Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises

 Do read our latest and very relevant update for charities Diversity in action: A guide for charities.

Bates Wells highlights

Do read our latest and very relevant update for charities Diversity in action: A guide for charities

Our new Brexit briefing provides guidance for charities across key areas of law, as the UK moves into a new relationship with the EU.

We have published Our climate commitments: annual report 2020. 

At a glance

The Charities (Exception from Registration) (Amendment) Regulations 2021/55 have been published. 
NCVO has published “The Road Ahead 2021”.
The Law Family Commission on Civil Society has published a report “In the Public Eye:  Snapshot of public attitudes towards Civil Society”.  
The Home Secretary has published the Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy. 
DCMS and the Cabinet Office have published a “Guide for VCSE organisations on how to bid and win contracts with government”. 

Coronavirus – current restrictions

The government has published this letter to Parliamentary Parties Panel members on campaigning during lockdown.

Coronavirus – government initiatives

A group of charities has made a joint submission to Budget 2021, calling for a renewed package of dedicated support measures for the sector. 
Social Enterprise UK, along with partners from the wider social economy, has sent this letter to John Glen MP, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury to improve access for social enterprises, co-operatives and community businesses to government-backed loan schemes.
The government is making it even simpler for employers of all sizes to benefit from joining the Kickstart scheme by removing the limit requiring they create a minimum of 30 vacancies to apply directly.

 Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

HMRC has updated the guidance for the Scheme to confirm how employers can submit requests that details of their claims under the scheme are not published.  (The publication of employer claims details was introduced in respect of employers making claims under the CJRS from 1 December 2020 as a way of promoting transparency of the scheme and deterring fraud).  However, claim details will not be published where employers are able to show and provide evidence that doing so would result in serious risk of violence or intimidation to certain relevant individuals (including individual employers, directors, officers or employees) or anyone living with them.

CFG has reiterated its call for a fit-for-purpose CJRS

Coronavirus – immigration

Bates Wells’ Immigration team has published “Coronavirus and UK Immigration: FAQs”.

Coronavirus – sector resources

NPC has published these new resources:

– Updated coronavirus response toolkit for charities
– Shifting your funding practices during Covid-19
– How philanthropists should respond to coronavirus
All four criminal justice inspectorates have published a joint report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the criminal justice system.NCVO, Nottingham Trent University and Sheffield Hallam University are currently conducting one of the largest research projects of its kind focussing on the impact of COVID-19 on the voluntary sector across the UK.   See the most recent key findings in this report and see here for the latest survey which closes on Thursday 28th Jan.  The survey takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.


Data protection
Bates Wells has published What does the Brexit deal mean for data protection in the UK?
In this blog, the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham looks at the data protection aspects of the recently agreed UK-EU trade agreement.
Bates Wells has published

Sector resources
Charity Tax Group is running a new series of monthly training sessions.  The next is on the tax implications of Brexit for charities, from 4 to 5pm on Wednesday 27 January.  Bates Wells’ Associate Suhan Rajkumar is one of the speakers.  See here for more details, including how to register. 
Charity Finance Group has this new Brexit hub  with links to the following: 
1. CFG’s six requirements and Brexit background
2. What does the UK/EU deal mean for charities?
3. How should charities prepare for the post-EU era?
4. What are the opportunities for civil society?
There’s also this podcast:  Caron Bradshaw, CEO and Richard Sagar, Policy Manager of CFG discuss what Brexit means to the charity. Listen now.
Future parliamentary scrutiny of UK-EU relations

The House of Commons Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union has published a report on the shape of future parliamentary scrutiny of UK-EU relations.   

  Charity Commission

Helen Stephenson speech to ICAEW

The commission has published the transcript of a recent speech given by Helen Stephenson to the ICAEW Charity Conference 2021.  

New board member

DCMS has announced that chartered accountant Will Lifford (formerly of Grant Thornton) has been appointed to the commission’s board as a new non-executive director, replacing Mike Ashley whose term of office expired in November 2020.

New inquiry

The commission has announced that it has opened an inquiry into One Community Organisation, a charity delivering support to the deaf community and those with special needs. In April 2020, the commission opened a compliance case after it identified inconsistencies with the information the trustees had reported to the commission about the charity, for example, conflicting information about whether or not the charity owned property. This has led the commission to examine further financial and governance concerns.

Excepted charities

The Charities (Exception from Registration) (Amendment) Regulations 2021/55 have been published. They extend the temporary exception granted to certain religious charities from the requirement to be registered under the Charities Act 2011 until 31 March 2031.


NCVO has flagged that one of the key additions to the Code is the emphasis on boards recognising power imbalances and addressing these where they might be detrimental to the charity’s mission. NCVO has signposted to work by independent organisational ethics specialist Alex Cole-Hamilton’s, looking at putting power analysis at the heart of governance in international non-government organisations (INGOs). NCVO says it will be doing more work to explore how boards can practically ensure this is the case over the coming months.

Sector General

The Law Family Commission on Civil Society has published a report In the Public Eye: Snapshot of public attitudes towards civil society, based on research commissioned in November 2020. 

NCVO has published The Road Ahead 2021.   NCVO describes it as an annual analysis of the changing operating environment for anyone working in the voluntary sector.  It identifies and explains forces and trends that are shaping the sector and are likely to have an impact on organisations in the future.

Climate change

This week, Boris Johnson is launching the Adaptation Action Coalition, a new international coalition to tackle the impacts of climate change.


The Home Secretary has published a national strategy to protect children from all forms of child sexual abuse.  The Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy sets out how the government will use new legislation and enhanced technology to stop offenders in their tracks.

