Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 25 February

Bates Wells highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

Training and Development 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 with respect to 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.

At a glance

Charity Tax Group has published some HMRC approved guidance on the Gift Aid process using text donations.  

The Charity Retail Association has launched a Charity Retail Safeguarding Scheme. 

The Department for Education is consulting on proposals for regulating independent educational institutions.  

The government has launched a consultation on expanding the dormant assets scheme. 

The Court of Appeal has confirmed that, due to the wording of NI’s charities legislation, staff at the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland do not have delegated authority to make certain decisions which must be made by the Board.  

Charity Commission

Charity trustee investment duties

See here for a new piece written by James Broderick and David Carrington from Impact Investing Institute, in response to the Charity Commission’s request for views on charity investments, addressing whether charity trustees’ investments are informed by and consistent with their charity’s purposes and values.

Commission failing to follow-up on whistleblowing

Last week the national press covered stories about alleged bullying within the Alzheimer’s Society. These included claims that the commission admits that it failed to follow-up on complaints from a whistleblower at the time, but says that its procedures around this have now changed, see here for example. The commission has not issued a press release, but in a statement on Twitter has admitted not following up on the complaint.

CC waivers of trustee/senior manager criminal convictions

Civil Society Media reports the Charity Commission has refused more than half of the applications it has received from people with criminal convictions who wish to serve as trustees or senior managers, prompting the charity Unlock to call for a review.  The number of applications overall was low – just 14 – but out of those, only 6 waivers were granted.


The commission is facilitating a workshop at a safeguarding conference run by DBS in Liverpool on Thursday 12 March.

Charity names

Waterloo Housing Group Limited (a housing association set up as a registered society) has successfully appealed to the Company Names Tribunal about the registration of a new company under the name Waterloo Housing Limited.  Although there were criticisms of the evidence filed to show WHG’s goodwill in its name, the Tribunal ordered Waterloo Housing Limited to change its name.

Tax and VAT

Charity Tax Group has published some HMRC approved guidance from the Association for Interactive Media and Micropayments on the  “Gift Aid process for charities using text donations”.



This Volunteering update from NCVO includes a summary of the impact of EU-exit on volunteering in the EU and the UK.

Intellectual property

The Law Society has issued this short summary of the impact of the Brexit transition period on intellectual property. 

State aid

The House of Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee has announced the launch of a short inquiry into the role of the level playing field in UK-EU negotiations, with a particular focus on state aid. The Sub-Committee intends to explore three related themes:

  • What level playing field commitments are and how they operate in EU free trade agreements, especially as regards social and labour rights and state aid.
  • The EU’s approach to state aid rules and possible reforms at EU level.
  • What opportunities are open to the UK in formulating its own state aid policy, in particular for supporting wider objectives such as “levelling up” the country and meeting climate targets.

The Sub-Committee expects to take oral evidence from late February through most of March, with a view to publishing a long letter to the government in April 2020.


See under Charity Commission above.

The Charity Retail Association (CRA) has launched a Charity Retail Safeguarding Scheme (CRSS). The scheme was developed in conjunction with Barnardo’s and British Heart Foundation and includes information and template documents which are free to CRA members. Charities meeting the scheme’s requirements can apply for certification and then display the scheme’s certificate in shops.


See above under Tax and Safeguarding.

The IOF has published a Guest Blog from Paul Rodgers giving the latest update on Strong Customer Authentication and how these changes will impact fundraisers and charities.



The Department for Education is consulting on proposals for regulating independent educational institutions. The consultation closes on 8th May.

Social finance

The government has launched a consultation on expanding the dormant assets scheme. As you  may know, the current scheme enables participating firms to voluntarily channel funds from dormant accounts (cash accounts with at least 15 years of customer inactivity) towards good causes. The proposed expansion would include new dormant financial assets such as the proceeds of savings endowments, term insurance, whole-of-life assurance, investment bonds, share proceeds and investment asset distributions and proceeds. The consultation closes on 16 April 2020.

The National Lottery Community Fund has launched a new £3m pot of grant funding (over three years), through its Healthy Communities Together programme, for voluntary and community sector organisations to work together with the local health and care sector to boost the health and wellbeing of their communities. The programme has been developed in partnership with health think tank, The King’s Fund.

Simon Hallett of Cambridge Associates writes for Civil Society Media’s Expert Insights section, in ‘More than a slogan, sustainability is good long-term investing’. Hallett makes the case that the long-term value of a charity’s portfolio will only be sustained if invested in assets or businesses that will remain relevant to society, in light of a current move towards greater socioeconomic accountability for companies over issues such as plastics pollution, irresponsible marketing of tobacco products in emerging markets, greater regulation against food harmful to health, unsustainable agriculture, and fast-fashion.

Lord Victor Adebowale CBE, Chair of Social Enterprise UK, has announced the creation of a new Commission on Social Investment that will look at the future of this £3.5bn market and how it and the wider investment market can serve the growth of the UK’s 100,000 social enterprises and help build a new economy. The Commission will be supported by Fusion21, a social enterprise that supports social impact in public sector procurement, and its first report is due in autumn 2020. Lord Victor writes for Pioneers Post about the launch of the new Commission.

The Young Foundation has published new research, Nothing About Us, Without Us – Lived experience insight & social investment, setting out how and to what extent bringing more diverse voices (particularly user voices) into different parts of the social investment process has the power and potential to positively impact stated social investment outcomes, and so the lives of the people those funds are intending to serve.

Backing bold ideas: How DFID’s IMPACT Programme seeks to catalyse change. Tom Adlam, from the IMPACT Programme, writes for Pioneers Post to provide commentary on three core insights coming from the Programme. This article may be of interest to anyone working in social impact investing in emerging markets.


Alliance magazine reports Jeff Bezos has pledged $10 billion in grants through the ‘Bezos Earth Fund’ initiative to fight the impacts of climate change.   


OSCR has published a webinar explaining accrued accounts and SORP.

Northern Ireland

The Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court’s earlier ruling that staff at CCNI cannot make decisions alone, due to the wording of NI’s charities legislation. At the moment the report of the judgment does not seem to be available. CCNI has published a legal update explaining how this might affect their work (and this seems to replicate their announcement last year following the High Court judgment).

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 25, 2020.