Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 15 September

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

Coronavirus – Insurance for live events

DCMS has published details of its new Live Events Reinsurance Scheme, aimed at supporting live events, such as music festivals, conferences and business events, that are at risk of being halted or delayed due to an inability to obtain Covid-19 cancellation insurance. An Outline of scheme rules has been published and full rules are to follow in due course.

Coronavirus – employee issues

Last week the government launched a consultation on mandating vaccination for frontline health and social care staff in England.  The consultation closes on 22nd October.

See here for a recording of our recent webinar: ‘Long Covid’ – an emergent health crisis: a practical guide for HR professionals’. 

Coronavirus – insolvency

The restrictions on statutory demands and winding-up petitions under the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (CIGA 2020) that expire on 30 September 2021 are not being extended but are being replaced with more limited restrictions for winding-up petitions presented between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022. The main implications are that during this period:

  • a creditor may not present a winding-up petition in respect of commercial rent that is unpaid because of a financial effect of coronavirus.
  • a creditor may not present a winding-up petition if it is for a debt or debts totalling less than £10,000.
  • a creditor will again be able to rely on non-payment of a statutory demand to evidence a debtor’s inability to pay their debts provided the other conditions are met.

For more see The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (Coronavirus) (Amendment of Schedule 10) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/1029) and explanatory memorandum.


Charities Bill

On Wednesday last week the Special Public Bill Committee in the House of Lords issued a call for evidence on the Bill.  The deadline for responses was this Monday 13 September. 


Charity Commission

Charity Commission Chair

With the process for recruiting a new Charity Commission chair underway, the Culture Secretary has written an article stating that the new leader should ‘restore charities’ focus to their central purpose and empower Trustees to be robust’.

Webinar – working internationally

The Charity Commission is holding a free webinar on Wednesday 29 September on holding, moving and receiving funds safely when working internationally. You can sign up here.


Sector General

The Chancellor has launched a spending and budget review which will set out the plan for public spending over the next three years. The review will conclude on 27 October 2021. Representations may be submitted online until 5 pm on 30 September.

New changes to pension regulations could impact charities when they are expected to come into force in 2022.  Charity Finance Group has urged charities to take action soon to avoid the potential pitfalls.


Climate change

The House of Lords has passed three amendments to the Environment Bill 2021-22 – one requires the government to make a formal declaration of a domestic and global biodiversity and climate emergency. The other amendments relate to soil health and air quality.


The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has updated its factsheets on provisions in the Environment Bill 2021-22 relating to:
• Environmental governance.
• Waste and resource efficiency.
• Air quality.
• Water; and
• Nature and conservation covenants.

The government has announced that its renewable energy support scheme will be backed by an additional £265 million, with details on how the UK will get more electricity from renewable sources.


Safeguarding

See under Faith based organisations below.


Equality

A joint report has been issued in response to a super-complaint made by the Centre for Women’s Justice about police failures to use protective measures available to them in cases involving violence against women and girls.


Data protection

The government has issued a consultation on reform of data protection.  Proposals include tougher penalties for nuisance calls and text messages, and extending soft opt-in for marketing consents to organisations other than businesses. The consultation closes on 19th November.

The Information Commissioner has issued this statement in response to the consultation.

Next Information Commissioner

The press are reporting John Edwardes (currently NZ Information Commissioner) has been approved to replace Elizabeth Denham. 


Fundraising

Fundraising Regulator

The FR has published its 2021/22 business plan

It has also started the collection of the Fundraising Levy 2021/22.


Company law

The Home Office has announced that the UK has signed a declaration of national commitment to meet the Beneficial Ownership Transparency Disclosure Principles.  These include publishing company beneficial ownership data that is freely downloadable and searchable by the public and a range of best practice measures in beneficial ownership transparency. 


Scotland

OSCR has announced that it has contacted eight charitable trusts that appear to be dormant in an effort to support them to use their funds for public benefit.  This is part of a wider project, with around 250 trusts identified as meeting the criteria for similar support.

OSCR has announced an investigation into the use of funds at the Prince’s Foundation; the charity is facing accusations in the media of improperly securing honours in return for donations and accepting funds from unethical sources.

OSCR is holding a free webinar on 23 September, hosted by members of the board and OSCR staff.  There will be opportunities to ask questions about the regulator’s activities. Register here.


Armed forces charities

Armed Forces charities will receive £5 million in additional funding to support those who have served, with help going to projects supporting mental health and Afghan refugees with military links.


Health

As you will have seen in the press, last week the government announced an increase, of 1.25%, in the rates of dividend tax and in the rates of some National Insurance contributions (NICs). NIC rates will return to current levels in April 2023 when a new health and social care levy will be introduced.

The rate increase will be legislated for in the Finance Bill 2022, with the levy enacted by a Health and Social Care Levy Bill whose first reading is scheduled for 8 September 2021.

The government has also published a policy paper that includes a plan for adult social care in England. This contains a commitment to develop and publish a White Paper for reforming adult social care and ensuring local authorities have access to sustainable funding for core budgets at the Spending Review. The government will also introduce a cap on personal care costs, provide financial assistance to those without substantial assets, and improve the integration of health and social care systems.

Are you in the adult social care sector? Bates Wells Aisha Choudhry explains here how to have your say on the impact of the end of free movement.

