Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 18 February

Bates Wells highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

Stephen Lloyd Awards

Are you committed to making a positive change to society in a unique and systemic way? If so, scroll down to learn how to apply to the Stephen Lloyd Awards.

Charity trustees

If your charity is looking for new trustees, 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 including 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. You can click here to find out more and get started with posting your ad.

At a glance

The Disclosure and Barring Service has published new guidance on DBS checks for adult social care roles.  

A report from the Fundraising Regulator’s external reviewer has criticised some aspects of a Fundraising Regulator adjudication against a charity and a clothing collection company. 

Charities registered with the Fundraising Regulator can take part now in an independent evaluation of the Fundraising Preference Service. 

Fourteen members have been newly appointed to the SORP committee which oversees the rules for how charities across the UK and Ireland report on their finances.

Charity Commission

New inquiry

The commission has announced that it has opened an inquiry into The Everlasting Arms Ministries, due to concerns about its financial management. The commission says it is particularly concerned about the charity’s sale in 2016 of a property on the Old Kent Road in South London, the proceeds of which appear not to be adequately reflected in the charity’s accounts for the following years and about payments to individuals connected to the charity, including its trustees.

Inquiry report

Name of organisationBrief descriptionAnything unusual e.g. unusual facts or novel/rare use of Commission’s powers
Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) New Life Assembly (House of Prayer for All Nations) (former registered charity number 1084582)
Inquiry report
CC press release
The inquiry was opened following the charity repeatedly being in default of its filing obligations.It found that there were no trustees running the charity; the charity’s administrator provided information to the inquiry. The inquiry found that £50,000 had been paid to a pastor of the charity, which had been arranged by the administrator, despite the administrator not being registered as a trustee.The administrator was also a trustee of a separate incorporated charity, the RCCG New Life Assembly (1147980) which has identical objects to the charity. He advised that it was the intention to merge the old charity with the new charity but that this had become difficult to arrange.The Pastor could only evidence that £35,000 had been spent in furtherance of the old charity’s objects following enquiries made by the inquiry. However, the inquiry found that there has been subsequent correspondence with the Pastor and the Administrator (on behalf of both charities) concerning repayment of the money that is owed.The inquiry was provided with a copy of a draft repayment agreement between the Pastor and the Administrator, which requires that £250.00 per month will be repaid by the Pastor to the new charity until the money owed is repaid in full.The commission has now removed the old charity from the register.

SORP Committee

Fourteen members have been newly appointed to the SORP committee which oversees the rules for how charities across the UK and Ireland report on their finances. New applicants to the committee were sought in order to help make the accounts of charities more user-friendly for the public, funders and others, and to make preparation easier for smaller charities. The committee now includes organisations which work closely with charities and have a working knowledge of charity accounts, as well as greater membership from smaller charities.

Charity law cases

The First Tier Charity Tribunal has issued its final decision in an appeal brought by a private company, ICRI, in relation to a Charity Commission protective order over two ICRI bank accounts. The tribunal found the bank accounts were set up to receive rental income from two flats owned by a separate charity, Enfield Village Trust.  The appeal was unsuccessful but the Tribunal acknowledged that ICRI had legitimate concerns about the extended duration of a 2015 Order made by the Commission, the lack of any outcome to the inquiry in to the Charity and the very limited contact between ICRI and the interim managers appointed by the Charity Commission to manage the Charity.

Tax and VAT

Charity Tax Group reports the charity Nuffield Health has successfully challenged Merton LBC over its decision not to grant mandatory business rates relief on a gym. The charity argued successfully that its gym (previously a commercial operation run by a separate entity) was used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes and was therefore eligible for 80% mandatory charitable rates relief. The full judgment can be read here.

We understand that HMRC has launched investigations into nine companies, for the criminal offence of failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. This has been previously discussed in an article by Bates Wells’ Susan Shi and Bill Lewis, see here. The offence is not designed to target charities, and is aimed at professional advisers who set up aggressive tax avoidance structures. Nevertheless, although it is unlikely that HMRC will seek to investigate charities, they are still caught by the rules, and should ensure that they have up to date procedures in place. HMRC has useful guidance on the type of internal procedures which it would consider to be “reasonable prevention measures”, and we recommend that charities follow this guidance, including carrying out a risk assessment at the outset to determine the extent of the prevention measures required.