Data protection

See under Brexit above.

ICO working with charity software supplier re sharing data of vulnerable people

Hull4Heroes is a veteran charity, supporting ex-service men and women and their families. It is using SafeGuarden technology from CDD Services to help individuals connect in a safe, simple and secure way. SafeGuarden will enable personal data exchange and real-time consent control, allowing support givers to focus on those in need, accelerating onboarding and simplifying multi-agency referral and monitoring of individuals within their best interests.  The ICO reports it has accepted SafeGuarden into its Sandbox, which will enable CDD Services to work directly with the ICO to ensure that data protection by design is embedded in the platform and its data sharing processes, safeguarding identity management, security and privacy.

Diversity and inclusion

Bates Wells has published its latest update Diversity in action: A guide for charities. It covers:

  • Is discrimination ever lawful? A brief introduction to the legislation on diversity – the Equality Act 2010.
  • How to make positive changes to promote greater diversity within your membership or trustee body.
  • When is it lawful to restrict who can benefit from your charity’s services?
  • How charities can take positive action to improve diversity, without falling foul of equality law.
  • Our 5 tips for employers around reasonable adjustments for disabled applicants and employees.
  • Embedding the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion within your charity’s governance.
  • An example of how diversity in action can change lives through the work of our client, Blueprint for All (formerly the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust).

Community-led groups are being invited to bid for a share of up to £500,000 to develop and host events which celebrate the Windrush Generation and recognise their contribution to British Life.  The annual Windrush Day Grant Scheme will provide up to £25,000 to local councils, charities and community groups seeking to create projects and host events for Windrush Day in 22 June 2021 and throughout the year.
The Communities Secretary has announced new laws to “protect England’s cultural and historic heritage”.  The new legal protections mean that historic statues should be ‘retained and explained’ for future generations. Individuals who want to remove any historic statue, whether listed or not, will now require listed building consent or planning permission.
NCVO has published its latest Equality, Diversity and Inclusion update


Department of Education updated guidance – Keeping children safe in education
The Department for Education has updated its statutory guidance Keeping children safe in education following the end of the post-Brexit transition period, to include advice about carrying out checks on the past conduct of teachers who have lived or worked in EEA member states.
Over three quarters of secondary schools order free period products
The Government is encouraging all schools and colleges to access free period products, following the extension of the existing scheme throughout 2021. The programme, delivered by phs Direct, part of phs Group, is designed so that schools can order what they need and are given the option to order environmentally friendly or reusable products. Schools are not charged for the products or for delivery.
Ofsted – Remote education research
Ofsted has published an in-depth study on remote education which finds that although many schools are doing a good job of mitigating children’s learning loss, keeping pupils motivated remains a challenge. From today (25 January), Ofsted is resuming monitoring inspections of schools judged to be inadequate at their previous inspection, as well as some graded ‘requires improvement’. Read the Government’s press release here.   


A new Health and Wellbeing Fund is to support 19 projects to reduce health inequalities among new mothers and babies.


38 organisations will receive almost £2 million in government funding so their “vital work steering women away from crime can continue”.

Public sector

DCMS and the Cabinet Office have published a “Guide for VCSE organisations on how to bid and win contracts with government”.  VCSE means charities, public service mutuals and social enterprises.

Social enterprise sector news

Social enterprises write open letter to the Treasury

Social enterprises included Locality, UnLtd and Social Enterprise UK have written an open letter to the Treasury demanding that the “bounce back loan scheme” system “improves swiftly”. The scheme promised loans of up to £50,000 to affected businesses, with no fees or interest due for the first twelve months. Civil Society Media reports on the “damaging obstacles” facing social enterprises as they try to access these government-backed bank loans.

Culture and heritage

DCMS has published “Valuing Culture and Heritage Capital: A Framework Towards Informing Decision Making”.  It sets out how DCMS’ approach will support the evidence base behind private and public investments in culture and heritage.  Also published are new studies from DCMS and its Arm’s Length Bodies, developed in conjunction with Nesta. DCMS says this research has helped inform the DCMS framework and programme of research with figures showing how much visitors value their engagement with culture and heritage.

International development

See under Governance above.

Public procurement

Civil Society Media has summarised here representations from charity leaders about the government’s procurement green paper to a House of Lords committee.  Comments included that the new proposal “simply isn’t going to work” for charities and that while the intentions behind a green paper were “laudable”, they were poorly suited to small charities trying to help their communities who would be much better off grant-funded.

State aid

The European Commission has published a notice to stakeholders on the effect of Brexit on the application of EU state aid rules.

Company law                

Companies House – authentication codes

Companies House is now offering a temporary option to request a company authentication code to be sent to an active officer’s home address as an alternative to the registered office address (in light of Covid-19) – see here.   

Companies House bank account change 

A reminder of the final closure date as Companies House changes to a different type of bank account: the old account will close at the end of February 2021.  For customers who need to make a BACS payment, any letters Companies House has sent from 1 September 2020 onwards should include their new bank account details and instructions on how to pay Companies House; they have also updated their bank details in online guidance and emails.  This change only affects people making BACS payments to Companies House (not those using a dedicated CH credit account).   For more information, see:


This is an interesting blog about changing approaches to AGMs from the charity Share Action “The AGM of the future: 5 ways to change the AGM for the better”.

Human Rights

The Ministry of Justice has issued a call for evidence as part of the independent review of the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998). The call for evidence closes on 3 March 2021. The review panel will report in summer 2021.

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 January 25, 2021.