Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises

Social Enterprise

Bates Wells highlights

Trustees Week: Trustees who are confident in their duties and responsibilities are an essential asset to any charity. But with the current crisis throwing fresh operational and strategic challenges at leadership teams, now may be the time to consider tailored training. Click here to learn more about our trustees and leadership training packages, starting at £1200 plus VAT for a two hour session.

At a glance

The Charity Commission has launched five new “5 minute guides” for trustees covering a “core syllabus” of basics that trustees need to know.

Coronavirus – Government Support 

Charity Tax Group has published this summary of this weekend’s announcement that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended for a month, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked. 

Coronavirus – filing papers at Companies House

Prior to the latest announcement about new lockdown restrictions, Companies House updated its guidance to confirm that its offices in Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh would be closed from the public until March 2021. The London office will remain closed until March 2021. As at 28 October 2020 paper documents and deliveries could still be made to the offices in Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff.  See this link for more information. 

Charity Commission 

Trustees’ week and new guidance for trustees
To coincide with Trustees’ Week this week, the commission has launched five new “5 minute guides” for trustees covering a “core syllabus” of basics that trustees need to know; for further commentary see the commission’s press release and a blogpost by commission CEO Helen Stephenson.
The new guides can now be accessed from the main guidance landing page and the individual topics are:
Charity purposes and rules
Making decisions at a charity
Managing charity finances
Managing conflicts of interest in a charity
What to send to the Charity Commission and how to get help

Inquiry report

Name of organisation

Kamyabi (1125243)
Inquiry report

Brief description

The charity’s objects are the relief of primarily Asian women in the county of Nottinghamshire.

The commission opened a proactive case into the charity as it identified irregularities between the financial information submitted to the commission by the charity and the activities in the charity’s bank account.

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

The inquiry found that the only signatory to the charity’s bank account is an individual who is not a trustee and is connected to two trustees.

During the inquiry the trustees have failed to gain control of the charity’s bank account and the individual remains the sole signatory. The trustees were asked to rectify this matter as soon as possible and a monitoring case has been opened to ensure the charity continues to implement the commission’s Action Plan in this respect.

Data Protection

The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued an enforcement notice against Experian following an ICO investigation into credit reference agencies.  Experian did not accept that they were required to make the changes set out by the ICO, and as such were not prepared to issue privacy information directly to individuals nor cease the use of credit reference data for direct marketing purposes. As a result, Experian has been given an enforcement notice compelling it to make changes within nine months or risk further action. 

ICO fines

The ICO has fined Marriott International Inc. £18.4million for failing to keep millions of customers’ personal data secure.


MAT to lose its four schools after ‘breakdown of trust’ among local governorsSchools Week reports on The Learning Link Multi-Academy Trust, a West Midlands trust, which has been issued with a termination notice after it failed to address serious concerns raised by the regional schools commissioner for the West Midlands.

Social finance and social impact investing news

UK social impact investment market now worth more than £5 billion – Big Society Capital shares research results showing that the UK social impact investment market is now worth more than £5 billion, representing a 20% increase since 2018 and a six-fold increase in the past 8 years. Social property funds represent that largest segment of the market (42%) despite not existing 8 years ago.
Big Society Capital CEO: ‘I’m proud of our review performance – but it raised some important issues’ – Big Society Capital’s interim CEO, Stephen Muers, writes for Pioneers Post to highlight the organisation’s top three priorities going forward, in light of feedback from the recent Quadrennial Review.
Investment manager partners with social enterprise to carbon offset its charity fund – Civil Society Media reports on Cazenove Capital’s plans to offset the carbon footprint of its Charity Responsible Multi-Asset Fund by working with Ecologi, which offsets carbon footprint through reforestation and carbon reduction projects.
Understanding a maturing Community Shares market is a new report from Co-operatives UK showing that since 2012 there have been more than 100,000 community share investors who have raised over £150m, and providing commentary and key statistics illustrating the development of this landscape. For more, Third Sector comments on the report’s publication.

Company Law

Members’ meetings

ICSA reports the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) has published a paper on the future of annual general meetings based on the views of their members and their experience across a number of markets during the COVID pandemic, particularly with regard to the use of virtual and hybrid meetings. The paper identifies some advantages and disadvantages of each approach, but reflects experience across a number of markets, particularly the United States, where law and regulation can be very different.

Review of Judicial Review

Bates Wells’ Partner Melanie Carter has written here about administrative and human rights issues on the government agenda. 


OSCR is hosting and taking part in various free online events for Trustees’ Week in collaboration with Scotland’s Third Sector Governance Forum:
OSCR has updated its guidance about the submission of reports and accounts during the pandemic:
OSCR has published a webinar about public trust in Scottish charities:

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 November 3, 2020.