Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 28 January

Bates Wells highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

Good news! The government is no longer proposing that the Trust Registration Service should be extended to all charitable trusts. See this Briefing for more details.

Bates Well’s Head of Privacy, Victoria Horden, has written about “Data Privacy, International Data Transfers and Brexit: what next in 2020?

At a glance

The Government has launched a new online portal to “strengthen its support to charities handling safeguarding concerns or allegations”.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has amended its guidance on the timescale for compliance with a data subject access request (DSAR), when the controller requests clarification from the data subject.

The government has announced a raft of measures aimed at improving building safety in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Charity Commission

New board members

DCMS has announced the appointment of Joanne Prowse and Imran Gulamhuseinwala OBE to the Charity Commission Board.   

The commission has also announced the appointment of Paul Lathan as its new director of communications and policy, succeeding Sarah Atkinson. Paul will join the Commission in mid-March from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), where he is Director of Communications and Strategy.

IM appointment

The commission has announced that it has appointed an interim manager to the charity CAWRM Ltd, also known as Jerusalem Merit. The IM’s role will be to assess specific issues, including the charity’s relationship with a third-party company, and the charity’s viability and the charity’s trustees will remain responsible for the general running of the charity while the IM conducts his work.    

Inquiry reports

Name of organisationBrief descriptionAnything unusual e.g. unusual facts or novel/rare use of Commission’s powers
All Nations Community Centre (1111832)
Inquiry report      CC press release
The former trustees of this Gloucester community centre did not recognise the centre as a charity despite it being registered and established as such. The centre’s main activity was the running of a bar.The inquiry was opened after the charity failed to file required financial information for over 5 years and a former trustee said that they wanted to de-register.Two serious crimes that occurred in 2015 and 2017 near the charity’s premises after events were held there also gave rise to concern over whether the former trustees were running the charity in a way that promoted public confidence or protected its reputation as such. Neither incident was reported as a serious incident to the commission.The inquiry took protective action to vest the property in the Official Custodian of Charities following the comments from the former trustee that they wanted to de-register the charity.  This action ensured that the charity could not dispose of the property without the prior approval of the commission or the court. Once the inquiry was satisfied that the charity’s property was not at risk, the order was discharged.
The charity has also now set up a separate trading subsidiary to run the bar.
The Commission will be monitoring the progress of the charity with a follow up visit.


The commission has announced that it has signed a data sharing agreement with ACCA, (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) to facilitate the referral of concerns about accountancy services provided to charities. It comes as part of the regulator’s wider work with the accountancy and audit profession aimed at raising the standard of financial reporting by charities and the undertaking allows, in certain circumstances, the commission to share details about individual ACCA members with their professional body.

Trust Registration Service

On 24 January HMRC and HM Treasury published a consultation into the proposed extension of the Trust Registration Service as a result of the Fifth Money Laundering Directive. Government is now proposing that the rules should not be extended to charitable trusts – because the risk of these kinds of trusts being used for money laundering or terrorist financing activity – which is what the Directive is intended to prevent – is low. This is extremely good news for charities.  The original consultation on the Directive, in April 2019, had suggested that charitable trusts would be required to register: Bates Wells had responded to that consultation canvassing for the exclusion of charitable trusts from the new registration requirements. At present, charitable trusts only need to register if they incur a tax liability, which is very rare. The consultation, which closes on 21 February, can be found here. For more on the background to and implications of this, please see this briefing from Bates Wells’ Lucy Rhodes.

Tax and VAT

Previously we’ve mentioned a recent case about VAT zero rating for digital newspapers. See here for a detailed analysis of the case from Bates Wells’ Susan Shi and Bill Lewis.


Louise Thomson from the Governance Institute has written about “Trusteeship in 2020: Time for a governance change?


In the UK, the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 (“the Withdrawal Act”) has completed its passage through Parliament and received royal assent on 23 January 2020.

In Brussels, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, the leaders of the European commission and council, have signed the withdrawal agreement. 

At 11:00pm on 31 January 2020 UK time (which will be 00:00am CET on 1 February 2020), the TEU and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union shall cease to apply to the UK, along with all other EU primary and secondary law and the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (Brexit) will be achieved, triggering the transition period provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement agreed between the UK and EU (assuming this has been ratified).

Budget 2020

The government has announced that the next budget announcement will be on 11 March. NCVO reports the Treasury has opened its budget representations portal and submissions must be made by 7 February 2020. NCVO will submitting a joint response with other sector bodies in the coming weeks.


Last week the Government launched a new online portal to “strengthen its support to charities handling safeguarding concerns or allegations”. The government has also provided funding for the portal to be promoted by six organisations across England.

Data protection


Bates Well’s Head of Data Privacy, Victoria Hordern, has written about “Data Privacy, International Data Transfers and Brexit: what next in 2020?

Responding to subject access requests

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has amended its General Data Protection Regulation: Right of access guidance on the timescale for compliance with a data subject access request (DSAR), when the controller requests clarification from the data subject. The start of the one-month time period for compliance is no longer paused until the controller receives the requested information. Likewise, the extended timescale (of up to two further months) for responding to complex or multiple DSARs is no longer paused (Article 12(3), GDPR). The new timescale will start to run from date of receipt of the DSAR or, if later, upon receipt of proof of identification (Article 12(6), GDPR).   PLC comments “This change is likely to pose a number of practical issues for those responding to DSARs, particularly where the data subject delays in providing the information requested, thereby reducing the time in which to collate a response. This may particularly be the case where it’s necessary to identify numerous people or departments holding the personal data or for example, where nicknames are used.”

