Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 6 July

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

Services
Charity
Sectors
Not For Profit
Type
News

Bates Wells Highlights

We’ve just launched a new series of blogs looking at how the Charities Bill will impact different areas, with practical advice on what needs to be actioned now and what needs to be factored into future plans. See here for the first one, which looks at reasons why you may want to fast track any planned changes to objects of charitable companies or CIOs. 


At a glance

The Charity Commission has updated its coronavirus guidance for the sector.

The Wellcome trust has announced that it will make its investment portfolio carbon net zero before 2050.

The Fundraising Regulator has published two new pieces of guidance setting out what it expects fundraisers to do to meet the four values which underpin the code’s standards: legal, open, honest and respectful.

A new Subsidy Control Bill was introduced to Parliament last week.


Coronavirus – government support for the sector

The Ministry of Justice has announced an additional £2 million is being invested in the Community Justice Fund, which supports more than 70 not-for-profit organisations providing legal help to those who have lost their job, been caught in rent arrears, or built up debt as a result of Covid-19.

Museums, galleries and heritage organisations have been awarded £60 million – this includes support for 100 projects carrying out essential maintenance works delayed by the pandemic. Funding has also been awarded to public bodies to help their efforts to hit net-zero targets. Decarbonisation projects which include upgrading lighting to LED systems, insulating roofs and enhancing glazing have been funded at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, the National Gallery, the Natural History Museum and Science Museum Group sites in Manchester and York.

Civil Society Media has drawn out some key themes from charity submissions to a parliamentary inquiry into the support the sector received from government during the pandemic.


Charities Bill

You may have read about the proposed new Charities Bill and wondered what the implications are for your charity. We’ve just launched a new series of blogs looking at how the bill will impact different areas, with practical advice on what needs to be actioned now and what needs to be factored into future plans. The first one can be found here: The Charities Bill, explained: amending a corporate charity’s constitution

A separate Charities Bill, covering different content, has been introduced in Northern Ireland – see more in our NI section below.


Brexit/regulation of professionals

Our Brexit Briefing  has been updated to reflect the recent EU data privacy adequacy decision and the expiry of the deadline to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme. 

The government has announced a new pilot grant funding programme that will provide targeted support to UK professional and business services regulators to make recognition arrangements on professional qualifications. The announcement follows the introduction of the Professional Qualifications Bill to Parliament.


Charity Commission

Coronavirus guidance

The commission has updated its coronavirus guidance for the charity sector.

The ‘AGMs and other meetings: postponing or cancelling meetings’ section sets out a new approach by the commission to annual return filing extensions. It says that as restrictions are gradually eased, the commission will be contacting all charities with a filing extension that was in place by 30 June 2021 and that these charities will need to meet their filing commitments by 30 September 2021. From 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021, if you have an imminent filing date and you are unable to meet your filing obligation for a Covid-19 related reason, you can still apply for a new filing extension. The commission will allow a fixed 3-month extension from the date of your application.

The content on charity meetings has also been updated to reflect the position from 21 June and the section on insolvency help for charitable companies and charitable incorporated organisations has been updated with revised deadlines.

2021 Charity Annual Returns

The Charity Commission has highlighted charities need to provide the 2021 information requirements on their charity annual returns (including information from their most recent annual accounts). The specific questions that must be answered depend on the charity’s financial size and activities, a list is available on the Commission’s website. A copy of the accounts and trustees’ annual report must be filed with the return if the charity is a CIO of any size or a non-CIO with income under £25,000. The Commission has also reminded charities they should now normally meet the deadline of ten months from the end of the financial year, as many of the previous pandemic restrictions have been eased. In exceptional cases where it is impossible to meet an imminent deadline directly because of Covid-19 reasons, a charity may apply to the Commission for a fixed three month extension. Our company and charity secretarial team are able to assist clients in preparing and filing the return and meeting other reporting and records requirements, contact us to discuss your needs [email protected] +44(0)20 7551 7748

SORP

Civil Society is reporting that the UK’s three charity regulators are calling for the charity accounting rules to be simplified. This article links to a joint letter from the regulators to the FRC from May this year saying that the regulators were likely to request further “wholesale changes” to accounting rules in the future.

Faith charity webinar

The commission is continuing its programme of free webinars for faith charities, with a webinar on financial management this Wednesday at 12 noon.


Tax and VAT

Bates Wells’ Bill Lewis has summarised the recent Royal Opera House case where the Court of Appeal agreed that theatrical production costs do not have a link to taxable catering supplies.


