Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 21 July

Bates Wells highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

If you are preparing for employees to return to the workplace,  don’t miss this briefing from our Real Estate team on Return to the Office Space and this podcast on Managing the Return to Work by Bates Wells’ Head of Employment Lucy McLynn.

In a time where face to face encounters are being put on hold, have you ever wondered how you can use social media tools such as Custom Audiences, Lookalikes and Campaign Manager for marketing or fundraising in a way that complies with data privacy law? Our webinar this Thursday will examine the arguments for lawful use of these tools under data protection law and offers practical steps organisations should take to comply with the law. Book your place here.

At a glance

The Charity Commission has published its annual report for the year 2019/20 and its business plan for the year 20/21.

The government has announced a matched fundraising campaign running till 31 August.

The government has announced a new scheme to support English universities at risk of insolvency.

The Upper Tribunal has held that a housing association was not a public authority under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Coronavirus – government and other sources of funding

The Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership – a group that comes together to improve national and local coordination before, during and after emergencies – is to receive £4.8m to help strengthen the voluntary sector’s response to coronavirus and future emergencies.  This will fund regional hubs to join up distribution of local volunteers and resources such as food supplies, a national network to coordinate demand for volunteers across the country and a new digital tool to help identify where help is needed most at a local and national level.  

Civil Society has reported that the National Lottery Community Fund has announced £45m of funding for charities and social enterprises working with people disproportionately affected by coronavirus, to be distributed through five partnerships. These partnerships will not be funded from public funds (following the reported withdrawal of government from a series of partnership agreements), but financed by NLCF itself.  

New Delivery Partners Announced Alongside Increased Maximum Loan Term for Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund. Social Investment Business announces four new delivery partners and an increase in the maximum loan term for the Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund. The new partners are CAF Venturesome, Resonance, Social Investment Scotland and Wales Council for Voluntary Action, and the new max. term is 5 years (up from 3 years).

The Inspiring Futures programme, is open for applications until 11.30am on 31 July 2020. The programme is funded by BBC Children in Need and Youth Futures Foundation, to provide £6m in funding for activities that support children and young people on their journey towards employment, in light of the increased difficulties created by the pandemic.

Coronavirus – fundraising

The government has announced from 18 July to 31 August, funds raised through selected coronavirus charity campaigns will be matched pound-for-pound up to a maximum of £85m. This will be through a new ‘Community Match Challenge’. Funders, foundations, and philanthropists are invited to apply for a share of the £85 million to match their donations to good causes.

The Disaster Emergency Committee has launched an appeal for donations to help the world’s most vulnerable through the coronavirus pandemic. The UK Government will match the first £5m of donations from the British public.

Coronavirus – return to the workplace

See this alert on Return to the Office Space from Bates Wells’ Real Estate team and this podcast on Managing the Return to Work by Bates Wells’ Head of Employment Lucy McLynn.

Coronavirus – culture sector

The government has:

  • announced indoor performances with socially distanced audiences will be able to take place across the country from 1 August; and
  • announced changes to planning rules aimed at certain cultural buildings. Under the new rules, councils will need to take the temporary impact of coronavirus into account when considering permission for change of use, redevelopment or demolition of a theatre, concert hall or live music performance venue. A written ministerial statement will be laid to outline the planning changes and will have immediate effect on the planning system.  Once introduced, this policy will remain in place until 31 December 2022.  

Coronavirus – conferences

Provided levels of infection remain at current rates, business events, conferences and events centres will be able to reopen on 1 October adhering to social distancing.  See here for the Government announcement and here for the guidance.  

Coronavirus – guidance for organisations managing beaches, countryside and coastal areas

On 10 July 2020, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published new guidance for owners and operators on managing beaches, the countryside and coastal areas in the light of the restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Build Back Better

See here for a Briefing published this week from our Real Estate team “Real Estate opportunities to Build Back Better”.

Charity Commission

The Commission has published the following:

Registration of charitable trusts

HMRC and HM Treasury have confirmed that charitable trusts regulated in the UK will not be required to register with HMRC under changes to the Trust Registration Service (TRS).  Bates Wells’ Lucy Rhodes welcomes the announcement here and highlights some outstanding grey areas.


On 13th July, the government launched a new campaign to help businesses and individuals prepare for the end of the transition period. Details of the key actions that businesses and individuals need to take before the end of the transition period can be found on

The UK government has announced the publication of its UK Internal Market White Paper for consultation. The document sets out the government’s proposals for seamless trade between the UK nations after the UK-EU transition comes to an end on 31 December 2020. At that point, powers in at least 70 policy areas currently exercised at an EU level will flow directly to the devolved administrations. This includes areas like the regulation of energy efficiency of buildings, air quality and animal welfare. The government wishes to avoid the development of a complex and fragmented regulatory environment and states that its proposals in the White Paper are centred around the principles of:

  • Mutual recognition between the different UK nations, to ensure the devolved administrations can set their own rules and standards, but still trade with businesses across the UK.
  • Non-discrimination, to ensure a level playing field for companies trading in the UK.

