Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 8 September

Bates Wells highlights

Charities, Social Enterprise

If your charity is considering a merger, our joint publication with Institute for Voluntary Action Research could help. See here for details, and see here to watch a recording from 20 August of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations/Bates Wells’ webinar “Decision making in a crisis: Collaboration and merger”.

Have you got a unique solution to tackle a social problem? Applications for the Stephen Lloyd Awards have briefly reopened following its postponement after COVID-19. If you or someone you know has an innovative solution to transform society, learn how to make a new application or confirm or revise an existing application by visiting For more details, please scroll down. All entries close at midnight 16 September.

This review covers the period from 24 August to 4 September.

At a glance

The Charity Commission’s new online register is now live. 

Civil Society Media has been told by government that Danny Kruger’s recommendations for the future role of charities in society will be published “very shortly”. 

The Fundraising Regulator has published details of 5 recent investigations.

The Competition and Markets Authority has published an updated version of its “Statement on coronavirus, consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds”.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published new guidance calling for retailers to do more to help disabled customers.  

Coronavirus – government schemes and funding

Kickstart Scheme

The government has announced details of the Kickstart Scheme – where employers can apply for grants to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

  • The job placements should support the participants to develop the skills and experience they need to find work after completing the scheme.
  • Funding is available for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.
  • Applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements. If you are unable to offer this many job placements, you can partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number.
  • If you are a representative applying on behalf of a group of employers, you can get £300 of funding to support with the associated administrative costs of bringing together these employers.

Culture Recovery Fund

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has published a summary of funding available through the Culture Recovery Fund.

Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund

Civil Society Media reports the Charity Tax Group and the Charity Retail Association have urged the government to remove state aid restrictions on this grant scheme in order to free up funds for charity retailers.  Some £1.32bn of the government’s Covid-19 business grants remain unspent, and charity bodies are saying that relaxing state aid rules on the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund could support large charity retailers.  State aid limits mean that charities with retail chains have only been eligible to receive support for around 30 shops.

Coronavirus – other sources of funding

The Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales has launched a new national one-off grants programme, an Infrastructure Fund, to support charitable infrastructure organisations, which have been contributing to a strong charity-sector ecosystem and providing essential services during the pandemic. The Foundation has a total fund available of £480,000 and anticipates making 16 grants of £30,000. Grants will be available for core costs and can be used over 1-2 years.

Covid-19: Social impact funding you might miss – 26 August update. Pioneers Post publishes its pick of emergency grants, loans and other funding sources for which deadlines are approaching, or which otherwise might be missed.

Social Enterprise Support Fund reopens for applications after delivering £5.6m of urgent grant funding to social enterprises. This press release announced August’s application round and provides information about some of the social enterprises that have already been funded. The press release also notes that there will be a final funding round this month.

Coronavirus – new offences of organising illegal gatherings

Since 28 August 2020 it is now an offence to organise or facilitate gatherings of more than 30 people, unless an exception applies.  (See the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions on Holding of Gatherings and Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/907) which amends the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/684) (the Principal Regulations).  There are some exceptions for events organised by charities.

Coronavirus – adult social care guidance

The Department of Health and Social Care has published Overview of adult social care guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) which provides information for adult social care providers about COVID-19 guidance and support. The document contains a full list of adult social care guidance produced by the DHSC and Public Health England.

Coronavirus – guidance on consumer contracts, cancellations and refunds

The Competition and Markets Authority has published an updated version of its “Statement on coronavirus (COVID-19), consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds“, which was first published on 30 April 2020. The statement now addresses consumers’ rights where lockdown laws do not prevent a trader providing a service but change how it can be provided.

Charity Commission

New register of charities

The commission’s new online register launched last week. See this press release and this blog by the CC’s Helen Stephenson. Civil Society Media reports:

  • users can now access information about how many senior executives earn more than £60,000, whether trustees are paid, and any income charities receive from government grants and contracts;
  • the new display highlights where a charity is or has been the subject of regulatory scrutiny. It also shows whether individual charities work with a professional fundraiser and whether they have specific policies in place, including on safeguarding; and
  • data giving an overview of the sector’s income, as well as other measures such as number of staff and volunteers, has also been moved over from the old website and is now downloadable.

