Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 16 October

Bates Wells highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

Thank you to everyone who came and contributed to the discussions at our Tea Party last week.  For a flavour of the issues discussed, see here.

At a glance

The government has confirmed there are currently no plans to appoint a Principal Regulator for charitable community benefit societies. 

NPC has published a new report “How can we engage more young people in arts and culture?”.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched a new tool,

Charity Commission

New inquiry

The commission has announced that it has opened an inquiry into the charity CWM Harry Land Trust Limited (1100899) an environmental charity whose objects also include the education and rehabilitation of prisoners and ex-offenders. The charity was previously included in the “double defaulter” class inquiry into charities which have repeatedly failed to comply with their annual reporting obligations. The charity has continued to fail to comply with these obligations. The commission has additional concerns over related party transactions, including payments to a trustee and two loans to the charity from a company connected to a trustee.

Contact Centre

The commission’s contact centre is now open from 9am until 4pm (previously it was only open between 10am and 12 and 1 and 3pm).

Charitable community benefit societies

In response to a written parliamentary question about when the government plans to appoint a Principal Regulator for charitable community benefit societies, the government has said:

“An appropriate body could not be found that was willing and able to take on the role of Principal Regulator for charitable community benefit societies. Therefore, there are currently no plans to appoint a Principal Regulator for these charities. However we will keep this position under review. The Charities Act 2006 does not require the appointment of a principal regulator and exempt charities are still bound by the general principles of charity law.”

Charity law cases

In the First Tier Tribunal, the Charity Commission has defended what we think is the first challenge to a trustee/senior management disqualification order. The challenge was brought by Martin Phelps, who had been Pastor at the charity Rhema Church London. See here for the full decision.  


Charity General

The Brexit Civil Society Alliance have published an article on the challenges, threats and opportunities for the civil society.

NCVO have published:

Health and Social Care

The Department of Health has published guidance on how healthcare providers and commissioners of healthcare services can manage the risks of a no-deal Brexit, which looks into issues such as medicine supply, workforce and data sharing.

The National Audit Office (NAO) has released a report called ‘Exiting the EU—supplying the health and social care sectors’, which reviews ‘the Department for Health & Social Care’s…preparations to make sure the UK has a steady flow of supplies for the health and social care sector when it leaves the EU’.

On 20 September 2019, the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) published a guidance document explaining how healthcare providers can minimise disruption to their services if the UK leaves the EU on 31 October 2019 without a deal.

Media/Culture and Creative

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has published four guidance notes on preparing for a no-deal Brexit, aimed at the media and broadcasters; providers of digital, technology and computer services; those in the arts, culture and heritage industries; and those working in the creative sector. The notes bring together links to other government guidance notes.  The guidance for the creative industries and the guidance for the media and broadcastingsectors are identical with each other. They each set out ten matters that should be reviewed, including staff permits and immigration status, EU accounting and reporting requirements, contracts providing for the receipt of personal data from the EEA; compliance with EU requirements if offering video on demand, digital services or licensed content in the EEA; customs requirements for importing and exporting creative or cultural goods between the UK and the EEA; and eligibility for UK government funding to replace lost EU funding.

The other two guidance notes also give this advice, but in addition they make the following points:

  • The guidance for providers of digital, technology and computer services advises checking the requirements for importing hardware from the EU after Brexit; checking whether they need to appoint a representative in the EU and label their goods with the EU importer’s details; and obtaining an EORI number.


HMRC has updated its guidance Who should register for VAT (Notice 700/1) to reflect temporary arrangements for VAT registration if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The arrangements allow businesses to submit advanced notification of UK VAT registration under specific circumstances.

Data protection

Bates Wells’ Alex Jameson has updated his article on data privacy and a no deal Brexit.


Code of Fundraising Practice

The Fundraising Regulator’s Head of Policy, Priya Warner, has written this blog about bringing the code to life online.  

Fundraising Regulator

The FR has published its Business Plan for 2019/20

The Fundraising Regulator’s annual meeting will take place on Monday 18 November 2019, from 9.30am-12.30pm in London. The event will open with speeches from Lord Toby Harris and the CEO, Gerald Oppenheim, who will reflect on the past year and outline key priorities moving forward. This will be followed by a Q&A where attendees will have the opportunity to ask the Fundraising Regulator questions on its spending and future plans. The second half of the event will explore building trust in fundraising. To reserve a place, RSVP to this address [email protected]


Civil Society Media reports the Ministry of Justice has decided not to introduce a new probate fee regime which could have cost the charity sector up to £10m.  Court fees will however be looked at again as part of a wider review.

IOF commitment to tackling the climate emergency

In a letter to IOF members, Peter Lewis has committed to a number of steps including:

  • “Providing more support to our members on when they can refuse donations, and step away from partnerships, when they have environmental concerns.”
  • Working with the Fundraising Regulator to review any changes needed to the Code of Fundraising Practice on environmental fundraising practices and issues.


See under Scotland below.

Health and social care

The Care Quality Commission has fined Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust £16,250 because it had failed to comply with the Duty of Candour – the regulation that requires providers to be open and honest with patients or their families if there is an incident in which they suffer harm.

Social finance

Evaluating Impact Performance. This report from GIIN presents a new approach for rigorously comparing impact results among investments within a sector, marking an important first step in enabling investors to make these comparisons in a meaningful and transparent way. In this first instalment, the report aggregates investment-level data to demonstrate the comparability of impact results within two sectors: clean energy access and housing.

Place-based impact investing growing in UK – Big Society Capital and Bristol Council invest £10 million in new fundwhich is aiming to address the causes and effects of inequality, whilst also generating a financial return for investors. Specific themes to be addressed include economic inclusion, environmental transformation, and community initiatives.

Dating tips: build long-term relationships in social investment. Pioneers Post talks to Flavie Gayet, investment manager at Telos Impact, and Martijn Blom, impact investor at Hivos Impact Investments, about what they look for from a social entrepreneur in order to build a long term relationship.

Culture and creative

Last week the Culture Secretary announced £250m new funding for innovative cultural projects, libraries, museums and the creative industries. Of this over £125m will be invested in regional museums and libraries around the country and more than £90m will be provided to extend the Cultural Development Fund which uses investment in heritage, culture and creativity to drive regeneration and growth.

NPC has published a new report “How can we engage more young people in arts and culture?


The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched a new tool, which is a resource for learning about the UK’s human rights duties under UN treaties and identifying where the UK Government is falling short.  The EHRC says it enables users to:

  • find out what the UN has said about a particular human rights issue (such as access to justice and inclusive education) or population group (such as disabled people or children) in the UK
  • access information on the international human rights framework to use in research, legal, policy and advocacy work
  • find out how to engage with international human rights mechanisms
  • understand how the UK’s international human rights obligations link to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


OSCR has announced that it has Maureen Mallon as its new permanent CEO.  She has been the interim Chief Executive since January, and will be taking up the new appointment immediately.

The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee has voted to support the government’s Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill, which includes a proposal to remove charitable rates relief from mainstream independent schools.

Disclaimer – The information contained in this update is not intended to be a comprehensive update – it is our selection of the website announcements 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 October 16, 2019.