The consultation will close on 13 August 2020.

For the latest version of our Brexit Briefing for charities and social enterprises, see here.

Data protection

International Data Transfers

A decision by the European Court of Justice on Thursday last week will have a significant impact on all businesses and organisations involved in international transfers of personal data.  Even if you’re a small organisation, chances are you will use a third party technology platform based outside the EU.  For more on what has happened and the implications, see this Briefing from Bates Wells’ Head of Data Privacy, Victoria Hordern.

Information Commissioner’s Office

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued a further update to its regulatory approach during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The updated document of 14 July 2020 maintains the approach previously outlined, with small additions, for example:

  • To reflect the ICO’s ability to now be able to carry out some risk-based audit work remotely, recognizing the travel and contact restrictions (page 4, paragraph 4).
  • To make clear that as the pandemic emergency response continues to ease, the ICO expects public authorities to reinstate all aspects of their information access function, ensuring that where necessary they have recovery plans in place (page 5, paragraph 3).

In a related blog, Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner, says that: “It is important that information rights are considered as part of [the] recovery plans, particularly considering how capacity can be brought back up to levels they were at before the pandemic, giving people full access to their data protection and freedom of information rights.  We will have more to say soon on FOI and its expectations as public authorities return to greater capacity.”


The Department for Education has:

  • Announced a package of measures to overhaul higher technical education. Steps include introducing new qualifications, public awareness campaigns and working with Ofsted to ensure that the quality of provision is high;
  • Announced changes to Ofsted’s post-inspection and complaints-handling procedures aimed at dealing quicker with issues arising from an inspection;
  • Released a school governance update for academy trusts for July; and
  • Announced a rise in funding for schools in line with a £14.4bn funding settlement for schools announced in 2019.

The government has also announced a new scheme to support English universities at risk of insolvency. The “Restructuring Regime” will be in the form of repayable loans which will only be provided after all other finance options have been exhausted and when there is a case to do so.  As a condition for taking part in the scheme, universities will be required to make changes that meet wider Government objectives. This could include ensuring they deliver high quality courses with strong graduate outcomes, improving their offer of qualifications available, and focusing resources on the front line by reducing administrative costs, including vice-chancellor pay.  It would also require assurance that providers are fully complying with their legal duties to secure freedom of speech.


major new review into improving health outcomes in babies and young children was launched last week.

Social finance and impact investing

Affordable credit CIC Fair for You secures £7.5m in first-time quasi equity deal. Pioneers Post reports on seven UK social investors coming together to provide financing to Fair for You. The article reports that the investment is in the form of a perpetual bond and provides quasi equity capital of £7.5m.

Roles Foundations Play in Shaping Impact Investing. David Wood PhD, director of the Initiative for Responsible Investment at the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, writes for the Stanford Social Innovation Review to identify the key roles philanthropic foundations play in impact investing, and calls for foundations to play a greater role in critiquing the system of finance itself.  

‘Computer says no’ – are grants and debt the only social investment show in town? Director and CEO of Ethex and Director of Energise Africa, Lisa Ashford, writes for Pioneers Post about what we can learn from community shares in providing the patient, long-term capital that appears to be scarce on the social investment landscape, and about how institutional/foundation money can be better leveraged to attract other investment, drawing on her experience with Energise Africa, including in the context of blended finance arrangements.


The Upper Tribunal has held that a housing association was not a public authority under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (SI 2004/3391) (EIR). 

On 15 July 2020, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LG&SCO) published Home Truths: how well are councils implementing the Homelessness Reduction Act?. The report focuses on the first 50 cases it investigated under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 and the lessons that local authorities can learn from these. 

The Housing Ombudsman has published:

  • A new complaints handling code for landlords. The code is intended to ensure that landlords resolve resident complaints quickly and to drive service improvements. It covers a number of areas, including the stages of the complaints process, resolving complaints, remedies and learning from complaints going forward.
  • Landlords will be asked to self-assess against the Code by 31 December 2020 and publish the results. Non-compliance could result in the HO issuing complaint handling failure orders.
  • Guidance on complaint handling failure and orders. Such orders can be imposed by the HO on landlords that are members of the HO Scheme who fail to comply with their membership obligations, for example, by failing to respond to a complaint within the set timescales.  The guidance covers issuing failure orders regarding both complaints policies and individual complaints and reporting complaints handling failures.


OSCR has published an inquiry report into the University of Aberdeen (SCO13863). OSCR opened the inquiry following liaison with the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) about concerns relating to substantial settlement payments made to the former Principal in connection with his retirement.Whilst the inquiry acknowledged that the trustees were faced with a difficult situation, it found that the level of care and diligence that was exercised by the charity trustees who were members of the Remuneration Committee in reaching a settlement with the Principal fell below the required standardOSCR considered taking formal action against the trustees but concluded that it was not necessary or proportionate to do so, taking into account measures by the present charity trustees to put into practice recommendations resulting from this report and a previous report from the SFC, and changes among the charity trustees of the University since the events in question.

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 July 21, 2020.