Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 6 November

Bates Wells higlights

A consultation on refreshing the Charity Governance Code has opened.

Following Monday’s NCVO/Bates Wells Trustee Conference, Civil Society has covered the keynote speech that Philip Kirkpatrick delivered during the event’s morning session. Civil Society’s piece features Philip’s comments on the assured unitary governance model, which point out how this framework could help to address many of the problems currently facing charity trustees.

At a glance

From April 2020, £10m funding will be available to partner organisations, including charities, to help vulnerable people claim Universal Credit.

The Local Government Association has published “A councillor’s guide to procurement: 2019 edition”.

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has published an inquiry report into The Institute for Statecraft.

Charity Commission

New class inquiry

The Charity Commission has just announced that it opened a statutory class inquiry back in April into seven charities linked by two common trustees and common registered contact details. The charities are:

  • IPAD (1131132)
  • FAO (Friends of African Organisations) (1147157)
  • BAC (British Africa Connexions) (1171412)
  • KDDA (Kono District Development Association UK) (1160673) (already removed from the inquiry)
  • Hope Direct (1114725)
  • SAAPA (Social Action and Poverty Alleviation) (1111959)
  • ACT (Action for Community Transformation) (1174726)

The commission says that it identified a series of discrepancies across the charities’ accounts and exercised its power to obtain the charities’ bank statements to examine its concerns further. With the exception of one charity there is no evidence of charitable activity and in at least one charity the issues indicate a potential misapplication of charitable funds and possible personal benefit. The commission has frozen the bank accounts held in the names of six of the charities.

Inquiry and regulatory case reports

Name of organisationBrief descriptionAnything unusual e.g. unusual facts or novel/rare use of Commission’s powers
Regulatory compliance case report for Kick It OutCase opened following a whistleblowing report and a subsequent serious incident report.The commission found a series of governance failures, relating to poor communication amongst the senior management and trustees, which contributed to the slow sharing of information about the SIR to the trustees.The charity itself commissioned a review of the charity by a QC and is implementing the recommendations made.
Inquiry report for Jalalabad Association (1012090)Press releaseThis Islamic charity was originally included in the “double defaulters” class inquiry for not having filed its financial information for four consecutive years.This led to the commission investigating further concerns about the charity, including a lack of financial controls and lack of safeguarding procedures at the mosque’s after school provision.The commission found there were three trustees in post who were unaware that they had been legally appointed as trustees.
The commission obtained voluntary undertakings from the three founder trustees not to act as trustees of this or any other charity for a period of 10 years.

Accessible documents policy

The commission has published an accessible documents policy in accordance with The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 which applies to certain documents on the commission’s website. Certain documents which are not accessible and are required to be will have to be amended by September 2020.

SORP Committee

The SORP Committee is seeking engagement partners to help reform SORP; they can be individuals or organisations which have an interest in financial reporting in the sector.


consultation on refreshing the Charity Governance Code has opened.  The Steering Group is proposing a ‘light refresh’ of the Code in 2020, with more far-ranging changes taking place in 2023.  The “light refresh”:

  • Means there will be a “high bar” for changes in 2020, particularly to the seven principles of the Code and their associated rationale and outcomes.
  • Will focus more on additions and revisions to the Code’s recommended practice.
  • Will look at a few areas where the Steering Group thinks there is a case for urgent change.

The consultation process will run from 4 November 2019 until 28 February 2020. You can download the consultation document here. You can also submit responses through the online survey available here.

Also see under Fundraising below. 

Election and campaigning

NCVO has published a blog “What charities need to know about the general election”.  


Charity General

This Civil Society Media  article reviews the UK’s economic outlook and the effect Brexit is having on raising Bank of England rates.

EU Funding

The Cabinet Office has published new and updated guidance on the subject of EU funding to help stakeholders prepare for the UK leaving the EU without a deal in place.


According to this Civil Society Media article , Brexit is creating a state of extreme uncertainty which is having a significant impact on both legacy and in-memory giving.

Health and Social Care

The Health Service Journal has published an article which states that the new Brexit plan is worse for the NHS than Theresa May’s and warns that the NHS will be exposed to more risk by the government.

The NHS Confederation have released a report which assesses the impact on the NHS of future trade deals after Brexit and argues that the impact of trade deals should be assessed to ensure that commercial advantage is not prioritised at the expense of human and economic health. The report finds that a post-Brexit trade agreement with the US will not of itself threaten the founding principles of the NHS but trade agreements should not include publicly funded healthcare.

