamophobia. He will be joined by a second adviser to be confirmed in due course.
See above under Brexit.
In July, the then Communities Secretary laid out the government’s vision for building a stronger sense of belonging and shared prosperity within local communities. The new Community Framework: ‘By deeds and their results: how we will strengthen our communities and nation’ sets out how the government will work with local and national partners such as businesses, faith institutions, local authorities and volunteer groups to help build stronger, more empowered and integrated communities across England. ‘By deeds and their results’ commits to:
- “Holding a national conversation with communities across England after Brexit, about their view of who we are as a nation, their vision for the future of their community and our country, and what local and national government can do to support their communities to thrive;
- Establishing a series of Civic Deal pilots to test the principles of this Framework in local areas, by putting communities more in control of decisions and by strengthening local partnerships and civic infrastructure;
- Publishing a Communities White Paper to renew the government’s focus on building stronger communities across England”.
Alok Sharma has been appointed as secretary of state for international development.
BOND has published “What does Boris Johnson mean for international development?”
And BOND has picked up a BBC report that part of the aid budget is to be given to the Department for International Trade.
Also see under Accounting below.
Michael Gove has set out details of the forthcoming Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill which is due to be published in October 2019. Key points include:
- On waste, a drink bottle deposit return scheme would accept plastic bottles of all sizes; new powers would set resource efficient standards for products; producers would be responsible for the full cost of disposing of packaging; and recycling would be more consistent and simplified.
- On nature protection, the Bill would mandate biodiversity net gain, legislate for conservation covenants, introduce a new system of environmental spatial planning and a new framework of local nature recovery strategies; English public authorities would have a duty to enhance nature; and a new English Tree Strategy would seek to increase forest cover from 10% to 12% by 2060.
The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee has published a report “Enforcing the Equality Act: the law and the role of the Equality and Human Rights Commission”. The report’s main recommendations are:
- Move away from relying so heavily on the current model of using individual litigation to create precedents
- Develop a ‘critical mass’ of cases to inform employers and organisations about their legal duties and make adherence to existing equality law a priority for all organisations
- Make obligations on employers, public authorities, and service providers explicit and enforceable
- Ensure that all who have powers to change the way in which employers, public bodies and service providers operate use their powers to eliminate discrimination and to advance equality
- The EHRC must refocus its work and be bolder in using its unique enforcement powers.
Civil Society Media reports a project has launched to develop the first international financial reporting standards for the not-for-profit sector. The aim is to reduce inefficiencies for funders and charities.
A Scottish organisation set up as a trust in 1921, Dr Sloan’s Trust, has successfully appealed against a decision by OSCR refusing to register it as a charity. See here for the judgment.
OSCR has published its annual report and accounts for the financial year ended 31 March 2019.
OSCR has launched a new landscape version of its registration logo which Scottish charities can use to show they are registered.
OSCR is trialling a new charity trustee information and guidance pack for Scottish charities. Before downloading a pack, trustees or other charity contacts need to answer a short questionnaire to tell OSCR what guidance may be most relevant. This includes entering the Scottish charity number. In addition to detailing what guidance the trustees should read, the BETA pack contains:
- information on what charity trustees need to do
- an overview of annual monitoring
- 10 key points to running a charity
- sources of help and advice
- information on publicising that you are a charity
- information on when to tell us about changes to your charity.
The Department for Communities has appointed Mrs Nicole Lappin as the Chief Commissioner to the Board of the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, from 1 August 2019 to 31 July 2024. Mrs Lappin is a qualified barrister and Chair of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and Social Care Trust.
Bates Wells BrandAware training for charities
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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 6, 2019.