Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 3 August

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

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Bates Wells Highlights

In The Charities Bill, explained: key changes to the rules relating to charity land, our real estate team looks at two of the proposed changes to the rules on disposals of charity land which could save charities time and money when disposing of property.  

Our regular readers may  notice a different order to our topics this week. We’ve moved all specialist content towards the end so it’s quicker to find content that’s more generally relevant. Any feedback would be very welcome. 

At a glance

The Charity Commission has updated its general guidance for trustees of faith based charities. 

The Chartered Institute of Fundraising has updated its “Treating Donors Fairly” guidance. 

The Chartered Institute of Governance (ICSA) has published “The 12 elements of independent judgement for a UK Board: A guide for directors”.

The government has issued a call for evidence in relation to its International Development Strategy.

Coronavirus and data protection regulation

The Information Commissioner’s Office has updated the document setting out its regulatory approach during the pandemic, and has published a blog “Regulating through a pandemic and beyond”.   There’s a raised expectation for organisations to get to grips with reducing any backlogs of complaints received from members of the public relating to their information rights, within a reasonable period of time. The ICO also expects to see robust action plans in place where backlogs need clearing.

Coronavirus and contracts

In our updated Briefing, Coronavirus and contractual obligations, we explore the most common issues and challenges to think about when there are obligations to perform under a contract, with particular focus on force majeure and frustration.

Charities Bill

In The Charities Bill, explained: key changes to the rules relating to charity land, our real estate team looks at two of the proposed changes to the rules on disposals of charity land which could save charities time and money when disposing of property – the extension of the list of professionals who can advise on disposals of charity land and the simplification of the requirements for the advice that must be obtained. If you have any questions how this might affect your charity’s plans, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Charity Finance Group has joined with other sector partners to produce a briefing paper for peers on the Bill.

Charity Commission

Faith charities guidance

The commission has updated its guidance previously called ‘Faith in good governance’ to make it easier to find information. The guidance is now called ‘Managing faith charities as trustees’.

Response to audit and corporate governance consultation

The Charity Commission has published its response to this BEIS consultation on restoring trust in audit and corporate governance. In its response, the commission states that it would not recommend that charities be included within the definition of Public Interest Entities which are proposed to be subject to a new corporate reporting and audit framework. The commission says that it supports the government’s objective to improve the UK’s audit and corporate governance framework. However, in terms of the charitable sector the commission’s position is that it does not support extending a framework designed with the interests of shareholders and for-profit commerce in mind to the charity sector where these imperatives simply do not apply.


The Chartered Institute of Governance (ICSA) has published “The 12 elements of independent judgement for a UK board: A guide for directors”.

IVAR has published reflections from two sector leaders about what it is like to lead through “this period of prolonged upheaval”. 

Climate change/green economy

See under Subsidy control below.

Diversity and inclusion

See above under Coronavirus and the regulators.

Children’s data

The ICO has published a blog “Spotlight on the Children’s Code standards – best interests of the child, detrimental use of children’s data and data minimisation”.    All the major social media and online services used by children in the UK will need to conform to the code when it comes into full effect from 2 September 2021. For background to the Children’s Code, see our Briefing here

Data processor and controller

The European Data Protection Board has published Guidelines 07/2020 on the concepts of controller and processor in the GDPR.

Information and records management

DCMS has issued updated guidance on public authorities’ information and records management.  The new Code of Practice on the management of records issued under section 46 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 replaces the Lord Chancellor’s Code of Practice on the management of records issued under section 46 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  A significant change from the previous version of the Code is a prescribed list of responsibilities of an authority’s designated information manager (Annex C), which supports the Code’s guidance on governance and organisational capability.


The Chartered Institute of Fundraising has updated its Treating Donors Fairly guidance.  Bates Wells senior associate Hannah Lyons contributed to the redraft.

Lotteries and free prize draws

The Fundraising Regulator has published this blog “Leaving nothing to chance: what you need to know about lottery, free draw and prize competition fundraising”.  We will be holding a webinar on lotteries and free prize draws and competitions later in the year and will publicise the date in due course.

Please email [email protected] to register your interest.

Subsidy Control (replacing EU state aid)

Our latest briefing Subsidy Control: the next chapter will be of interest to any organisations receiving public subsidies like direct grants, loans or guarantees. In analysing the Subsidy Control Bill, it sets out the key changes to the subsidy control regime, which in the UK effectively replaced the EU state aid framework that had applied pre-Brexit. Remember that our team are here to help if you need help navigating the new regime.

