Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 26 November

Bates Wells highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

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At a glance

The Fundraising Regulator has published its annual report and accounts for 2018/19. 

A consolidated version of the Charities SORP has been published.

The Office of the Parliamentary Counsel and Government Legal Department have published a guide to gender-neutral drafting.

Charity Commission


Stephen Grenfell, Head of Investigations and Enforcement at the Charity Commission, has posted a blog about recent court action taken by the commission, including the recent contempt of court case which the commission won in the High Court.

Interim Manager appointment

The Charity Commission has announced that it has interim managers to The Jalloh Charitable Trust (1145466) and The Deacons Charitable Trust (1142038).

The two charities, which share connected trustees, are under statutory inquiry due to concerns about the trustees’ compliance with charity law, related party transactions and the management of conflicts of interest. The interim managers will carry out their work to the exclusion of the trustees.

Regulatory Compliance Case Report

The commission has published a regulatory compliance case report about City Hearts (1110314).

The charity runs services including residential accommodation for women overcoming addictions and refuges and supports programmes for people escaping exploitation and the commission’s engagement followed a television news investigation reported on the alleged experiences of women who had used the recovery programme of the charity and felt they had been subject to emotional harm. The commission opened a regulatory compliance case to assess governance and safeguarding at the charity. The commission concluded that there had been misconduct and/or mismanagement in relation to the management of safeguarding incidents and the management of conflicts of interest and/or loyalty. The commission has issued the charity with an action plan with which it will monitor compliance. Interestingly, the commission says that the trustees have been put on notice that any failure in taking the actions specified may result in further regulatory action including the issuing of an Official Warning.

Accounting and audit

second edition of the Charities SORP has been published.  It brings together changes made since the first edition was published in 2014.  

Election and campaigning

See here for a joint letter from The Jo Cox Foundation and the Committee on Standards in Public Life outlining their ongoing work on the Joint Standard of Conduct for all political parties and highlighting positive behaviours that candidates can pledge to in order to help contribute to a respectful election campaign.

Data protection/access to information

“Kid’s Code”

Last week the Information Commissioner submitted the final version of the Age Appropriate Design Code of Practice to the Secretary of State. The code, which creates safeguards for children when they are online, will need to be laid in Parliament before it takes effect. Current restrictions in the pre-election period mean that the submitted code will not be published until after a new government is formed.

Data ethics

The ICO has appointed its first data ethics adviser. 

Greenpeace obtains access to government report

The First Tier Information Rights Tribunal has ruled the Cabinet Office must disclose a government report about the state of the UK shale industry to Greenpeace. The fact the government had already disclosed the report to two non-departmental public bodies meant that it could no longer to rely on certain exceptions in the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.


Fundraising Regulator

Last week the Fundraising Regulator published its annual report and accounts for 2018/19.  The accompanying press release states key achievements include: 

  • 95% of fundraising organisations are now voluntarily choosing to pay the fundraising levy the way that they fundraise
  • 3,597 charities are now registered with the FR, up from 3,000 last year.
  • Online platforms are increasingly supportive of voluntary regulation, and 16 are now registered.
  • 8,719 suppression requests were received through the Fundraising Preference Service.
  • 757 complaints from members of the public have been resolved in the past year.

And Civil Society Media reports that at last week’s AGM, CEO Gerald Oppenheim said the FR plans to review the levy system for charities in 2020, and that it will be considering concerns that smaller charities are paying more proportionally than larger ones.

Corporate Fundraising

The IOF has posted this blog “Six big challenges corporate fundraisers face in 2020 (and how to overcome them)”.


NAVCA reportsNational Voices has published a collective statement on behalf of 61 charities and social enterprises – including NAVCA – which calls for the need to broaden the debate on health and recognise the importance of communities.  

Social finance

Big Society Capital reports that the UK Social Investment Market has grown by 30% in one year – now worth over £3.5 billion. This is the value of social impact investments outstanding at the end of 2018, a 32% (£865 million) increase year-on-year.

15 Years of Impact – Taking Stock and Looking Ahead. With this report EVPA considers the current landscape of investing for impact, and introduces the ‘Charter of Investors for Impact’ (ten principles that drive and distinguish behaviour) and the ‘Roadmap for Investors for Impact’ (identifying three key focus areas for future work) (report launch press release).

International development

BOND members have voted to adopt a new principle into the Bond Charter, which commits members to adhere to new guidelines on the ethical collection of images and stories, which were developed by Bond’s People in the Pictures Group.


See under Data protection above.

The Supreme Court has held that on an application for planning permission for a wind turbine development that was to be undertaken by a community benefit society, a promised donation to the community of a proportion of the turnover derived from the turbine was not a “material consideration” for the purposes of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 s.70(2) and the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 s.38(6). It was proffered as a general inducement to the local authority to grant planning permission and breached the principle that planning permission could not be bought or sold R. (on the application of Wright) v Resilient Energy Severndale Ltd.


See this blog for NCVO “Young volunteers and social action: the task for universities, the voluntary sector and communities”.

Guide to gender-neutral drafting published

The Office of the Parliamentary Counsel and Government Legal Department have published this guide to gender-neutral drafting.  


OSCR is reminding Scottish charities with a financial year end of 31 March 2019 that they must submit their accounts by 31 December.

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 November 26, 2019.