Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 12 November

Bates Wells highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

In the run up to Election 2019, many organisations will be turning thoughts to campaigning – and the surrounding regulations. Campaigning can be a lawful, legitimate and appropriate way for a charity to achieve its purposes, but the regulations can seem like a barrier. We’ve produced a suite of resources to tackle some of the main issues and considerations that charities need to explore before undertaking or funding a campaign.

Bates Wells’ Head of Data Privacy, Victoria Hordern, has written this blog about the importance of data accountability for charities.  

At a glance

The Charity Commission has published a special edition of CC News, reminding charities of the responsibilities of charity trustees in the run up to the general election.

NCVO has made available all the slides from sessions at last week’s NCVO Bates Wells Trustee Conference.

NCVO, in conjunction with the Institute of Fundraising, has published guidance on “Safeguarding for fundraising managers”.   

SCVO, the Scottish Government and OSCR are holding a joint webinar on possible extensions to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Charity Commission

CC News – General Election special

The commission has published a reminder of the responsibilities of charity trustees in the run up to the general election and where to find the relevant guidance on this, by publishing a special edition of CC news. This newsletter has also been emailed out to those listed as charity contacts on the Register of charities, with the expectation that they will forward it to their trustees.

Regulatory compliance case report

The Charity Commission has published a regulatory case report about Pain UK (1145561). The commission opened the case following an investigation by The Sunday Times, which alleged close links between the patient voice charity and the pharmaceutical industry, particularly a consulting agency called Cello Health whose clients include pharmaceutical companies. The commission found that, whilst the charity has received funding from the pharmaceutical industry, its income has diversified over time and the reliance of that funding has decreased. The trustees made clear that it is their policy to only accept unrestricted educational grants from donors. Concerns that the charity had been misused for non-charitable interests were not upheld. However, in line with the commission’s current strategy, it said that whilst the charity was compliant with accounting requirements and there was no evidence that the trustees failed in their legal duties, the trustees should do more to actively demonstrate that they are protecting the charity from outside interests “so that they can inspire trust”. The Commission has issued the trustees with regulatory advice under section 15(2) of the Charities Act.

IM appointment

The Charity Commission has appointed an interim manager (M) to Aid Convoy (1149015), a charity with purposes to support people who have been affected by natural or other disasters overseas. The IM’s appointment is to the exclusion of the charity’s trustees and the commission says his role is to take control of the day-to-day running of the charity while giving consideration to its future viability.

Safer Giving

Last week the commission issued safer giving advice around giving to remembrance charities.


Last week we mentioned the Governance Code consultation.  Rosie Chapman has written this blog about some of the proposed changes and the need to balance updating the Code, with the fact that many charities are still working to implement the principles. 

Also see under General below.

Tax and VAT


As you may know, from April 2020, IR35 will apply to private sector organisations (which includes charities) if they exceed these thresholds:

  • Turnover > £10.2m
  • Balance sheet total > £5.1m
  • Number of employees: 50 or more

Charity Tax Group has obtained clarification from HMRC that the definition of “turnover” does not include donations or voluntary income.


Last week’s NCVO Bates Wells Trustee Conference covered a wide range of topics.  The slides from the day are available to download at these links:


Health and Social Care

The King’s Fund have released an update which looks into the recent Brexit developments and their implications on the Health and Social Care sector such as staffing and receiving treatment abroad and within the UK.

Data protection

Bates Wells’ Head of Data Privacy, Victoria Hordern, has written this blog about the importance of accountability for charities.  


Refusing and returning donations

The Institute of Fundraising has published this summary of a roundtable held to discuss issues of refusing and returning donations. 

Safeguarding for fundraisers

NCVO, in conjunction with the Institute of Fundraising, has published guidance on “Safeguarding for fundraising managers”. It includes a checklist and these two sets of guidance:

Fundraising Preference Service

The Fundraising Regulatory has published a list of charities that, as of 1 November 2019, have not logged on to the Fundraising Preference Service charity portal to access requests from the public to stop communication.


Bates Wells’ David Hunter has written this article about the imperative for viewing investment decisions through a climate lens.



The Department for Education has published:

  • information about the introduction of compulsory relationships education and RSE from September 2020.  The Q&A include the answer to this question “Does the new Relationships Education and RSE curriculum take account of my faith?”
  • School governance updates
  • guidance for schools and colleges on security. The guidance follows a consultation in 2018 on a draft version.  The guidance highlights the importance of schools and colleges having a policy and plan in place to manage security-related incidents and of having a person responsible for leading on security working alongside the existing safeguard lead. The guidance also covers: health and safety obligations; planning and managing an incident or emergency occurring both during and outside normal working hours; business continuity management.

Alongside the guidance, the DfE has also published templates and checklists for schools and colleges (for example, an evacuation template, terrorist incident response template and a business continuity plan template and checklist).

See under Scotland, Business rates below.

Social mobility

The government has announced £18 million additional funding to extend the Opportunity Area programme which supports social mobility in disadvantaged areas.


See under Brexit above. 

Social finance

A study into the challenges and benefits of commissioning Social Impact Bonds in the UK, and the potential for replication and scaling: Final report is a new report commissioned by the DCMS. Civil Society Media covers the publication of the report.

Scaling up Community Investment in the UK: The case for investing. In partnership with Citi, Big Society Capital convened the Community Investment Steering Group. In this report, the Steering Group looks at how Community Development Finance Institutions could scale significantly to amplify the social and economic impact they help create, often in disadvantaged communities, by supporting small businesses (press release).

Is place-based investing the place to be? In this blog, Big Society Capital looks at what place-based investing is and why it is important.

Social Investment Business has published its 2018-19 impact report, which looks back at the impact the organisation has made and sets out its plans to improve and expands its work going forwards.

Why capital can’t be a coward: a disruptive take on impact. This open letter to the participants of the GSG Impact Summit in November 2019 looks at the impact investment movement and argues that the Impact Revolution requires a fundamental shift in beliefs, principles and values, as well as developing the new ‘Impact Opportunity’ within the existing market.

Pioneers Post’s new series in partnership with NatWest, Untold Banking, continues: Tough at the top – lessons on leadershipHow can we help ‘small’ stay ‘beautiful’?Peer Power and why we need more of it; and Our part in the ‘Impact Assembly Line’.

International development

Kate Sayer has been appointed Chair of BOND.  

Culture and creative

The UK Government is extending the Cultural Protection Fund with an additional £10 million of investment. 

Faith based organisations

See first item under Education above.


Charity regulation

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has published a video providing advice for first time trustees.

SCVO, the Scottish Government and OSCR are holding a joint webinar on possible extensions to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, this Thursday 14th November, 2019 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM and are inviting those interested to register in advance. The proposals focus on organisations that provide services on behalf of the public sector that are not currently subject to the FOI legislation, including some charities. The webinar will be a chance to hear from Scottish Government about the purpose of the consultation and an opportunity to ask questions directly.

Business rates

The proposed removal of business rate relief from independent schools has received approval from the Scottish Government Local Government and Communities Committee. The Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill has passed through Stage 1 of Scottish Parliamentary scrutiny.

Northern Ireland

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, CCNI, is warning trustees of NI charities to be aware of their duties in the run up to the election.

Disclaimer – The information contained in this update is not intended to be a comprehensive update – it is our selection of the website announcements made 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 November 12, 2019.