Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 18 May

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

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Bates Wells Highlights

As well as a new Charities Bill, last week’s Queen’s Speech included a Dormant Assets Bill, Subsidy Control and Procurement Bills, a Health and Care Bill and the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill. See today’s Briefing for more details. 

Our latest Charity and social enterprise update: trustees in the spotlight covers the implications of the Kids Company case for trustees and CEOs, the principles of effective trustee delegation, the wellbeing of boards, trustee liability, and more.

At a glance

HMRC has published a “Call for Evidence:  Simplifying the VAT Land Exemption”.

The Disclosure and Barring Service has produced guidance around DBS checks and eligibility which is tailored to different faiths. 

The Information Commissioner’s Office has announced that it is working on bespoke UK standard contractual clauses for international data transfers.

A new bill will bring in measures requiring universities and student unions to comply with free speech duties. 

Coronavirus – work from home guidance

Speaking to MPs on 12 May 2021, the Prime Minister has indicated that the government’s aim is for the current work from home guidance to end on 21 June 2021. 

Coronavirus – arts funding

Lord Neil Mendoza the Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal is to host a series of roundtables, bringing together leaders from the corporate and arts and culture worlds, to consider innovative models for sustainable cultural recovery.  The roundtables will feature senior leaders from global companies and Britain’s cultural sector to “share objectives and best practice for successful partnerships, outline challenges collaborating across industries and consider practical, innovative solutions to the creative sector’s long term recovery from Covid-19”.

Coronavirus – impact on the sector

NCVO is conducting the next round of its study exploring the impact of Covid-19 on the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector. The survey is now open until 26 May.  This month NCVO is keen to learn more about the impact of the pandemic, and the events of the past year, on your organisation’s approach to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).  

New Age UK analysis finds that the experience of living through the fear, enforced isolation and inactivity caused by the pandemic has sharply accelerated the care needs of significant numbers of older people.  

Queen’s speech/new legislation

The Queen’s Speech last week included the following:

  • Charities Bill – to address a number of technical issues in charity law examined in recent years by the Law Commission.  See our Briefing here on which of the Law Commission’s recommendations will be covered in the new Bill.  Bates Wells is planning a series of briefings on some of the key changes – including which charities will be most affected, and whether any current plans should be brought forward or delayed taking into account the impact of the Bill.  Also see under Charity Commission below.
  • Dormant Assets Bill – see under Social Finance below
  • Subsidy Control Bill- This aims to replace the EU’s state aid regime with UK-wide principles that public authorities must follow when granting subsidies. It will require public authorities to upload information on subsidies to a new UK-wide database. It will establish an independent subsidy control body and provide for judicial oversight of subsidy grants.
  • Procurement Bill– This aims to simplify the UK’s public procurement regime with three modern procedures. It will require buyers to adhere to the government’s new National Procurement Policy Statement. The government says it will also establish a single data platform for supplier registration, tackle supplier fraud, reform the process for challenging procurement decisions and cap the level of damages available to bidders to reduce speculative claims.
  • Health and Care Bill to “empower the NHS to innovate and embrace technology”. The Bill will “introduce significant changes to the organisation and commissioning of health and social care to remove barriers that prevent integration of the health and care system, remove transactional bureaucracy that impedes decision-making, and ensure NHS England and local authorities are more accountable and responsible”.
  • The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill which will:
    • formally recognise animals as sentient beings in domestic law
    • establish an Animal Sentience Committee made up of experts to ensure cross departmental government policy considers animal sentience

Brexit – Professional qualifications

To replace the current system which is based on EU law, the Professional Qualifications Bill 2021-22 has been laid before Parliament.  It will give UK regulators the power to make mutual recognition agreements with their counterparts in other countries across the world where there is a UK shortage of qualified professionals. The government has also published a summary of responses to its call for evidence on the recognition of professional qualifications and regulation of professions. It also published a policy statement setting out its plans and guidance to assist UK regulators negotiate and implement mutual recognition agreements with their overseas counterparts. Our Public & Regulatory team are experienced in advising regulators on their powers and duties relating to recognition of qualifications, including in navigating the post-Brexit landscape. Please contact Melanie Carter if you would like any assistance in this area.

Charity Commission

Charities Bill

The commission has posted this blog by Aarti Thakor, the Commission’s Director of Legal Services, about the Charities Bill, highlighting five of the key changes to be made to charity law by the Bill.

Tax and VAT

HMRC has published a “Call for Evidence: Simplifying the VAT Land Exemption”.   The closing date is 3rd August.


CFG’s Caron Bradshaw OBE shares her thoughts on the issues around charity reserves in light of the Covid pandemic and recent investigations by the Charity Commission in her latest blog post.

Sector General

Stewarding Loss has announced a new pilot fund: ‘The Care-full Closures Fund’. This fund will deliver ground-breaking support to 4 organisations to support them to consider and design an organisational closure or merger

Climate change

See under International development below.


The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) recently worked with Strengthening Faith Institutions and the Charity Commission to support faith organisations, by producing guidance around DBS checks and eligibility which is tailored to different faiths.  There is also a DBS guidance leaflet on the same subject: DBS checks for working with children in places of worship.

Data protection

International data transfers

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has announced that it is working on bespoke UK standard contractual clauses for international data transfers. The ICO plans to go out to consultation on the clauses in the summer. The ICO noted that it is also considering recognising transfer tools from other countries, such as the EU’s standard contractual clauses.