New Inquiry

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into The Kingdom Church GB (1137370) – see press release. The Commission first opened a regulatory case into the charity after media reports that it was selling a ‘plague protection kit’ which it was claimed would cure and protect against the COVID-19 virus. This led to liaison with Southwark Council which had opened a Trading Standards investigation into the sale of the kits. Since then, the commission has examined the charity’s records, revealing concerns about its finances. The regulator is concerned about the accuracy of information provided to the commission regarding the charity’s income and expenditure.

Inquiry Reports

Name of organisationBrief descriptionAnything unusual e.g. unusual facts or novel/rare use of commission’s powers
Muslim Foundation UK (1150549)
Inquiry report
Charity Commission press release
The charity runs a place of worship with educational facilities for Muslims and non-Muslims in Nottingham.
In 2019, during a regulatory compliance case, the commission disqualified a former trustee from serving as a charity trustee or holding a senior function in any charity for 10 years, after he praised the murder of a Pakistani politician, called for violent uprisings against the Pakistani government, and issued ‘edicts of death’ against judges in the country.The commission subsequently visited the charity and became aware of serious regulatory concerns regarding the governance and administration of the charity.
The commission is critical of the trustees’ engagement with its inquiry, finding that they failed to comply with repeated requests for evidence and documentation.
In March, it ordered the trustees to take action in a number of areas to address failings and to ensure compliance with their legal duties and responsibilities. The commission says that the charity will remain under statutory supervision until the commission is satisfied that the Order has been complied with in full.
Aid Convoy (1149015)
Inquiry report
Commission news story  
The commission first launched an inquiry into Aid Convoy in 2013 after the charity failed to account for half of its spending, and the charity’s cash was seized by Police at UK borders. In 2016 the commission issued an order directing the then trustees to take steps to improve the charity’s governance and financial management. A second inquiry was opened in 2018 after the trustees failed to comply with this order.The second inquiry found that the charity was handling donations of controlled substances, including morphine, without the required licence. The commission also criticises the charity for keeping inappropriate relationships after a charity representative was deprived of UK citizenship over connections to a proscribed terrorist organisation.The inquiry appointed an interim manager to safeguard the charity’s assets and review its future.The trustees failed to cooperate with the interim manager, and, after concluding that the charity “had no viable future”, he transferred the remaining assets to another charity before winding the charity up.
The IM had been appointed to the exclusion of the charity’s trustees. Despite this, there were still appeals for donations in the Charity’s name/using the Charity’s registration number without the IM’s authorisation.
Two former trustees of the charity have been disqualified from trusteeship and senior management functions for a period of 8 years.


HMRC has released new figures about investigations into the corporate criminal offences of failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion, introduced in the Criminal Finances Act 2017.  No charges have yet been made under the legislation: 30 potential cases are underway, with one new investigation being opened since December 2019.  


Civil Society Media has been told by government that Danny Kruger’s recommendations for the future role of charities in society will be published “very shortly”. 

Also see under Wales below for developments regarding rates relief for charities in Wales.


Fundraising Regulator

The FR’s September newsletter includes:

  • that last week the FR has begun issuing invoices for the annual Fundraising Levy;
  • in July the FR saw an increase in the number of complaints made to it compared to the previous three months, and initial figures for August suggest that complaints are beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels;
  • the FR is working with the Chartered Institute of Fundraising to release more coronavirus guidance in the coming weeks; and
  • the FR has extended the long-term objectives in its strategic plan by a year to 2022. This is because work on the strategic plan was significantly delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

FR investigations

The FR has published details of 5 recent investigations – some key points to note are:

  • a charity was cleared in relation to setting up a direct debit donation for an individual it had previously been notified was vulnerable;
  • a Charity was cleared in relation to not returning a donation which related to an event which had not gone ahead but the FR seems to be recommending all appeals for donations should make clear what will happen if not enough or too much money is raised; and
  • the FR is recommending where a charity knows a volunteer is raising funds either “in aid of” or “on behalf of” a charity, the charity should put in place a template written agreement.

Charity retail outlets

See under Equality below.

Face to face fundraising

The Chartered Institute of Fundraising (formerly the Institute of Fundraising) has published this guest blog “A dispatch from the face-to-face fundraising coalface”.

Current fundraising environment

Professor John Mohan, Director of the Third Sector Research Centre at the University of Birmingham has written this short blog “What might happen to charitable giving in the forthcoming recession?

Also see under Northern Ireland below.

Charity advertising

The Advertising Standards Authority has published a reminder to charities “How to raise awareness and funds responsibly”.  Top tips include always giving accurate information and considering sensitivities when preparing hard-hitting ads.