Climate Change

See above under Coronavirus – government support for the sector, for details of funding for decarbonisation projects.

Driving down carbon emissions: our net zero strategy for our investment portfolio. The Wellcome trust has announced that it will make its investment portfolio carbon net zero before 2050. The charity will work with asset managers and the companies in which it already invests in order to achieve this goal. For more, Civil Society Media provides commentary on the announcement.

If you missed last week’s ESELA webinar “Delivering on Net Zero: The Role of the In-House Lawyer”, you can access the slides here and the recording here (90 mins).

Also see under Environment below.


Data Protection

As mentioned last week, the European Commission has adopted the two UK adequacy decisions under the General Data Protection Regulation ((EU) 2016/679) and the Law Enforcement Directive. This means that personal data can now flow freely from the EU to the UK as the UK offers an “adequate” level of protection to personal data. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has updated its guidance to confirm the decisions.   The decisions include sunset clauses that limit the decisions to four years, after which they will be reviewed.  The Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, has welcomed the decisions as a positive result for UK businesses and organisations and a testament to the strength of the UK’s data protection regime, noting that “adequacy is the best outcome as it means organisations can carry on with data protection as usual”.


Fundraising

Code of Fundraising Practice

The Fundraising Regulator has published two new pieces of guidance setting out what it expects fundraisers to do to meet the four values which underpin the code’s standards: legal, open, honest and respectful.
“Key behaviours expected of fundraisers” is aimed at fundraisers. The FR says “This guidance neither replaces nor supersedes the code, and it is not intended to act as a substitute for the code itself.”
“Key behaviours you should expect from fundraisers” is aimed at members of the public.

There’s also this accompanying blog.


Education

Schools

Following its recent review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges, Ofsted has confirmed that inspectors will assess how schools and colleges confront and prevent sexual harassment and abuse and has published updated education inspection handbooks.

Also on this topic, the PSHE Association has produced guidance which supports schools to help them review, develop and improve their approaches to preventing and responding to peer-to-peer sexual harassment and violence.

A consultation has been opened by the government calling for evidence from teachers, parents and other staff on managing disruptive behaviour in class, including the use of mobile phones.  The deadline for response is 10 August 2021 and the consultation can be found here.

The latest ESFA update on academies can be found here.

The DfE has provided more details on the school-led tutoring fund, which Schools Week has summarised here.

With the latest sharp increase in absences related to coronavirus in schools, the education secretary has said that he is working to ‘relax Covid measures in schools’.  This comes after news that schools will have to return to on-site Covid testing at the start of the autumn term.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has recommended in a new report that the use of restraint in schools should be monitored, recorded and analysed on par with exclusions.

Further Education

The latest ESFA update on further education can be found here. Sixty-four providers of apprenticeship trainings, including several major retailers, have made unplanned exits from the publicly funded provision, citing the cost of training as reason for their leaving.


Health

The government has pledged £2.45 million to improve childbirth care.


Social investment and social impact investing

See above under Climate change. 

Bethnal Green Ventures joins Connected Asset Management. B Corp tech-for-good VC business, Bethnal Green Ventures, has announced its acquisition by impact-focused investment management firm and fellow B Corp, Connected Asset Management, which works to help pension funds engage with impact investing.

Beyond warm glow: why early-stage social ventures need more impact-first finance. Dr Markus Freiburg, co-founder and managing partner of FASE, and Christina Moehrle, a freelance communications advisor, author and creator of education programmes, write for Pioneers Post about the need for more impact-first investors and funding, and the promise of the European Social Innovation and Impact Fund.

Big Society Capital (BSC) has published two new reports, below, and BSC Investment Director, Drew Richie, provides summary explanation of the publications and their background:

Towards an approach to impact reporting for investments in social and affordable housing is a new report from Big Society Capital based on its work with The Good Economy on housing investment funds, setting out ‘rules of the game’ to help shape an inclusive housing market that provides safe and affordable homes. The stated purpose of the framework presented in the report is to “identify and characterise the opportunities for impact additionality that emerge in partnerships between housing investment funds and housing providers, and to then report on that impact in a consistent and transparent way”.

Affordable housing equity investment models: Optimising risk, return and impact: Insight brief looks specifically at equity investment models from a risk, return and impact perspective, with the stated aim of building a shared market understanding and knowledge of these new and emerging financing models for affordable housing.