Draft data protection and journalism code of practice

Anulka Clarke, the Acting Director of Regulatory Assurance at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), has confirmed in a blog post that a draft version of a new data protection and journalism code of practice will be published this summer. At the same time, the ICO will invite feedback on the code and conduct a public consultation to help it fulfil its duty under the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) to conduct a statutory review of processing for the purposes of journalism.

Diversity and inclusion

See this guidance “Contested Heritage in Cathedrals and Churches” published by The Church of England’s Church Buildings Council and Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England.


The government has published its response to the Women and Equalities Committee report Unequal Impact? Coronavirus and the gendered economic impact. The report found that government policies had consistently overlooked women’s caring responsibilities and the employment inequalities experienced by them.  The government’s response rejects many of the recommendations but has made a few commitments around making flexible working the default position and extending the redundancy protection period afforded to mothers on maternity leave.



The report of the Chief Schools Adjudicator to the Secretary of State for Education has been published, covering the period 1 September 2019 to 31 December 2020. 

ESFA has published its most recent update for academies.

The second of a series of reviews from Ofsted into what constitutes high quality education in different subjects across the curriculum has been published and focussed on religious education.

Face coverings will no longer be required in schools and colleges from today, 17 May, the Prime Minister has confirmed.

A guide for students has been released by Ofqual which provides advice, support and information on GCSEs, A levels and other qualifications in summer 2021.

The DfE has published the schools admissions code that will apply from 1 September 2021

Further Education

The ESFA has published its monthly business update, rounding up information and news on apprenticeships and businesses.

ESFA has published its most recent further education update.

The new Skills and Post-16 Education Bill will introduce reforms that support post-16 and adult education and training, focusing on the 50% of young people who don’t go to university.

Higher Education

A new bill will bring in new measures requiring universities and student unions to comply with free speech duties. It’s intended that the bill will protect and promote freedom of speech and academic freedom.

The new chair of the OfS has given his first speech to university leaders, setting out his priorities for the role. 

Youth services

NPC has shared the final learning insights from its research with the Centre for Youth Impact into the Youth Investment Fund


See under Queen’s Speech above.

Housing and homelessness

The government has announced a further £203 million funding. The funding will be allocated to councils across England and will support projects such as shelters, specialist mental health or addiction services, and targeted support to help rough sleepers off the streets for good.  Government says it will be used by councils, charities and other local groups to fund up to 14,500 bed spaces and 2,700 support staff across England.

Social finance

The Dormant Assets Bill has been introduced in the House of Lords. The legislation aims to expand the dormant assets scheme to include the insurance, pension, investment, wealth management and securities sectors. It aims to unlock around £900 million in funds for good causes. The bill is due for a second reading in the House of Lords on 26 May 2021.

£7.6bn new funding is major opportunity for UK social enterprises. Pioneers Post reports on Conservative MP, Danny Kruger’s speech at 10xRF run by Responsible Finance which highlights the funds for UK social enterprises to watch in the near future including, for example, The Shared Prosperity Fund (expected to launch in 2022) and The Levelling Up Fund (announced in the UK government’s spending review 2020).  

How are outcomes funds evolving over time? The University of Oxford’s Government Outcomes Lab blog discusses how ‘outcomes funds’ differ from impact bonds, and highlights how these funds are developing in different ways.

International development

The UK has announced £12 million in new funding to “support developing countries to better prepare for and respond to disasters, including those linked to climate change”. The funds will go to the Start Network for rapid responses by charities to crises like droughts and floods.  A further £8 million will support the Centre for Disaster Protection to help climate-vulnerable countries deal with crises such as extreme weather caused by climate change and pandemics. This forms part of the wider £48 million package of climate support announced by the Foreign Secretary earlier this year.

Faith based organisations

See above under Safeguarding and Diversity and Inclusion.

2021 Faith-Based update  In this edition of our Faith-based update, we look at what you can do if the conduct of your employees outside of work is not aligned with your organisation’s values. We also bring you up to speed on immigration law, explain how to successfully ‘plant’ a new church in the UK, and reflect on the huge influence faith groups have on raising awareness of the climate crisis with a guest feature by Shanon Shah from Faith for the Climate.

Public procurement and subsidy control

See under Queen’s Speech above.

Company law

The Insolvency Service is to be given powers to investigate directors of companies that have been dissolved.  (At present, the Insolvency Service only has powers to investigate directors of live companies or those entering a form of insolvency.) The measures which will be included in the Ratings (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill are retrospective.  Government says they will enable the Insolvency Service to also tackle Directors who have inappropriately wound-up companies that have benefited from Bounce Back Loans.

Cyber fraud

The National Cyber Security Centre has launched free training for small organisations and charities  which guides them through all the actions they need to take to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of the most common cyber attacks. 

Backgrounds for Zoom

If you’re bored of your usual backdrop, National Trust has some fab free backgrounds you can download. They include Winston Churchill’s study at Chartwell, Beatrix Potter’s entrance hall and Virginia Woolf’s writing room.

Bates Wells upcoming events

Employment Update Webinar, Wednesday 19th May, 3pm

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

Immigration Webinar, Wednesday 26th May, 2pm

As we’re fast approaching the end of the Brexit transition period, what are the key considerations for employers? Join our Immigration team as they discuss what you need to know ahead of the imminent rule changes. 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 17, 2021.