Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 11 May

Our weekly round up of news and updates from across the sector.

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At a glance

The Queen’s speech today included mention of a Charities Bill and Dormant Assets Bill.

HMRC have amended their guidance on what donations qualify for Gift Aid to include waived refunds and loan waivers (which were previously excluded). 

Reach Volunteering has launched a new toolkit of resources to help charities improve how they recruit trustees and increase their board’s diversity.

Coronavirus – government funding

More than 840 charities, community groups and grassroots organisations tackling social isolation have received a share of £4m to tackle loneliness.

Queen’s speech – charity legislation

In exciting news for the charity sector, the Queen’s Speech today referenced legislation that will “support the voluntary sector by reducing unnecessary bureaucracy and releasing additional funds for good causes”.  These are references to a Dormant Assets Bill and to the long awaited Charities Bill to implement the Law Commission’s recommendations to address technical issues in charity law.  See our Briefing on the Law Commission’s recommendations here.

Charity Commission

Responsible investment guidance consultation

The commission has published the following update on the landing page for the consultation:

On 14 April two charities were granted permission to bring a case relating to responsible investments to the High Court. The two charities seek clarification of the law, and we expect that there will be a court hearing later this year.

In the meantime, the Commission is continuing with this consultation, and we encourage charities and others to respond. We still plan to publish a summary of the consultation responses in the summer. As the court’s decision may affect our draft guidance we will consider any further steps once the court has given its judgment.

If you missed our recent webinar about the new Charity Commission guidance on responsible investment, you can access the recording here. The panel featured experts across the charity, legal, investment, and accounting sectors discussing the features and implications of the draft guidance and how it might evolve.

Tax and VAT

HMRC have amended their guidance on what donations qualify for Gift Aid to include waived refunds and loan waivers (which were previously excluded). See Chapter 3.45 Claiming Gift Aid on Waived Refunds and Loan Repayments 


Reach Volunteering has launched a new toolkit of resources to help charities improve how they recruit trustees and increase their board’s diversity. Also useful if you missed it first time round is the Bates Wells “Diversity in action: a guide for charities”. 


Intervening in the Forstater case recently heard by the EAT, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published a statement and written submissions urging the EAT to view a gender critical belief that sex is biological and cannot be changed as a philosophical belief protected by the Equality Act 2010.  The EHRC clarified that legally there exists a difference between holding a belief and how that belief is manifested. The tribunal in Ms Forstater’s case had wrongly conflated the question of whether the belief was protected with the way in which it was expressed. However, manifestation is not a useful tool for determining whether a belief meets the Grainger threshold. The EHRC says “We are intervening in the case at the Employment Appeal Tribunal, to clarify how equality and human rights law applies in the complex area of freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”


See under Tax and VAT above.

Code of Fundraising Practice – standards re free prize draws

The Fundraising Regulator has announced a minor change to the current wording of standard 12.6.2 to reflect more accurately the legislation which underpins the standard on hosting a free draw for charitable fundraising purposes.  Standard 12.6.2 will be amended on two key points to remain in-line with the Gambling Act legislation:

  • the inclusion of a letter by ordinary post (either first-class or second-class) as an acceptable free method of entry;
  • the revision of the current wording on acceptable selection criteria for the draw. 

Also see under Scotland below.


Report: How can we better engage wealthy millennials in philanthropy? The Beacon Collaborative has published a report based on research carried out in collaboration with Savanta. The report includes insight into the relationships millennials want with charities, how they currently give and how charitable organisations can connect with them. For more, Natasha Muller Impact, United for Global Mental Health and Arabella Advisors have also published a report on how next-generation philanthropists can transform mental health funding.



The DfE has published non-statutory guidance for Academy Trusts that wish to set up formal trust partnerships with maintained schools. The guidance, “Trust Partnerships: Guidance for academy trusts and prospective joiners”, can be found here. A Trust Partnership is a time-limited arrangement that allows schools to partner with an academy trust. The arrangement does not offer the full benefits of joining an academy trust but is a way that a school can trial membership in an academy trust for a limited period of time (typically 12-18 months) to explore how a permanent arrangement might work. A model service level agreement in relation to a Trust Partnership has been published that can be adapted for use by schools and trusts.

