Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 11 February

Bates Wells highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

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At a glance

HMRC has announced the off-payroll working rules, also known as IR35, will now apply only to payments made for services provided on or after 6 April 2020.

Further education providers across the country are to benefit from a package of support, worth up to £24 million. 

The Government and NHS England have committed at least an additional £1.5 billion in total for general practice over the next four years for additional staff.  

Charity Commission

Charity investment

Following the Charity Commission gathering views on the subject of responsible investing by charities, Luke Fletcher has spoken with Investment & Pensions Europe (IPE) to provide his perspective on this topical issue.

Charity law cases

Local Government Lawyer reports that in the ongoing case of Rittson-Thomas v Oxfordshire CC, Oxfordshire County Council has been given permission to appeal by the Supreme Court in a dispute over whether the ownership of land, which was gifted to a school under the School Sites Act 1841, reverted to the donor’s estate when the school ceased to operate from the gifted land. See here for previous analysis on this case from Bates Wells’ Sophie Cass.

Tax and VAT

HMRC has announced the off-payroll working rules, also known as IR35, will now apply only to payments made for services provided on or after 6 April 2020. Previously, the rules would have applied to any payments made on or after 6 April 2020, regardless of when the services were carried out. It means organisations will only need to determine whether the rules apply for contracts they plan to continue beyond 6 April 2020. This is set out in updated guidance in the Employment Status Manual.

The Charity Tax Group has published a letter sent to the Chancellor, outlining representations on a range of tax issues, in advance of Budget 2020 on 11th March.

Transparency – registration of charitable trusts

We’ve previously mentioned HMRC’s consultation on implementing the trust registration provisions of the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive. The consultation states that government proposes that charitable trusts should not be required to register, because the risk that they will be used for money laundering or terrorist financing activity is low. But the wording of the draft legislation accompanying the consultation would mean that small charities (i.e. below the £5k threshold for registration with the Charity Commission) would need to register. There is also concern that Northern Irish charities in the queue for registration with CCNI would be caught, and uncertainty about permanent endowment and restricted funds held by corporate charities. The consultation closes on 21 February 2020.  


NPC’s Head of Policy has written a blog about how post leaving the European Union, the UK policy landscape will change and what this means for charities. 

Also see under Health below.


A newly elected Conservative MP has introduced a private members’ Bill to establish a body to assess the benefits and effectiveness of third sector organisations and provide support to such organisations; and for connected purposes.  The bill is the “Third Sector Organisations (Impact and Support) Bill 2020” – for more background see this Civil Society Media article.  


Fundraising Regulator

Civil Society Media reports 1,795 charities out of about 1900 have paid the Fundraising Regulator’s voluntary levy. 1,932 small charities that have fundraising costs under £100,000 are now registered with the regulator, together with 128 commercial organisations that do not have charitable status.


Alliance magazine has launched the ClimatePhilanthropy2030 initiative. Starting from January 2020, Alliance has committed to weekly coverage until 2030, providing over 500 pieces of unique content on climate philanthropy over the next decade. To find out more see

Also see under Faith based organisations.


Further education

Further education providers across the country are to benefit from a package of support, worth up to £24 million.  It includes:

  • £11 million to provide bursaries and grants worth up to £26,000 to attract people to train to teach in FE, in priority subject areas such as STEM, English and SEND teaching. 
  • A £10 million boost to expand the government’s successful Taking Teaching Further programme, delivered in partnership with sector body the Education and Training Foundation (ETF), which sees industry professionals working in sectors such as engineering and computing to retrain as further education teachers. 
  • £3 million for high-quality mentor training programmes, designed and delivered by the ETF to support FE teachers.

Also see under Culture and Creative below.


The Government and NHS England have committed at least an additional £1.5 billion in total for general practice over the next four years for additional staff. This funding is for the recruitment of 6,000 more primary care professionals as well as for initiatives to support the recruitment and retention of doctors in general practice. The General Practice Contract for 2020/21 also includes a roadmap for bringing in 26,000 new staff to bolster surgeries. This will include pharmacists, physiotherapists, dietitians and occupational therapists, who will become a core part of local primary care teams.

The government is investigating more flexible training to allow existing healthcare professionals (e.g. physiotherapists and pharmacists) to train to become doctors and nurses. The government says this is now possible due to the UK leaving the EU.

Social finance

European Foundation Centre launches call for input for latest mapping of European environmental funding. The EFC plans to expand coverage in its 5th edition of this study, by collecting comprehensive data in order to provide a picture of the grant funding landscape in Europe for organisations working on environmental issues.

The European Investment Bank Institute is accepting applications for the 2020 Social Innovation Tournament, which recognises and supports European social entrepreneurs whose primary purpose is to generate a social, ethical or environmental impact. Applicants compete for the General Category and Special Category 1st and 2nd Prizes of EUR 50 000 and EUR 20 000 respectively.

Gorgi Krlev from the University of Heidelberg’s Centre for Social Investment writes for Pioneers Post:

  1. looking at why Europe seems to underperform in impact investing and making the point that impact investing within Europe will always serve a different function than elsewhere due to the history of the welfare system across the continent; and
  2. looking at whether the current swell of mainstream interest in impact investing helpful or harmful: Is impact investing becoming too fashionable for its own good?

Chief Executive of Big Society Capital stepping down to join the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG). Cliff Prior has announced he will be moving on from Big Society Capital, after four years at the helm, to be the new Chief Executive at GSG.

Faith based organisations

Augustus Della-Porta, partner in our Charity & Social Enterprise team, has contributed an article  on waqf, charity law and charitable giving within Islam to The Forum, the quarterly journal published by the Muslim Charity Forum.

Culture and creative

The Department for Education is inviting views from musicians, specialist teachers, young people and their parents about their experience and what they want to see in the updated National Plan for Music Education which will be published in autumn 2020. The Call for Evidence includes specific questions on SEND and inclusivity, music technology and the music education hubs.


Companies House forms – changes from 1 January 2021

Companies House has published guidance confirming that, at the end of the Brexit transition period (31 December 2020):

  • UK companies or LLPs with EEA corporate officers will have to provide additional details for those officers; and
  • Companies House forms relating to ‘societas Europaea’ (SEs) and European economic interest groupings (EEIGs) will broadly be discontinued.


Bates Wells’ partner Jamie Huard has written an explainer for charitable companies detailing what is required of them under the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) policy.


OSCR has published updated guidance on its inquiry and compliance casework.

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 February 11, 2020.