Environment

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced that its Farming in Protected Landscapes programme is to offer funding to farmers and land managers in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), National Parks and the Broads to support nature recovery, mitigate the impacts of climate change, provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and its cultural heritage, and support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses. The programme is to run from July 2021 to March 2024, and is open to all farmers and land managers within an AONB or National Park in England, or the Broads from the public, private and charity sectors.

The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) has announced that it has launched on an interim basis before the delayed Royal Assent of the Environment Bill 2021-22, which is now expected in autumn 2021.  The OEP is being established under the Environment Bill as a new independent environmental watchdog to provide a domestic replacement for the scrutiny function of the European Commission and the European Environment Agency.

On 21 June 2021, the Private Members’ Bill, Green Belt (Protection) Bill 2021-22, was introduced to Parliament.  The Bill seeks to:

•           Establish a national register of green belt land in England.

•           Restrict the ability of local authorities to de-designate green belt land.

•           Make provision about future development of de-designated green belt land.


Probation services

The government has announced a “new, unified Probation Service”. More than 7,000 staff from private sector Community Rehabilitation Companies will come together with 3,500 probation officers already in the public sector in the new Probation Service.


Public procurement

See here for the government’s press release about the new Subsidy Control Bill introduced to Parliament last week.  Government says the new system “will start from the basis that subsidies are permitted if they follow UK-wide principles – delivering good value for the British taxpayer while being awarded in a timely and effective way. These UK-wide principles will allow public authorities to deliver subsidies where they are needed without facing excessive red tape.”  Also see here for links to:

  1. Bill documents
  2. Policy papers
  3. Consultations
  4. Guidance

New procurement guidance has been published as follows:

  • guidance Procurement Policy Note 01/17: Update to Transparency Principles (PPN 01/17) which applies to all central government departments, their executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies (in-scope organisations) which are required to engage in early discussions with suppliers, in advance of any contract award, with a view to agreeing the types of procurement and contracts information which can be disclosed to the public, and then to ensure publication of that information in an accessible format.
  • guidance Procurement Policy Note: update to legal and policy requirements to publish procurement information on Contracts Finder (PPN 07/21).  This consolidated guidance reminds public bodies of the requirements to publish information about opportunities and awards over certain low value thresholds on Contracts Finder (CF). The guidance applies with immediate effect and incorporates additional policy requirements for central government to publish procurement and contract documents. 

Online platform content

In addition to introducing the Online Safety Bill to Parliament, the government has published two collections of guidance to help online businesses protect children and other users.  

  • The safety by design collection is intended to help businesses design online platforms in a way that will protect their users from online harms and comply with forthcoming online safety legislation. The guidance explains online harms, how to report them and the responsibilities for the owner or manager of an online platform. It sets out practical steps to improve a platform’s safety and prepare for the forthcoming Online Safety Bill.   There is also specific guidance for particular types of platforms (for example, live streaming) and platform features (for example, search and user accounts).
  • The child safety “one stop shop” collection contains guidance summarising key measures to protect children. The collection contains guidance on data protection and privacy, age-appropriate content, positive user interactions and protecting children from online sexual exploitation and abuse.

Real estate

From 1 July 2021, under the revised Draft Code of Practice on right to rent, the Right to Rent scheme will also apply to EEA and Swiss citizens who will be required to demonstrate that they have the right to lawfully reside in the UK. We summarise the key changes to the Scheme and explain how to carry out a check here.


Scotland

OSCR has uploaded a video to its website of a recent webinar for Scottish charities on updating your governing document.


Northern Ireland

NI Charities Bill

NICVA reports on 21 June 2021, the Minister for Communities introduced the Charities Bill to the Assembly.  The Charities Bill relates to the decision-making powers of Charity Commission staff and it explicitly lays out powers of delegation to the staff.  The Bill also introduces the groundwork for the introduction of a charity registration threshold, however this is subject to further investigation, consultation and regulation.  The Bill is being taken forward in parallel with the independent review of charity regulation and the role of the charity regulator, which plans to report in the Autumn. 


You might also be interested in…

Employment Update Webinar – Thursday 15 July, 3pm

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.

Return to the Office webinar seriesnext instalment 10 August, 3pm

How has your organisation been dealing with plans to return to the office? Our new free employment webinar series includes topics such as remote performance management; a guide to long covid for HR professionals; and data protection and the challenges of online working, among others. Watch the recording of last week’s session, Flexible working requests – what does the law require and what does the future hold?


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 July 5, 2021.