Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 28 July

Bates Wells highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

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At a glance

From April 2022, Making Tax Digital is to be extended to all VAT registered businesses with turnover below the VAT threshold (£85,000).

The government has issued a call for evidence seeking views on how the business rates system currently works, issues to be addressed, ideas for change and a number of alternative taxes. 

The Local Government Association and the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development have launched guidance for local authorities on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Coronavirus – general

ICSA (The Chartered Governance Institute) has published a free guide “COVID-19 Re-opening safely: A guide for charity trustees in England and Wales”.  It includes sections on identifying potential liabilities, safety and decision-making.  The guide can be downloaded from this link.

Civil Society reports that one third of charity professionals and fundraisers interviewed in a survey carried out in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Fundraising in May and June are not confident that their charity will survive the pandemic. 

NPC has published this blog “How charities can build a better Britain”.  

Coronavirus – government funding

The first tranche of funding from the Government’s £1.57bn cultural recovery package will be used to save around 150 grassroots music venues from insolvency. £2.25m of emergency funding will be used to support venues at imminent risk of collapse and it is expected to benefit up to 150 venues across the country.

Coronavirus – funding for health and hospices

Civil Society Media reports NHS Charities Together has announced that it will distribute £65m via two new rounds of grants. This comprises £30m for community partnership grants and £35m for recovery grants. Recovery grants will aim to tackle the longer term effects of COVID-19 and support hospitals in preparedness for any second wave. Community partnership grants aim to address the impact of the pandemic on settings like hospices.

Coronavirus – fundraising

More than 200 UK charities have now joined a coalition calling on the Government to temporarily increase the level of Gift Aid that can be claimed. 


Making Tax Digital

Currently businesses above the VAT threshold of £85,000 are covered by Making Tax Digital, which requires them to keep digital records and provide VAT returns through software. The government has announced that:

  • from April 2022, Making Tax Digital will be extended to all VAT registered businesses with turnover below the VAT threshold (£85,000); and
  • from April 2023, it will apply to taxpayers who file income tax self-assessment tax returns for business or property income over £10,000 annually.

Business rates

As part of the government’s fundamental review of business rates, it has issued a call for evidence seeking views on how the business rates system currently works, issues to be addressed, ideas for change and a number of alternative taxes.  Recognising that many businesses and stakeholders may need extra time to engage fully with all of the issues in the call for evidence, the government is seeking responses in two phases:

  • Views on the multiplier and reliefs sections, by 18 September – which will inform an interim report in the Autumn.
  • Responses on all other sections are invited by 31 October, ahead of the review’s conclusion in Spring 2021.


The Chancellor has launched the 2020 Comprehensive Spending Review. The Review, which will be published in the autumn, will set out the government’s spending plans for the parliament.

Charity Commission

Annual Public Meeting 2020

The commission has announced that it will be holding its annual public meeting on Thursday 1 October to report on its work over the past year. This year’s meeting is a virtual event open to all members of the public and charity representatives and will be broadcast live on the commission’s YouTube channel. The webpage provides details of how to apply for a place in the virtual audience. 

Helen Stephenson blogpost

Commission Chief  Executive Helen Stephenson has posted a blog reflecting on the past financial year and looking forward to the current one in the context of the pandemic.

Charity law cases

Tomorrow, Wednesday 29 July, the Supreme Court is due to issue judgment in the long running case of Lehtimaki, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (UK) and others –v- Cooper.


The EU Commission has published an updated notice reminding interested parties in the EU and the UK of the legal and practical consequences of Brexit for the transfer of personal data from the EU to the UK, after the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.


Blackbaud ransomware attack

Many of you may have seen recently in the news that the company Blackbaud has been a victim of a ransomware attack earlier this year. You may have received notification of this incident from Blackbaud if you use their products or services e.g. Raiser’s Edge. If you have any concerns or require any support please contact a member of the Bates Wells’ Data Privacy team.

Data protection

See above under Brexit and Fundraising.

International data transfers

The following have published responses to the judgment in Schrems II – see here for our Briefing on the judgment:

  • The UK government has published a statement setting out its response.  It says the government is working with the Information Commissioner’s Office and international regulators to address the impacts of Schrems II on international data transfers, and help ensure that updated guidance will be available as soon as possible.
  • The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has confirmed that it is currently reviewing its Privacy Shield and Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) guidance, following the judgment.  The ICO’s advice to organisations and others who are currently using the EU-US Privacy Shield framework for data transfers to the USA is to continue to do so until new ICO guidance becomes available. It also requested everyone else not to start to use the EU-US Privacy Shield during this period.
  • The European Data Protection Board has adopted a statement welcoming the judgment.

ICO Annual Report

The ICO has published its annual report for 2019-20, covering what the Information Commissioner has called a “transformative period” for privacy and data protection and broader information rights.


See under Pensions below.

Health and social care

The Care Quality Commission has published new guidance “How to get the most out of inspection” which has been complied with input from trade associations and other stakeholders in adult social care. 

Also see under Pensions below.

International development

The UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, is offering £20m of UK aid funding to develop and demonstrate innovative solutions for clean, affordable and secure energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or South East Asia.  


Listen here for our latest BatesCast which covers symbols, slogans and intellectual property in campaigns.  

Local authorities

The Local Government Association and the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development have launched guidance to local authorities on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It sets out four-step guidance for local authority engagement, consisting of:

  • Planning and prioritising;
  • Engaging and partnering;
  • Implementing and monitoring; and
  • Advocating for the SDGs and reporting progress.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life has written to local authorities to follow up recommendations about local government ethical standards.  

Public authorities/public bodies

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched a self-assessment toolkit which aims to assist public authorities in understanding their performance under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), and where they could improve. The toolkit currently has one topic, “Timeliness”, concerning response times to information requests. It consists of five modules: response rates, handling requests, training and awareness, compliance and assurance and governance structure. The ICO has stated that further topics will be added to the toolkit later in 2020.


The government has launched a wide-ranging consultation on changes to the pension provision of public sector employees affected by the unlawful age discrimination identified by the Court of Appeal in Lord Chancellor and another v McCloud and others; Secretary of State for the Home Department and others v Sargeant and others.   The changes would affect schemes covering the NHS, teachers, the fire service, and the police in England, Wales and Scotland, as well as the Civil Service and the armed forces. The judicial pension schemes and the Local Government Pension Scheme will be consulted on separately.

The consultation looks to make changes to the schemes by removing the unlawful discrimination identified by the courts for the period between 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2022. The proposal offers affected members the choice of accruing benefits in either the career-average pension schemes or in the legacy final-salary schemes. Alternative approaches are set out to allow members to either decide immediately, or to defer this decision until the point at which they retire (or when they take their benefits). Until that deferred choice is made, the member would be deemed to have accrued benefits in the legacy scheme.

This consultation also sets out proposals for moving all active members into the reformed schemes after 31 March 2022.  The deadline for responses is 11 October 2020.

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 28, 2020.