Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 11 December

Bates Wells highlights

Social Enterprise

Bates Wells has published a draft Company Purpose (Amendment) Bill – legislation which, if passed, would displace shareholder primacy as the orthodoxy in British board rooms. For more, see here.

How can charities best equip themselves to meet the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 – particularly when it comes to transgender inclusion? Mindy Jhittay, in a video interview with Thomson Reuters, both answers this question and sets out a brief overview of gender identity and the legal protections that the Equality Act 2010 and the Gender Recognition Act 2004 provide to transgender people. Her video provides concise, informative guidance with respect to the rights that these individuals have to join single-sex charities. To find out more about the themes Mindy covers in her contribution, click here.

At a glance

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published its first draft regulatory guidance into the use of AI.

The Fundraising Regulator has published summaries of the latest batch of its completed investigations.

Tax and VAT

Charity Tax Group has published “What to expect from a statutory review of an HMRC decision”.


The Ministry of Justice has published the Government response to recommendation 3 of the IICSA report of the 9 May 2019 Anglican Church Case Studies: the Diocese of Chichester and the response to allegations against Peter Ball.  The government agrees it should amend Section 21 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 so as to include clergy within the definition of a position of trust. This would criminalise under s16–s20 sexual activity between clergy and a person aged 16 to 18, over whom they exercise pastoral authority, involving the abuse of a position of trust.

See below under Fundraising.

Data protection

Data protection fee

Have you recently received a letter through the post with the concerning headline of “Unpaid data protection fee. Due by 17 December”? See this Briefing from Bates Wells’ Molly Waiting about what you should do. 


The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published its first draft regulatory guidance into the use of AI. The guidance, “Explaining decisions made with AI”, is co-badged with The Alan Turing Institute and is out for consultation until 24 January 2020. The ICO also published a blog to coincide with the publication.


Fundraising Regulator

The Fundraising Regulator has published summaries of the latest batch of completed investigations. Breaches were upheld against all except one of the charities. 

Safeguarding in fundraising

Civil Society Media the Institute of Fundraising has launched a free phone line for people looking for confidential support and advice about safeguarding issues they have witnessed or experienced. The IoF says it encourages anyone who has witnessed or experiences harassment at an IoF event or who wishes to complain about a member’s behaviour to use its complaints procedure or the Tell Jane service.



The High Court has granted Birmingham City Council’s application for the continuation of interim injunctions restricting street protests about a school’s teaching policy (which sought to normalise tolerance and acceptance of difference by incorporating the language of equality into everyday school life) and prohibiting online abuse of teachers at that school.   

Social finance

UK General Election 2019: Key manifesto takeaways on investment, ownership and procurement. Social Investment Business CEO, Nick Temple, looks at key themes affecting the social investment sector across the main parties’ manifestos, including community-level investment, shared ownership business and social value in procurement, and the need overall for greater social investment.  

Access’ Enterprise Development Programme (EDP) to re-open and expand in early 2020, to support charities and social enterprises operating in the mental health and equality sectors, in addition to those working in homelessness and youth. The EDP provides a broad range of support (including grants), helping charities and social enterprises to establish new enterprise models, or grow existing ones.

How we made it: The Resonance funds providing 800 homes for people in need. Following success at the NatWest SE100 Awards, Pioneers Post carries a video looking at how social investment firm Resonance partnered with homelessness charity St Mungo’s to set up three different funds to buy and lease properties to people in housing need. The video mostly focuses on the impact story, but does provide some detail on the development of the funds.

Faith based organisations

See above under Safeguarding.


A Berkshire based adoption agency has been found to have discriminated against a British born couple of Sikh Indian heritage. The Manders, who are British but of Sikh Indian heritage, were told in 2016 that although they would be suitable adoptive parents, they could not make an application because white couples would be given priority as only white children were available. They were then advised to consider adopting from India. The court has ruled in favour of their claim that they should not have been barred from applying to join the approved adopters register because of where their parents were born and has declared the council’s action as “direct discrimination on the grounds of race”.


The European Commission has published a Report on liability for AI and other new technologies that it commissioned from an independent expert group. The report explores whether the liability regimes in EU member states are fit for the purpose of apportioning liability for emerging digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things and services, and distributed ledger technologies. The issues discussed include, for example, where liability should fall when a technology involves multiple operators or an item contains components from multiple suppliers, whether the strict liability of a producer should extend to defects that appear after the product is in circulation, and the extent of a producer’s duty of care. The report recommends that producers should, where appropriate, have a duty to equip their technology with a means of recording information about how it is operating, and discusses where the burden should lie of proving fault and causation of harm.

Corporate governance

Bates Wells has published a draft Company Purpose (Amendment) Bill – legislation which, if passed, would displace shareholder primacy as the orthodoxy in British board rooms. For more, see here.

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 December 11, 2019.