The Disclosure and Barring Service has published new guidance on DBS checks for adult social care roles.  


Fundraising Regulator

The Fundraising Regulator has published a report by its external reviewer – the report looks at the Fundraising Regulator’s handling of an adjudication against a charity and a clothing collection company. The external reviewer concluded that some  of the Fundraising Regulator’s findings of breaches were sustainable but the complainant’s evidence did not provide a sufficient foundation to fully support all of the code breaches found by the Fundraising Regulator. See here for the Executive Summary of the External Review and see here for the action the Fundraising Regulator has taken as a result of the report.

Fundraising Preference Service

The Fundraising Regulator has commissioned an independent evaluation of the Fundraising Preference Service. There is a questionnaire for charitable organisations who are registered with the Fundraising Regulator (either small charity registrants with a fundraising expenditure of less than £100,000 or large charities with a fundraising expenditure of over £100,000 that fall under the voluntary levy) and/or have received a request to stop communications to a named individual. To complete the questionnaire, click here. The questionnaire should take around 15 minutes to complete and closes at 9am on Monday 23rd March.



Ofsted is to be given an extra £400,000 to help investigate unregistered independent schools.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched a formal inquiry into how schools are monitoring and recording their use of restraint following widespread concerns about its use and the lack of data available.

Further education

The Department of Education has published plans for how the Education and Skills Funding Agency will remove funding approval from qualifications with low and no enrolments. This is part of the review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 and below in England.

Health and social care

Under new plans announced last week, putting children under the age of 16 in unregulated accommodation will become illegal. Minimum standards will also be introduced for unregulated accommodation, which provides accommodation but not care.

Social finance

New Philanthropy Capital has published Understanding Impact, a new report to help charities and funders who are looking to gain more useful insights into their work.

2019 Newton Charity Investment Survey. The survey found that while charities have seen improved investment performance, and expect this trend to continue, most do not plan to raise their spending. Civil Society Media provides commentary on the findings of the survey, particularly on the benefits charities say they are seeing in ESG engagement for investments.

In this blog, Big Society Capital comments on the importance of bringing impact intent to venture investing and its vision where every investment helps improve people’s lives, and describes how purpose-led start-ups provide a unique opportunity for innovation and scaling proven impact models.

How to open the black box of impact investing? In the final of a three-part series, Gorgi Krlev from the University of Heidelberg’s Centre for Social Investment is looking for answers to the question “what makes impact investing markets special and why do we know so little about them?”. He argues that maximising the potential of impact investing will require better marketing, more data/transparency and integrated actor coalitions, which go beyond traditional market rationales.

Access – the Foundation for Social Investment, has announced that Nick Hurd, the former civil society minister, will become the its Chair in April 2020.

Australia’s Social Impact Investing Taskforce has published its Interim Report, outlining the potential for developing the social impact investment landscape in that jurisdiction and three recommended initiatives for immediate implementation.


See under Tax and VAT above.


OSCR has published an interim inquiry report into the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Community Project Limited (SC024473). OSCR has appointed an interim judicial factor to manage the affairs of the charity following notification that the only active charity trustee of the charity had resigned. The inquiry into the charity was opened in 2018 following OSCR’s receipt of information which questioned whether the charity trustees were managing conflicts of interest appropriately, and further concerns about the use of the charity’s properties and funds.

Northern Ireland

CCNI has announced that it has opened an inquiry into Woodvale & Shankill Community Housing Association Ltd (NIC 100843) to examine the administration and financial controls of the charity.

Stephen Lloyd Awards

Applications are open for the 2020 Stephen Lloyd Awards.  Start-up charities, social enterprises, founders and thinkers who are ready to make positive changes to our world with solutions to society’s problems are invited to apply.  Applications close at midnight on 15 March. The Awards provides emerging innovations with the vital encouragement needed to cultivate their ideas and spread their impact. Winners receive funding of up to £20,000, along with an opportunity to receive valuable pro bono support from experts in the charity and social enterprise sector. For full details on the application process and how to apply, please visit or email Mona Rahman at [email protected].

Charity Governance Health Check

The Charity Governance Code is recognised by the Charity Commission as the standard for effective charity governance. Charities are expected to apply, or explain reasons for not applying, the Code. If your charity is coming up to the time that you need to review your performance, you might be wondering about how to navigate the wide range of guidance issued by the Charity Commission. Find out how we could help you 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 February 18, 2020.