The NHS Confederations have released a ‘temperature check’ of the views of health leaders at this stage of Brexit planning reveals how prepared their organisations are for a potential no-deal Brexit. The document’s executive summary provides an update from health leaders who have asked for the following to help the NHS manage the initial impact of a no-deal Brexit:

  • early, clear and succinct communication that avoids duplication
  • early information for NHS trusts about expectations on reporting and other actions
  • a nationally consistent message about sharing staff between trusts 
  • tailor the assurance process to specific sectors such as mental health
  • details of assurance that stock supplies are in place and how they will be maintained
  • timely information about post-Brexit changes, from treating EU citizens to employing them
  • a centrally-led platform for sharing planning and best practice.

Data protection

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has announced that it will be developing a toolkit to help organisations comply with their accountability obligations under the General Data Protection Regulation ((EU) 2016/679) (GDPR) which is intended for launch in 2020.  Controllers are invited to submit their views and suggestions to the ICO on its initial proposals for the scope, structure and design of the toolkit to help best achieve the delivery of a framework that is user friendly and suitable for purpose.


To mark Trustees’ Week, the Fundraising Regulator has published a blog “Questions your board should be asking about fundraising”


From April 2020, £10m funding will be available to partner organisations, including charities, to help vulnerable people claim Universal Credit.


Early years

See this government announcement about increases to funding of early years’ provision. 

Schools and Further education

The government has given more detail of how funding announced in August for school sixth forms and colleges will be allocated. 

  • an extra £65 million will be targeted to help cover the cost of delivering courses in six key, more expensive subject areas: building and construction, hospitality and catering, engineering, transportation operations and maintenance, manufacturing technologies and science; and 
  • £55 million will be allocated for delivering high value courses – those that “deliver the skills the country needs for the future and which lead to higher wages for students, including a number of STEM subjects”; and 
  • £35 million more will be provided to support students on level 3 courses (A level equivalent) who have not yet achieved a GCSE pass in maths and English to improve vital literacy and numeracy skills.

Academies and sixth form colleges across England can now bid for a share of more than £400 million to improve school buildings and facilities, and create more school places.

Health and social care

Following legislation laid in Parliament last week, from 2 December, everyone eligible for an NHS wheelchair and people who require aftercare services under section 117 of the Mental Health Act will have access to a personal health budget.  See here for more details. 

The government has published its response to the House of Commons Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee’s Eighteenth Report of Session 2017-19. The government has recognised the committee’s observation that there is an urgent need for increased adult social care funding, both at a local and national level. The government confirmed that the 2019 Spending Review had provided additional funding of £1.5 billion for 2020 (including £1 billion of dedicated grant funding across adults’ and children’s social care and a proposed 2% adult social care precept), which is intended to stabilise the position until fundamental reforms can be implemented to “put social care on a more fair and sustainable footing”.

Social finance

Accelerating change: an EU policy-maker’s perspective of social finance. Ann Branch, from the European Commission, writes for the Pioneers Post/EVPA Impact Papers series, considering the role of public policy in the growth of the social investment sphere.

Shaping the future of social investment? We need to listen – and learn from the past. In this Pioneers Post blog, CEO of Social Investment Business (SIB), Nick Temple, highlights how the social investment market should focus on its primary purpose – providing access to the right finance and support to charities and social enterprises – and considers SIB’s experiences from its Futurebuilders fund.

In partnership with Wellcome and the Wolfson Foundation, the Carnegie UK Trust is offering funding to public libraries to deliver public engagement projects on research in health, society and culture through its Engaging Libraries Phase 2 programme.


The Local Government Association has published A councillor’s guide to procurement: 2019 edition aimed at executive members and those engaged in overview and scrutiny work. The guide follows the publication of the LGA’s National Procurement Strategy and accompanying toolkit in 2018 which focused on the role of councillors in procurement.  The guide deals with a number of questions commonly asked by councillors including:

  • What is the procurement process and why do major procurements in local government fail?
  • What are the role and responsibilities of a councillor?
  • How is social value delivered under the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 and more generally?

The guide also includes case studies, questions that councillors may ask about corporate arrangements and major projects and a jargon buster.


OSCR has published an inquiry report into The Institute for Statecraft (SC040870). OSCR concluded that that the charity was not meeting the legal tests required for charitable status in Scotland because:

  • its purposes were not entirely charitable
  • one of its most significant activities, a project known as the Integrity Initiative, did not provide public benefit in furtherance of the charity’s purposes
  • private benefit to charity trustees was not clearly incidental to the charity’s provision of benefit to the public.

OSCR also found that the charity trustees had breached their trustee duties to act with care and diligence in the interest of the charity. OSCR wrote to the charity with its findings and since then, the charity trustees have taken steps to meet the charity test and to address the governance issues identified in the inquiry.  OCSR therefore does not consider formal action to be necessary or proportionate but it will continue to monitor the charity’s activities and governance.

The Scottish Parliament Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee has given its backing to the UEFA Championship Bill which is being introduced ahead of Scotland hosting football matches as part of the EURO 2020 tournament in summer 2020. Among other things, the Bill will allow charity collecting in designated “fan zones”.

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 6, 2019.