Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises

13th October 2020

Services
Charity
Sectors
Charities, Social Enterprise
Type
Updates

Bates Wells highlights

On Monday 19th October Bates Wells will be hosting; The Kruger Review: An Exclusive Conversation with Danny Kruger. This will be a virtual conversation with Danny Kruger MP about his new report and recommendations, the outlook for civil society and his views on the current political landscape.

There will not be a Briefing next week – we’ll return the week beginning 26th October. 


At a glance

The government has published a direction and guidance providing further details on the Job Retention Bonus.

The Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran, has authored a blog on the government’s latest thinking on the role of charities in our society.

The Charity Finance Group has outlined how government could support Civil Society in the current crisis, including through the asset up of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the use of dormant assets and the repurposing of the National Fund.


Coronavirus – government funding

The Government is donating £1 million to charities across the country through the Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund, administered by Mind. The funding will be allocated to mental health charities helplines. 

See this government press release about heritage organisations receiving funding from the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund. 


Coronavirus – Job Retention Bonus

Government has published a fourth Treasury direction and HMRC guidance providing further details on the Job Retention Bonus (JRB). Employers will be able to apply for the £1,000 JRB in respect of eligible employees between 15 February and 31 March 2021. Employers will only be able to claim in respect of employees who:They previously furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).Are continually employed between the date of the last CJRS claim made in respect of them until 31 January 2021. Earn a minimum of £1,560 in total during the three months between 6 November 2020 to 5 February 2021.Employers may not claim in respect of employees who are on notice, either statutory or contractual, on 31 January 2021 (including notice of retirement), or who have TUPE transferred to them after 31 October 2020.Employers will not be eligible to claim where they have repaid the full CJRS grant to HMRC, regardless of the reason, made an incorrect CJRS claim because they were not eligible to claim for the employee under that scheme, or where the JRB claim is abusive or otherwise contrary to the exceptional purpose of the scheme.The fourth Treasury direction also confirms that all claims under the CJRS must be made no later than 30 November 2020.

Coronavirus – impact on access to justice

In a new report, the Law Society of England and Wales have analysed the impact of measures on the ability of vulnerable people to access justice and legal advice during the pandemic and makes granular recommendations for the government’s six month review of the emergency measures.

Coronavirus Health Policy

The NHS Confederation has released two reports that seek to draw lessons from the experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. NHS Reset: A New Direction for Health and Care considers how the NHS should be “reset” to commission and provide clinical services. Health Inequalities: Time to Act considers the health inequalities that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated.


Charity Commission 

Inquiry report
Name of Organisation

 Revelation Foundation (1100573)

Inquiry report


CC press release

Brief Description

The charity is involved in creating and broadcasting Christian content programmes for television.

The commission opened an inquiry following concerns raised by the public that the charity was being used for private advantage. The charity had moved most of its operations to Spain, and had developed an overly complex operating structure.

The commission found no evidence to support the allegation of private advantage, but the inquiry  exposed a series of governance failings. The inquiry also found the charity’s founder held a disproportionate influence over the trustees.
 The inquiry appointed an Interim Manager to conduct a review and report to the commission with recommendations on the charity’s relationships with the other entities associated with the broadcasting operation, its governance and model of operation. The trustees remained responsible for the day to day management of the charity throughout the IM’s appointment.

Anything unusual e.g. unusual facts or novel/rare use of commission’s powers

The IM found that the founder of the charity was still very involved in the day-to-day running of the charity and to all intents and purposes was effectively a “shadow trustee”. The IM observed that it would make sense to clarify and set out limitations to the founder’s role within the charity.

The inquiry criticised the trustees for failing to obtain appropriate professional advice before taking important strategic decisions which would have a significant impact on the charity and its property.
 
 
Charity Fraud Awareness Week
 
The commission is promoting Charity Fraud Awareness Week 2020, which takes place from 19-23 October: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/charity-fraud-awareness-week-2020

Sector – general

Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran, has authored a blog for NPC on the government’s latest thinking on the role of charities in our society. In this new blog, the Minister writes about the need for ‘better data and transparency’ in the sector, and about how the government can ‘unlock resources’ for charities. 