Children’s privacy

The ICO has published the final version of its Age Appropriate Design Code. The code sets out 15 standards that online services should meet to protect children’s privacy.

Direct Marketing Code of Practice

In an earlier Briefing we mentioned the ICO has published a draft Code of Practice on Direct Marketing. Mairead O’Reilly from our Data Privacy team has written this blog exploring what the code means.


See above under Data protection, Children’s privacy.

Fundraising Regulator

Last week we mentioned the Fundraising Regulator has published new guidance on fundraising content in annual reports. Bates Wells’ Jess Neville explains more in this summary of the key takeaways from the new guidance.



The Schools (Mental Health and Wellbeing) Bill [HL] 2019-20 (a Private Members’ Bill) has been presented in the House of Lords by Baroness Tyler of Enfield. If enacted, it will amend the Education Act 2002 and the Academies Act 2010 to require schools under those Acts to promote the mental health and wellbeing of their pupils. It was read a first time and ordered to be printed. The date of the Bill’s second reading is to be announced.

As part of a national drive to encourage 60 minutes of physical activity per day across the week, the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced total funding worth £2.4 million for better sports activities and teaching, including for schools in 19 areas across England to collaborate with sports organisations to increase the opportunities to use school sports facilities outside the school day. The Active Partnership Network, supported by Sport England, will set up partnerships between schools and local sport providers, encouraging them to open up their sport facilities for fun and engaging sporting competitions, after school clubs and holiday activities.

Social finance

Ten characteristics of an investor for impact. Pioneers Post reports on the progress of the EVPA’s Charter of Investors for Impact, which is designed to answer the questions “what does investing for impact actually mean? how does such an investor behave, and what principles do they live by?”. The article provides a series of short videos to help explain the purpose and principles of the Charter. For more, EVPA are hosting a free webinar on ‘Webinar: The Charter of Investors for Impact: What do we stand for?’ on 29 January 2020.

The State of Impact Measurement and Management Practice, Second Edition.  The GIIN has published its second global survey of the state of impact measurement and management (“IMM”) practice in the impact investing industry, based in data from data from 278 impact investors, digging deeper into how investors describe their objectives and motivations, their strategies for understanding and improving their impact, their processes for holding themselves and their investees accountable, and other elements of their IMM practices.

Establishment of the Hargreaves Foundation. Charities ‘and organisations’ across the UK will be able to apply for a share of £100m over the next year from a new charity launched by the billionaire co-founder of the online investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown. It is intended that the Foundation will be operational, with permanent staff and able to disburse grants, by the second half of 2020.


The government has announced a raft of measures aimed at improving building safety in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire. The announcements include:

  • The immediate establishment of a Building Safety Regulator, under the auspices of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
  • Measures relating to the construction of new buildings, with a proposed expansion of the cladding ban in England and a promise to clarify the government’s plans for widening sprinkler requirements.
  • Key issues for building owners, with updated guidance on safety issues, a promise to support local authorities in their enforcement options and a threat to “name and shame” building owners who have failed to remove unsafe cladding from their buildings.


The government has confirmed its plans for the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP). The OEP will be created by the Environment Bill 2019-20 (expected soon) as a new independent environmental watchdog to act as a domestic replacement for the scrutiny function of the European Commission and the European Environment Agency after Brexit.  The OEP is due to be fully operational from 1 January 2021.

Bates Wells is hosting a conversation in February 2020 on the topic of “What is our legal strategy to tackle the biodiversity crisis?”  We will be exploring possibilities for using the law in innovative ways, for example by changing directors’ duties; establishing the international crime of ecocide; strategic uses of judicial review; and the possibility of winding up companies in the public interest. The goal of the event is to develop a roadmap for future action and for participants to help identify new and promising avenues by which the law might be used by different actors to address our biodiversity crisis, as well as possible next steps. These will then be synthesised in the form of a legal strategy document to stimulate action.  For more background see here


See under Education, Schools above.


OSCR is reminding Scottish charities about the notifiable events regime (similar to serious incident reporting in England & Wales).

Northern Ireland

CCNI has issued a public call to all NI charities to ensure the regulator knows the charity exists. CCNI is managing the registration of the thousands of charities via a carefully managed process, whereby the regulator calls organisations forward to apply for registration in groups or “tranches”, matching the number of incoming applications against available resources at a given time. However, the first step is letting the regulator know that a charity exists.

Training for charity trustees

We’ve put together a bespoke in-house training programme to help you navigate board governance. This training is suitable for all of your trustees, whether in their first trustee role, new to your charity or just in need of a refresher of their duties. At the end of this training we aim to make sure that all your trustees feel confident in their duties and responsibilities and have a good overview of the legal and regulatory requirements of a charity and what good governance looks like in practice. Click here to find out more here

Charity trustees

If your charity is looking for new trustees then you might be interested to hear that you can now share your advert on the Trustee Unlimited website and connect with their networks. Trustees Unlimited is one of the UK’s leading trustee and board recruitment agencies, working with a broad portfolio of organisations such as charities, social enterprises, housing associations, student’s unions and more. As a proud partner of Trustees Unlimited, we are excited to share this news with our contacts, so make sure you click here to find out more and get started with posting your ad!

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 January 28, 2020.