Bates Wells highlights
The Charities Bill is underway. See today’s Briefing for next steps.
Due to holidays in our team here, we won’t be sending out our Briefing next week. The next one will come out the week beginning 14th June.
At a glance
The Court of Appeal has given judgment in a case about charity eligibility for rate relief.
Pro Bono Economics has published a report “Setting Lockdown Savings Free” which covers ways to encourage households that have saved money during COVID-19 to donate to charity.
Co-ops UK has developed a guide for community benefit societies in financial strife.
The National Governance Association (in collaboration with a number of arts associations) has published four guides on cultural education, dance, arts and design and music, which are intended to help school governing boards support their school/trust’s arts and cultural provision.
We are still trying to get a feel for timings of the Bill becoming law and coming into force. We will update via this Briefing as and when this becomes clearer. The Bill will be following a Law Commission Special Parliamentary procedure as it is considered uncontroversial and only implements Law Commission recommendations.
Responsible investment consultation
Civil Society summarises here responses to the consultation made by a number of sector groups.
Regulatory compliance and inquiry case outcomes
The Commission has published:
- A press release about To Inspire (formerly Chaigley Trust). The commission opened a compliance case into the charity in response to concerns about To Inspire’s governance, how the proceeds of the sale of Chaigley Manor (the former headquarters) had been used, whether robust financial controls were in place and whether funds may had been misappropriated.
- An inquiry report into The National Equine Training Trust. The commission was alerted after a neighbour of property owned by the charity, filed an adverse possession claim to take ownership of the land on the basis of use of the land for several years,. The trustees had not responded to these proceedings. The commission took action to intervene in the proceedings to protect the land that belonged to the charity. As a result, the possession claim was struck out, ensuring the land remained in the charity’s possession.
Community benefit societies
Co-ops UK has developed a guide to assist societies in financial strife. It also has plans to update the Community Shares Handbook with further information about insolvency, alongside reviewing its Finance Toolkit.
Update from the Regulator
The Financial Conduct Authority has published a summary of its regulation of mutual societies over the last year, the Mutual Societies registration function update for 2020-21.
Charity law cases
The Court of Appeal has given judgment in a case about charity eligibility for rate relief, London Borough of Merton v Nuffield Health  EWCA Civ 826. The London Borough of Merton appealed against a High Court decision that Nuffield Health (a charity) was entitled to mandatory relief from non-domestic rates in respect of a Nuffield Health gym in Merton. The Court of Appeal decided that:
- if the public benefit test were applied to the site in Merton (a fitness and well-being centre), Nuffield Health had not shown that the public benefit test was satisfied.
- However the question of public benefit did not need be assessed separately for each site on which a charity carries out its charitable activity. Therefore Nuffield Health was entitled to rate relief for the site.
The Information Commissioner’s Office has published these blogs relating to the Children’s Code:
Return to face to face fundraising
Civil Society Media reports several charities have announced they will be hosting face-to-face fundraising events, as the lockdown restrictions begin to lift.
See here for a blog from CAF about maximising match-funding opportunities.
Pro Bono Economics has published a report “Setting Lockdown Savings Free” about ways to encourage households that have saved money during COVID-19 to donate to charity. The report includes that government might consider introducing a match-funding programme as an alternative to Gift Aid reform.
Fundraising in the arts sector
The Chartered Institute of Fundraising has published these results of a 2020 survey of fundraising by arts organisations during the pandemic.
Social investment and social impact investing
Cambridge Centre for Strategic Philanthropy (CSP) and EVPA launch collaborative study on research interests in emerging market philanthropy. The CSP and EVPA will be running a focus group of European ‘investors for impact’ interested in emerging markets, in order to help inform the research agenda in this area, and are inviting expressions of interest from possible participants.
Social enterprise sector news
Groundwork joins the Environment Development Programme as the sector partner. From 15 June 2021, environmental charities and social enterprises can apply for support to strengthen their trading models, as part of the Enterprise Development Programme (EDP). The charity Groundwork will work with environmental organisations to help them become more financially sustainable.
The ESFA has published its latest update on academies.
Ofsted has published its review into what constitutes high-quality mathematics teaching, assessment and curriculum.
Ofqual has launched an interactive tool that provides a visual overview of statistical trends relating to GCSEs, AS and A levels.
The National Governance Association (in collaboration with a number of arts associations) has published four guides on cultural education, dance, arts and design and music, which are intended to help governing boards support their school/trust’s arts and cultural provision.
The ESFA has published its latest update on further education.
The Department for Work and Pensions has partnered with Google to provide jobseekers with scholarships and courses specialising in technology and IT; these do not require relevant experience or a degree, but are recognised by employers and industry experts. Universal Credit claimants will be referred to the scholarships by their Work Coach.
Colleges have signed up to publish their ethnicity data, revealing the pay gaps between their staff’s ethnic groups, in a bid to increase diversity and tackle inequality.
Although the deadline has now passed, full time undergraduate students are still being encouraged to apply to the Student Loans Company for student finance as they can receive a basic funding package at the start of term (if eligible).
The OfS has called for more support for mature applicants and the particular challenges they face as this year the number of adult learners applying for full-time study has increased by 24%.
Culture and creative
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has launched the search for UK City of Culture 2025. For the first time, groups of towns will now be able to join together and apply for the title to be awarded to their local area.
Extension of Companies House PROOF Service
With effect from 1 June the Companies House protected online filing system (PROOF) can be used for change of name items including any special resolution for name change and form NM01 (notice of change of name by resolution). PROOF is an optional system intended to provide reassurance against potential fraudulent filing of documents on companies’ public records.
When a company has joined PROOF it can only file certain items online using its unique authentication code. Changes to officers or their details and changes to a registered office address are the other items. All other filing is still carried out by standard Companies House online Webfiling (with the security of the company’s unique authentication code) or other available options. Once a company has opted into PROOF if a paper alternative to a relevant item is filed it will be rejected, unless the company has given previous authority for the paper filing to Companies House. Note PROOF is optional and a company in the PROOF system can opt to leave it and return to standard online and other filing options if it wishes.
Our Bates Wells Company and Charity Secretarial Service can relieve you of dealing with notification of events and changes to Companies House and, for charities, the Charity Commission (an annual fee applies). For details contact [email protected] or call +44(0)20 7551 7748
The Scottish Government has announced that George Walker has been appointed as interim Chair of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). This appointment will be for one year in order to allow the organisation to appoint a permanent replacement for Lindsay Montgomery CBE, who resigned as OSCR Chair in March this year. (See OSCR’s website)
In OSCR’s latest blog, Alison Stone from the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, talks about reputation management after a cyber attack, the tools organisations can use to inform advance thinking and what to do if you do become a victim of a cyber attack.
Stay vs go Whether you’re thinking about disposing of your office, moving to a new location or reconfiguring your existing space, we’ve developed a fixed fee package to help you choose your path with confidence.
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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 June 1, 2021.