Civil Society Media reports Lord Gus O’Donnell will lead 17 commissioners in an “ambitious” research programme to identify ways to expand the role of charities and social enterprises.  The Law Family Commission has been convened by the think tank Pro Bono Economics (PBE) with funding from the Law Family Charitable Foundation. It will formally launch in December and run for two years, seeking to identify what changes are needed so that civil society organisations can play a bigger role in society. 

Data Protection

Data and campaigning

The Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has published this blog on the conclusion of the ICO’s investigation into the use of personal data in political campaigning.

ICO fines

A company that sent spam emails selling face masks during the pandemic has been fined £40,000 by the ICO and issued with an enforcement notice.

Education 

The Department for Education has:
 
Published an investigative report on school and trust governance covering governance structures and the distribution of responsibility, size and characteristics of governing bodies, recruitment and retention, and the experiences of and challenges faced by those involved in governance.

Announced a ‘competition’ to establish the next wave of Institutes of Technology, a new type of institution that will deliver ‘higher level technical education with a clear route to high skilled employment.’

Issued a press release outlining the results of the government’s State of the Nation 2020: children and young people’s wellbeing report.

Published guidance on governance structures and roles, which gives a high-level overview of the roles and responsibilities of the various governance roles in an academy structure. 

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published the outcome of a compulsory audit of the DfE following complaints regarding the National Pupil Database. The audit found that data protection was not being prioritised and that this severely impacted the DfE’s ability to comply with the UK’s data protection laws. The ICO states that the DfE has accepted all the audit recommendations and is making the necessary changes and that the ICO will continue to monitor the DfE and will take enforcement action if progress falls behind the agreed schedule.
 
Ofsted has published a policy paper outlining their surveillance policy. Powers extend to creating fake social media pages to conduct surveillance and help gather evidence of criminal activity. Schools Week reports on the paper.

Social finance and impact investing news

How stronger foundations make more impact through investment – Caroline Mack, Chief Executive of the Association of Charitable Foundations, writes in Pioneers Post that she thinks that philanthropic foundations of the future will prioritise mission when setting investment objectives. This follows a July 2020 report by the ACF (Investment: The Pillars of Stronger Foundation Practice) which identified principles that foundations can follow when setting investment objectives.
 
The Charity Finance Group has published Civil Society’s role in Levelling Up – Submission to Comprehensive Spending Review 2020, outlining several recommendations as to how government could support Civil Society in the current crisis, including through the asset up of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the use of dormant assets and the repurposing of the National Fund (press release).
 
Re-focusing and re-imagining for the ‘Decade of Action’. Taking a global view, the Global Impact Investing Network’s CEO, Amit Bouri, writes for Pioneers Post to warn of the possible slide back into poverty for missions of people, and calling for investors to focus on impact and, specifically, the SDGs.
 
Social impact bonds boost literacy and numeracy but can they scale? In its recent special Moral Money report on Impact Investing, the FT takes a global look at social impact bonds, including some of the key critiques of these structures.

Merger

Bates Wells’ partner Lawrence Simanowitz is quoted in this Civil Society Media article “Mergers: ‘It is about finding a set of relationships that are sustainable’

On November 25th Bates Wells will be hosting; Bates Wells and IVAR present: Thinking about a Merger – a guide for charities. The webinar will look at the drivers for merger in voluntary organisations; success factors; and legal and formal requirements. Additional webinars on this topic will be run on the 27 January 2021 and 24 March 2021

Company Law

The Financial Reporting Council has published a review of best practice regarding AGMs, highlighting the different ways a sample of FTSE 350 companies held AGMs in the first half of 2020, in the light of the pandemic.

Scotland

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, OSCR, has published a webinar video about keeping your charity safe online.
 
OSCR has published its latest newsletter, with a roundup of recent stories:

Disclaimer – The information contained in this update is not intended to be a comprehensive update – it is our selection of the website announcements made in the week up to last Friday 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 October 13, 2020.