Ofqual has published its decisions regarding arrangements in autumn 2021 for GCSE, AS and A level exams, after its recent consultation on the subject. 

The latest Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) update for academies has been published.

A new tool to support boards and leaders implement a framework for ethical leadership in education has been released by the National Governance Association.

The DfE will extend its school leaders’ wellbeing service to 160 more headteachers after a successful pilot aimed to reduce burnout and stress across the profession.

The latest inspection outcomes from Ofsted show that the poorest areas of England are “most likely” to have “significant weaknesses” in their SEND provision.

Further Education

The final decisions made by Ofqual in relation to assessments for Vocational and Technical and Other General Qualifications in autumn 2021 have been published.

The latest ESFA update for further education has been published.

FE Weeks reports Ofsted has published a report that details the safeguarding failures at one of England’s largest apprenticeship providers.

Higher Education

The OfS has clarified the extent of the proposed reduction in funding for arts subjects in higher education in England, after recent news reports and social media commentary incorrectly implied that the OfS is proposing a 50% cut in overall funding for students on arts courses.

Domestic Abuse Act

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 has been published. The Act includes:

  • A definition of domestic abuse that goes beyond physical and sexual abuse to include economic abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour (section 1) and recognition of children as victims if they see, hear or experience the effects of abuse (section 3).
  • New duties on local authorities to provide support to victims of domestic abuse, including giving those who are homeless because of domestic abuse priority need for accommodation and providing support such as therapy, advocacy and counselling in safe accommodation (sections 57 and 78).

Social finance

See under Tax and VAT above.

International Development Finance

The importance of development banks raising climate ambition ahead of COP26. For those interested in International Development and following the work of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), COP26 President Alok Sharma opened a recent ADB meeting with a speech urging the bank to continue its work to encourage a green recovery in Asia, work collaboratively and get finance flowing into climate action.

Social investment

Reform of taxation of securitisation companies. Allia C&C, Big Society Capital, Social Enterprise UK and the Impact Investing Institute have issued a joint response to the Treasury and HMRC’s consultation on potential changes to the regulations on the taxation of securitises companies, including a proposed halving of the minimum limit for issuing retail charity bonds, to £5 million (campaign landing page). Third Sector reports on the announcement.  

Making Homelessness History in Wolverhampton. Enterprise Homes Group (EHG), which works to tackle homelessness by providing accommodation, training and employment, has received £105,000 of investment from Resonance’s West Midlands Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) Fund, intended to enable EHG to develop its trading arm.

Rethinking the ‘rainy day’ myths of charity reserves Third Sector considers the charity sector’s approach to building / maintaining financial reserves, where this practice sits within charity law and views on the subject in light of the Kids Company decision.  

A guide to loans for charities. CAF has published a guide to help charities understand more about repayable finance, including providing explanation of different kinds of repayable finance, case studies and tips on what lenders look for and developing the business case.


See under Company law below.

Faith based organisations

See under Equality above.

Company law

If you’ve been wondering what sort of practical impact the proposed Better Business Act could have, Bates Wells’ Associate Ben Thomas has written a piece on how the European Super League fiasco could have been avoided if businesses were required to take stakeholder interests into account.

HMRC has made changes to its guidance on completing stock transfer forms  indicating that the temporary electronic processes introduced in March 2020 in response to the pandemic are no longer temporary and should continue to be followed. 


OSCR has published a short guidance note on restarting fundraising, following restrictions beginning to ease in Scotland.

Northern Ireland

NICVA has published its response to the independent review of charity law regulation in Northern Ireland. 

Bates Wells upcoming events

Our bi-monthly employment update webinar is coming up – many of our clients find this session useful for keeping up with employment law developments which directly impact on their organisation. Sign up here.

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 May 11, 2021.