The Department for Education has:

  • Published guidance for education settings that are in local lockdown areas to ensure continuity of education. Provisions include a rota system limiting how many pupils can be on-site at any one time.
  • Updated its advice for the use of face coverings in schools and now advises that schools can have discretion as to whether children (from year 7 and above) need to wear face coverings in communal areas, as well as additional measures for areas where infection rates are high.

The School Discipline (England) (Coronavirus) (Pupil Exclusions and Reviews) (Amendment) (No 2) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/908) will come into force on 25 September 2020 and end of 24 March 2021. The regulations change procedures for exclusions due to COVID-19. A corresponding update taking account of the new regulations has been made to the Department of Education’s statutory guidance.

The School Information (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/894) will come into force on 1 January 2021 and will require maintained schools to publish information relating to school employees who earn more than £100,000.

Health and social care

For charities with retail outlets, see under Equality below.

Social finance and impact investing news

Leaning in: Why the hands-on approach of venture philanthropy is vital for post-Covid recovery. Pioneers Post carries a commentary piece looking at the hands-on approach of venture philanthropy, how this approach has allowed some funders to pivot during the pandemic and, thereby, support social entrepreneurs who’ve needed to do the same, and how this venture philanthropy is key to the post-pandemic recovery.

Three principles to guide our work on equality, diversity and inclusion. Stephen Muers, Interim CEO of Big Society Capital, provides an update on the organisation’s diversity and inclusion strategy, including commenting on data collected and current data collection work, to help understand to what extent social investment is helping to address inequalities.

Cazenove declared winner of the ‘ESG investing olympics’. Friends Provident Foundation, the Joffe Charitable Trust and the Blagrave Trust have announced the winner of their ‘ESG investing olympics’ competition, with investment managers Cazenove winning a £33.5m investment mandate. Held earlier this year, the ‘ESG investing olympics’ was a first of its kind open tender, in which bidders were asked to ‘impress’ on social and environmental integration and impact.

Social Investment Business (SIB) has published the data and learnings from the Futurebuilders England Fund, a £142m government-backed social investment fund for loan financing to social sector organisations to help them bid for and deliver public service contracts (press release and policy briefing). For more, SIB’s CEO, Nick Temple, writes for Pioneers Post about what can be learned from the data.

Everyone In: the opportunity for pension funds investing in social and affordable housing in the wake of COVID-19. Big Society Capital’s Karen Ng, Investment Director, and Katie Fulford-Smith, Engagement Manager, set out the case for institutional investment into housing that tackles homelessness, in light of the government’s ‘Everyone In’ pandemic scheme.

Seb Elsworth: The challenges and opportunities of place-based funding. The CEO of Access Foundation writes for Third Sector Magazine, commenting on learnings from the Local Access Fund’s experience so far of delivering place-based funding, including grant and repayable finance.


A Regional Mutual Bank for Northern Ireland Webinar. The Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) hosted a webinar on the campaign to develop a regional Mutual Bank in Northern Ireland. You can access a recording, the slides and a summary of the webinar from the NICVA website. The structure is intended to allow local people to have more control over how their money is used, for the benefit of the region, and would aim to address regional inequalities.

Social enterprise

Louise Smyth has been appointed as interim Regulator of Community Interest Companies for a period of six months.  Louise Smyth is currently the Registrar of Companies for England and Wales, and Chief Executive of Companies House, and will take on the position of interim Regulator alongside these roles. The current Regulator, Ceri Witchard, was appointed on 14 September 2015 and is now coming to the end of her 5-year term.

International development

BOND has published this critical commentary on the interim leadership team announced for the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.


The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published new guidance calling for retailers to do more to help disabled customers.  


OSCR will be holding a webinar for Scottish charity trustees and staff on the subject of Virtual meetings and AGMs on Thursday 24 September.


The Welsh Government has published a summary of the responses to the recent consultation on charitable rates relief for schools and hospitals in Wales, which will be used to inform the development of any future policy proposals in this area.

Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) reports the Police Service for Northern Ireland has announced that it will recommence accepting applications for door-to-door collections provided that a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is carried out.  

Stephen Lloyd Awards

Applications are briefly open for the 2020 Stephen Lloyd Awardsin search of entrants with an early stage project addressing a social problem in an innovative manner. Anyone with a novel project with a vision for systemic change, are encouraged to apply before 16 September. The Awards provides 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 an opportunity 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]. (The Stephen Lloyd Awards are an initiative of the Bates Wells Foundation, charity reg. number 1150321)

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 September 8, 2020.