Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 27 May

Bates Wells highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

The Government has published the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill 2020 which is intended to provide organisations with breathing space to continue to trade – and potentially avoid insolvency – and which also introduces measures to relax governance provisions for companies and CIOs relating to members’ meetings.  See here for our full Briefing.

At a glance

The National Lottery Community Fund is now open for COVID-19 applications. 

New Philanthropy Capital has launched its State of the Sector report.  

Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill, which was published last week, contains some potentially useful relaxations of company and insolvency law.  The Bill, explanatory note and a note of its progress can be found here. The Bill has already had its first reading and will have its second reading on 3 June.

For a summary of the key changes and how they may be useful to charitable companies, CIOs and SCIOs, please see our Briefing.

Government funding for the sector

Community Fund

The National Lottery Community Fund is now open for COVID-19 applications. The stated priorities are:

  • organisations supporting people who are at high risk from COVID-19;
  • organisations supporting communities most likely to face increased demand and challenges as a direct result of COVID-19; and
  • organisations which connect communities and support communities to work together to respond to COVID-19.

NCVO reports there are three kinds of grants available:

The application process is designed to be fast and simple. You can fill in an online form, or you can email answers or submit a video instead.   

Expansion of Dormant Assets Scheme

The Government has announced its plans to expand the Dormant Assets Scheme to accelerate the release of £71m of new funds from dormant accounts and repurpose £79m already unlocked. The funding will support:

  • urgent work to tackle youth unemployment
  • access to emergency loans for civil society organisations and
  • the availability of fair, affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances.

Other funding

The COVID-19 Support Fund is a £100m fund supported by a group of insurance and long-term savings companies.  Charities will not be able to apply for funding directly, but money will be distributed through umbrella bodies.

Access receives £30m of dormant account money. Charities and social enterprises in England will benefit from £30m in new funding to help them through the pandemic. The fund will be held and distributed by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment. Up to £10m will become part of the existing emergency lending programmes, intended to be blended with grant funding. The remainder of the fund will be for longer-term funding to develop the sector. Pioneers Post provides commentary on the announcement.  

COVID-19: Social enterprise funding you might miss – 22 May update. Pioneers Post lists some of the COVID-19 funding available with deadlines approaching.

Care home guidance and funding

The Department of Health and Social Care has published Coronavirus (COVID-19): care home support package, which focuses on the prevention and control of COVID-19 in all registered care homes. Alongside the guidance, the government also announced an additional £600m adult social care infection control fund to support social care providers. The fund (which will be allocated to local authorities) will support adult social care providers to reduce the rate of transmission in and between care homes and support wider workforce resilience.

Re-opening taskforces

The government has announced that it will establish five ministerially-led taskforces to facilitate the reopening of businesses and public places that are currently closed. They include: 

  • recreation and leisure, including tourism, culture and heritage, libraries, entertainment and sport (Department for Culture, Media and Sport);
  • places of worship (Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local government);
  • pubs and restaurants (Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy); and
  • non-essential retail (including salons) (Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy).


New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) has launched its State of the Sector research report. This flagship research project focuses on a survey of 300 charity sector leaders, undertaken before this crisis began.  NPC says it “provides vital information about the pre-existing strengths and weaknesses of the sector, and the trajectory we were all on before the coronavirus outbreak”.

Data protection

Civil Society Media reports charities reported 112 data breaches in the fourth quarter of 2019-20.


Charity shops

Civil Society Media reports that the Textile Recycling Association has warned that charities may be hit by the collapse in the global market for rag, the system for selling on leftover clothes and fabrics for recycling overseas.


Last week several Bates Wells partners spoke at the Institute of Legacy Managers Conference.  This Civil Society Media report quotes Bates Wells’ Leticia Jennings warning that charities may see an increase in requests from families for ex gratia payments if relatives were unable to make planned changes to their will because they were self-isolating.


The Department for Education has published:

The Welsh Government has announced £3.75m of funding for mental health in schools in Wales, which will include new support for children under the age of 11.

Housing and homelessness

Dame Louise Casey is calling on all parts of society, including communities, businesses, charities and faith groups, to join forces and help a new Rough Sleeping Taskforce.  She has called the current time an ‘extraordinary opportunity’ to get rough sleepers to engage with services and rebuild their lives so that they don’t have to return to the streets.  Many businesses, faith groups and charities from across the country have already stepped forward to help –  the Youth Hostel Association, YMCA and universities have already offered temporary accommodation for people as they leave hotel accommodation and move towards more permanent housing.

Public services commissioning

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has written about “Commissioning and contracting – shaping the new normal”.

Social enterprise sector news

The CIC Regulator has updated its COVID-19 guidance to say it is investigating alternative methods of considering any paper filings and payments. It has also added updated contact details:

  • by email at [email protected]; or
  • you can leave a voicemail at 02920 346228 and one of the team will get back to you within two days if not sooner.

Pioneers Post comments on this year’s top ten: 2020’s NatWest SE100 Social Business Award Winners.

Social finance news

Beyond metrics: How impact investing – in all its forms – could help fight the coronavirus crisis Dr Philipp Golka writes for Pioneers Post, looking at three different types of financing currently labelled as impact investing and their roles in tackling the coronavirus crisis.

Bates Wells completes work to get emergency loan finance to charities and SEs. Bates Wells’ Sung-Hyui Park led the transaction team on the formation of the new Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund, designed to provide charities and social enterprises with emergency coronavirus-related loan finance. The fund will be run by Social Investment Business and is backed by an initial £25m from Big Society Capital; the fund may grow to £100m with funding from other sources.

Investment Readiness For Social Enterprises – Investment Support Webinar Series. The Big Issue Invest’s Regional Investment Manager, Alan Tudhope, talks through the BII’s approach to investee due diligence, including how it works with organisations to support their journey to investment readiness, what other support may be available in the market, and the importance of forecasting.

Northern Ireland

The £15.5m Northern Ireland COVID-19 Charities Fund is to launch shortly.

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 May 27, 2020.