The EU has extended the General Block Exemption Regulation to allow national funds to be combined with certain EU programmes to support twin transition to a green and digital economy.  Bates Wells’ associate Suhan Rajkumar comments “Much EU state funding for the ‘green economy’ – including for energy efficiency projects and charging infrastructure for electric cars – will now effectively be permitted under the EU’s state aid regime. The UK Government also has ambitious plans for a Green Industrial Revolution, but it remains to be seen whether our own subsidy control regime will include similar exceptions and safe harbours aimed at facilitating the green transition.”


OSCR is reminding Scottish charities to submit their annual information on time.

Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Assembly has published a consultation and call for evidence re the Charities Bill.  The Assembly proposes:

  • an amendment to the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 with retrospective effect to render lawful the previous decisions made by Commission staff.   There will be fresh appeal rights for those orders made lawful and a “carve out” for other decisions to remain unlawful to allow them to proceed to their natural conclusion, by way of the courts, if necessary.
  • a power to introduce a registration threshold via subordinate legislation, which would exempt any charity falling below that threshold from registering with the Charity Commission and being subject to the Charities (Accounts and Reports) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015.

Comments by 3 September 2021.

CCNI has published a quarterly update on SORP.


See above under Coronavirus – government regulations, and under Crime below.

The government has appointed Dame Carol Black as an independent advisor on drug misuse and will publish a new drug strategy later this year.


Measures in the government’s new Beating Crime Plan include:

  • investing over £45m in specialist support in both mainstream schools and Alternative Provision – including mental health professionals, family workers, and speech and language therapists – in serious violence hotspots to support young people at risk of involvement in violence to re-engage in education; and
  • a new £17m package for Violence Reduction Units to provide high-intensity therapeutic and specialist support from trained youth workers, including at crisis points such as when a young person is being admitted to A&E with a knife injury or upon arrest, to divert them away from violence.

Social investment and social impact investing

Why battle for blended finance is top of Access Foundation’s to-do list. Pioneers Post analyses the role that the Access Foundation has played in demonstrating the utility of blended finance, particularly for small and medium sized social enterprises and charities, and the policy development that the set up of the foundation represents.

Giles Bristow: Ashden’s Fair Cooling Fund shows how charities, businesses and others can work together for social impact. Writing for Civil Society Media, Giles Bristow (Director of Programmes at Ashden – a climate solutions charity) explains how grants of up to $100,000 have been used to tackle the cooling crises through co-development of sustainable solutions, describing the process of ‘co-development’ use in the project to help organisations develop and scale their solutions.  

Social enterprise sector news

The Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies has published its Annual Report for 2020 to 2021, providing an overview of CIC registrations, dissolutions and complaints during the period, as well as information about the Regulator’s financial position and some case studies on CICs currently operating.  

International development

The government has issued a call for evidence in relation to its International Development Strategy which is due to be published later this year. Questions in the call for evidence include:

  • How might progress on international development to 2030 be impacted by the trends identified in the Integrated Review? How should the UK respond?
  • What could success in 2030 look like in terms of meeting the needs of the poorest and most marginalised and increasing opportunities for countries to become self-sustaining?
  • How and where can wider UK government international policy and activity best support long-term international development outcomes?
  • In what area of international development does the UK have comparative advantage, particular interests, or is best placed to deliver?

Submissions can be made by completing the call for evidence form and emailing it to [email protected] by Monday 6 September 2021. Early responses are encouraged. Government says this call for evidence forms part of “wider engagement with stakeholders on the Strategy”. 


Volunteering Matters and NCVO have been working in partnership to explore the potential role of a national volunteer passporting scheme. This Briefing summarises emerging findings and evidence from this work.

Human Rights

See under Local authorities above.

Protocol no. 15 to the European Convention on Human Rights came into force on 1 August 2021.  See this summary.



Government reports nearly three quarters of eligible mainstream secondary schools across England have signed up to host a summer school.

An Ofqual report into the grading gaps between centre assessment grades and calculated grades during summer 2020 examinations has found that students from poorer families were not disadvantaged by the approach.  Schools Week analyses the report here.

The DfE has announced that state school pupils will have the opportunity to learn Latin through the £4 million Latin Excellence Programme.

Findings from the government’s research into school and trust governance during the pandemic has been published.

Ofqual has updated its General Qualifications Alternative Awarding Framework  with new rules for the autumn 2021 exam series.

The latest ESFA update for academies can be found here.

Also see above under Crime.

Further Education

Changes have been announced that mean the ESFA will be able to be more proactive in supporting colleges that are facing financial challenges.

The latest ESFA update for further education can be found here.

Higher Education

The Student Loans Company has urged students in Clearing to apply for student finance now, even if they are unsure of their institution or course.

The Office for Students has published further information on the grants being provided to universities and colleges across England.  

You might also be interested in…

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 the previous 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 August 2, 2021.