Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 10 March

Bates Wells highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

As the coronavirus (Covid-19) situation gathers momentum, organisations nationwide are assessing how their operations will be affected. In this Briefing, Bates Wells has rounded up the key issues you need to consider.

Stephen Lloyd Awards

Are you a social innovator tackling a problem systemically? Last week to apply to the Stephen Lloyd Awards. Scroll down to learn more!

At a glance

The Charity Commission’s 2020 charity annual return service is now available.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has opened a consultation on a proposed package of support for providers of online services that are likely to be accessed by children.

Charity Commission

Inquiry report – Save the Children UK

The commission has published its inquiry report into Save the Children UK (213890). The inquiry was opened in 2018, following media scrutiny about how the charity handled, reported and responded to certain allegations of misconduct and harassment against senior members of staff at its head office in 2012 and 2015.

Annual return guidance

The commission’s annual return guidance has been updated to say that the 2020 charity annual return service is now available. The document that lists questions in the 2018 to 2020 service has also been updated.

Charity law case

There is what we think is the first case in the First Tier Charity Tribunal challenging the Charity Commission’s refusal to grant a waiver to allow an individual with unspent criminal convictions to become a charity trustee. In the course of that case, the individual sought an anonymity order, which the Tribunal has refused. The case will continue – the individual is seeking to become a trustee of the charity Safe Ground which is concerned with the rehabilitation of offenders.



NCVO has published guidance for organisations here


The government reports around 3 million individuals volunteer in a health, community health and social care setting.  Under proposed measures announced last week, government will ensure the jobs of skilled, experienced or qualified volunteers are protected for up to four weeks to allow them to “shore up resilience across the health and social care systems”.

Following last week’s announcement that measures will also consider emergency registration of health professionals who have since retired, the Bill will also look at ensuring that any retired staff who return to work in the NHS will not have their pensions negatively impacted.


The Prime Minister has confirmed Statutory Sick Pay will be made available from day one when self-isolating, instead of day four.

Data protection

Charity data breaches

Civil Society Media reports:

  • the latest figures from the ICO show charities reported 102 data breaches between October and December 2019. 
  • most of the charity incidents were classified as “other non-cyber incident” (31). This was followed by “loss/theft of paperwork or data left in insecure location” (19) and then “phishing” (12). Five incidents involved “data posted or faxed to incorrect recipient”, and three were because of a “failure to use bcc”. There were four cases of “data emailed to the incorrect recipient” and three instances of “verbal disclosure of personal data”.

Children’s privacy programmes

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has opened a consultation on a proposed package of support for providers of online services that are likely to be accessed by children, to assist them to prepare for complying with the ICO’s recently published Age Appropriate Design Code. The consultation will close at 5.00 pm on 27 March 2020.

Fines and penalties

The Information Commissioner’s Office has:

  • fined Cathay Pacific Airways Limited £500,000 for failing to protect the security of its customers’ personal data.
  • announced it has imposed a £500,000 penalty and enforcement notices on a company for making automated nuisance calls in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (PECR).


Higher education

The Department for Health and Social Care has committed £1 million to innovative student mental health projects. The money will go to the universities regulator the Office for Students, who is inviting bidders to submit proposals that will target and help students who might be at greater risk of mental ill health or who may face barriers to getting support.

Social finance

‘Interest in sustainable investing is growing, and charity investors are at the forefront’. Nicola Barber, head of charities at James Hambro & Partners, looks at negative and positive screening and argues that there is little point in seeking to do good with your financial reserves if you do not maximise the universe of opportunities and you undermine your charity’s ability to meet its primary objectives.

Big Society Capital has launched a £50 million Request for Proposal process, to seek to invest in funds that can deliver better housing outcomes for people and communities in the UK.

A broad coalition of organisations, including Big Society Capital and Bates Wells from across civil society has written to HM Treasury calling for Government to make a firm commitment to Social Investment Tax Relief’s future in the upcoming Budget. Big Society Capital provide commentary.

Nesta’s Arts & Culture Finance team has launched a new £20 million impact investment fund for the UK’s arts, culture and heritage social enterprises. From now until spring 2023, the fund will be making affordable, flexible loans available to arts, culture and heritage organisations that have a positive social impact on people and the communities they live in. Pioneers Post comments on the fund here.

Faith based organisations

Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick has opened a new grant scheme to promote inter-faith and community work, and build bridges between people of all backgrounds. The Faith, Race and Hate Crime Grant scheme will invite established community groups and civil society organisations to apply to run short projects that champion the government’s commitment to building a diverse and tolerant society for all faiths and races.


The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) is asking Scottish charities to share their reports and accounts on the Scottish charity register is by publishing them on their own website, and sending OSCR a link.

OSCR has put a new webinar in its accounting series on its website, on the subject of external scrutiny  of charity accounts.

Stephen Lloyd Awards

This is the final week for submitting entries to the 2020 Stephen Lloyd Awards.  Start-up charities, social enterprises, founders and thinkers who are ready to make positive changes to our world with interesting solutions to society’s problems are invited to apply.  Applications close at midnight on 16 March. The Awards provide 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 opportunities 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]

Trading Subsidiary Health Check

Has it been some time since you set up your trading

subsidiary? Our team of charity lawyers can help you to keep up to date with the latest guidance around the relationship between charities and non-charities, ensure that you are taking account of the latest accounting guidance and are making the most of the tax advantages for your charity. Click here to find out more.

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 March 10, 2020.