This is a really interesting Briefing from the King’s Fund looking at health inequalities across four main categories: socio-economic factors (for example, income); geography (for example, region); specific characteristics (for example, ethnicity or sexuality) and socially excluded groups (people who are asylum seekers or experiencing homeless).


Social enterprise sector news

Certification and social enterprise wages. With the expectation that social enterprises go above and beyond on wages, by virtue of their model, Social Enterprise Mark considers the issues and questions that face the industry when it comes to employees’ wages.

A group of Yorkshire organisations have published a joint report “The Structure, Dynamics and Impact of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector” that highlights the contribution made by charities, social enterprises, and community organisations to the economy and the health and well-being of people in the region (landing page/press release). Civil Society media provides commentary on the report.

Social investment and social impact investing news

Social Investment Tax Relief: Still raising investment for impact. Big Society Capital reviews how the extension of Social Investment Tax Relief until 2023 poses opportunities for social enterprises and charities looking to raise patient capital.

Carbon-capture project receives Scottish Catalyst Fund’s first investment. Pioneers Post reports that Sustainable Thinking Scotland has become the first investee of the Catalyst Fund financed by the Scottish government, securing a £190,000 loan which it will use to develop a carbon-capture project.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking has published a report, “Scale Up to Level Up”, that reviews the key issues faced by SMEs and alternative finance providers as a result of the current system and the broader impacts this has on the UK and regional economies. Responsible Finance provides commentary on the report, discussing the finding that local finance is needed to fill the funding gap to make levelling-up a reality.


Sport

The Environment Agency is releasing new guidance encouraging the sports industry to kick plastics out of sport.


International development

The UK has pledged £3.1 million in aid to support pre-emptive action ahead of humanitarian disasters, rather than providing aid reactively after disasters have taken place.  


Faith based organisations

Faith-based organisations will be able to bid for a share of a new £1 million fund launched by the government to support community projects.

The Independent Inquiry into Sexual Abuse has published its Investigation report into Child protection in religious organisations and settings. The Inquiry obtained evidence from 38 religious organisations with a presence in England and Wales.  The report concludes child sexual abuse has been found in most major UK religions, with some found to have no child protection policies in place at all.  The report also finds that organisational and cultural barriers to reporting child sexual abuse within religious organisations and settings are numerous, varied and difficult to overcome. These include victim-blaming, an absence of discussion around sex and sexuality, and discouraging external reporting, thus prioritising the organisation’s reputation above the needs of victims of sexual abuse. The report makes two recommendations: 

  • that all religious organisations should have a child protection policy and supporting procedures; and 
  • that the government should legislate to amend the definition of full-time education to bring any setting that is the pupil’s primary place of education within the scope of a registered school, and provide Ofsted with sufficient powers to examine the quality of child protection when undertaking inspection of suspected unregistered schools.

Rehabilitation of offenders

Ofsted and HM Inspectorate of Prisons are launching a review of how education is delivered in prisons with a view to improving the education standard. This article discusses the progress made since Dame Sally Coates’ independent review of education in prisons was published five years ago and how the quality of prison education has decreased during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Education

See above under Faith based organisations.

Early years

  • The government is providing funding for staff training to help 2 to 4-year-olds with language and mathematic skills. The £10 million extension of the early years professional development programme is part of the government’s efforts to narrow the attainment gap in the early years, aimed at levelling up outcomes for children, particularly the most disadvantaged in that age range.

Schools and further education

The DfE has issued:

  • a policy paper on the National Tutoring Programme, a scheme to provide support for pupils and students most affected by disruption to their education as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The paper provides information about subsidised tutoring to help pupils catch up on missed learning.
  • guidance on teaching school hubs. The teaching school hub programme will create a network of 87 centres of excellence for teacher training and development, focused on some of the best schools and multi-academy trusts in the country.
  • guidance on behaviour hubs, a programme which will enable schools with exemplary behaviour to work with other schools to improve their behaviour culture. The 3-year programme funded by the DfE pairs schools and multi-academy trusts with exemplary behaviour practices with partner schools or trusts who want and need to improve pupil behaviour.

Schools Week reports on SchoolsCompany Trust, an academy trust being funded by the government to take legal action against its former trustees to recover up to £2.8 million of “lost public funds”.

Schools Week has reported that Ofsted will no longer notify local authorities of provisional inadequate judgements of their maintained schools and academies. Local authorities have the overarching responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children and young people in their area. Instead, the local authority will continue to receive notification of the inadequate outcome “only when the final judgement has been made”.

Schools Week has reported that Ofqual has stated that a decision on how exams will be graded in 2022 will be announced in October. But the outcome of a consultation in July on modifications to assessments next year is still potentially weeks away – the modifications are aimed at making them fairer to pupils who have missed out on parts of their education, including a choice of topics for some GCSEs and advance information about content in most subjects.


Higher education

Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, spoke at the Universities UK Annual Conference, about access targets at universities with poor student outcomes as well as driving up standards in higher education. The DfE will shortly be appointing a new Director of Fair Access and Participation to the Office for Students so the access regime is “re-centred on the principles of equality of opportunity and high standards, and to see higher education providers working in partnership with schools to drive up attainment”.


Housing

The Regulator of Social housing has published its annual social housing consumer regulation review.


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 September 14, 2021.