Bates Wells Briefing for Charities & Social Enterprises | 28 September

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

Coronavirus – funding

Civil Society Media reports the National Emergencies Trust (NET) has opened a £1.2m match-funding programme for charities financially affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. NET will match the money charities raise through crowdfunding, up to a total of £10,000.


Coronavirus – support for live events

The government’s £800 million insurance scheme has now been launched.  It covers Covid-related cancellation costs for live events, conferences and festivals.  See our Briefing Too little, too late – or a lifeline for live events organisers?


Charity Commission

Evidence to Special Public Bill Committee (Charities Bill)

The Charity Commission has submitted written evidence to the committee responsible for scrutinising the Charities Bill.  In it, the commission states its support for the Bill, emphasising the benefits of the proposed provisions that aim to remove costly administrative burdens whilst keeping appropriate safeguards in place.  The commission welcomes the Bill’s modernising approach to the regulatory framework but anticipates that the new powers given to the Commission will be used sparingly.  The commission states that it has also agreed to take forward six non-legislative recommendations of the Law Commission, as set out in the government’s response to the Law Commission Report. 12 pieces of new or updated trustee guidance will be published to help the public understand and implement the changes, in addition to over 20 new or updated pieces of internal guidance.

New inquiry

The Commission has opened an inquiry into a London church due to significant financial concerns, including a payment of over £900,000 that was given to an individual via unsecured loans.

Charity Fraud Awareness Week

Charities, advisors to the sector and its regulators are being encouraged to take part in Charity Fraud Awareness Week, running from 18-22 October 2021.  The purpose of the week is to raise awareness and help protect charities from fraud and cybercrime.  A new website has been launched by the Charity Commission and the Fraud Advisory panel which is designed to give charities information, advice and practical tools to prevent fraud.


Governance

Action for Trustee Racial Diversity have published ‘From Here to Diversity’, guidance specifically designed to support boards with recruiting Black and Asian charity trustees. The guide, which has been supported by the Co-op Foundation, explores:

  • overcoming the barriers to a more racially diverse board
  • reaching and engaging diverse networks
  • best practice in Black and Asian trustee recruitment
  • inclusion and succession.

The guide can be downloaded for free (pdf).

Trustees Week will kick off on 1 November.


Climate change

Five UK statutory nature agencies (Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, NatureScot, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee) have published a report specifying how the UK can meet its Leaders’ Pledge for Nature commitments to reverse biodiversity decline and become nature positive. The report recommends nine changes that can be delivered by national and local government, landowners, businesses, and others that will help to reverse biodiversity loss.

The Advertising Standards Authority has published a statement setting out three steps it proposes to take in relation to its regulation of green ad claims:  new guidance for advertisers, research into carbon neutral and net zero claims, and carrying out inquiries on specific issues. 


Diversity and inclusion

See above under Governance.

The Advertising Standards Authority is looking for opportunities to partner with a charity whose purpose advances diversity and inclusion goals. Examples of this could include but are not limited to: offering young people from marginalised minority ethnic communities mentoring opportunities or internship/work experience opportunities to gain workplace experience. 


Equality

In a House of Commons debate on 21 September 2021, the government confirmed that it is considering responses to its 2018 consultation on mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting and will respond to the consultation “in due course”.


Data protection

We have previously mentioned a consultation on changes to the data protection regime in the UK.  Bates Wells Michael Charambolous comments “An example of one of the consultation questions we would encourage charities to respond to is question Q2.4.9. which asks “To what extent do you agree that the soft opt-in should be extended to non-commercial organisations?”    The background to this is that currently businesses may generally only contact individuals who have previously been in touch during a sale or transaction, and have not refused or opted out of receiving marketing communications about similar products. This is known as a ‘soft opt-in’. The soft opt-in is currently available to charities that sell products and services but is not available for general fundraising and marketing purposes.  It would be very beneficial for charities if it was extended to these communications as well.  We are considering making our own response to the consultation and would be interested to hear your feedback.”


Fundraising

See above under Coronavirus – events.


Philanthropy

Vodafone Foundation has recently published research focused on equality of access to funding in global philanthropy.  The research investigated why local African Civil Society Organisations find it harder to access global donor funds.  The research highlights the multiple barriers preventing African CSOs from operating at the same scale and capacity as international led NGOs based in-country. It also makes some key recommendations for a framework of engagement among different stakeholders to strengthen local CSOs in Africa. The research findings, together with Vodafone Foundation’s response, have been published on a dedicated microsite, www.raceandphilanthropy.com.


Volunteering

DCMS is inviting applications from grant makers to make use of up to £1.7 million funding to go towards volunteering projects in the arts, culture heritage and sports sector and the community and youth sector.


Company law

Bates Wells has contributed to Policy & Practice for Purposeful Business, an ambitious report by the British Academy.  These new findings, described by the Financial Times as “one of the world’s most ambitious efforts to reform capitalism for the 21st century”, conclude four years of engagement on purposeful business and corporate accountability, setting the agenda for business policy to embrace purpose.  Bates Wells partner, Luke Fletcher, has been at the centre of some of the developments referenced in the report.


Subsidy control (state aid)

The Subsidy Control Bill has had its second reading in the House of Commons.  Charity Tax Group reports it is seeking clarity on the application of the new rules to charities and the extent to which protections from former state aid rules for charity taxes are to be maintained.


Scotland

OSCR is holding a free webinar on transparency and public trust, which will provide information and advice on how charities can improve these factors.  The event runs from 1-2pm on 27 October 2021 and you can register here.


Health

The Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England have jointly published the Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) engagement document: Integrated Care System (ICS) implementation.  An ICP is a joint committee of an Integrated Care Board (ICB) and its partner local authority, which brings together health, social care and public health representatives. The engagement document describes them as a “forum” in this respect, which “will generate an integrated care strategy to improve health and care outcomes and experiences for their populations, for which all partners will be accountable”.

The engagement document is intended to assist for the establishment of ICPs from April 2022 and is aimed at local residents, adult social care providers, health service providers, local authorities and designated ICB chairs and Boards. It sets out a series of “guiding expectations” and establishes practical steps for implementation. A frequently asked questions document accompanies the engagement document.


Social enterprise sector news

See under Company Law.


Social investment and social impact investing news

The importance of comparable data: what our two new dashboards enable us to do. After the launch of two new data dashboards, Social Investment Business reflects on how comparable and transparent data has enabled them to review the diversity and financial resilience of funds, and take action to improve their approach to new funders based on the findings.

Reaching Further, much further. Access – The Foundation for Social Investment – reviews the impact of the Growth Fund, designed to fill a gap in the supply of small scale unsecured loans to the sector, and finds that the ongoing flow of grants is critical to ensure that charities and social enterprises continue to have access to the finance they need.

Good Finance has released an updated Outcomes Matrix, an interactive tool to help organisations plan and measure their social impact, particularly for those considering or actively pursuing social investment. Good Finance explains how the tool works and it’s potential benefits.

Economic Secretary, John Glen MP has responded to written questions from Rachael Maskell MP about what steps the Chancellor of the Exchequer is taking to support the growth of the cooperative and mutual sector, and what assessment the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made of cooperatives and mutuals contribution to the economy.


International development

The Financial Reporting Council has published its response to Part 2 of the International Financial Reporting for Non-Profit Organisations’ (IFR4NPO) consultation on the development of global financial reporting guidance for not-for-profit organisations.  The FRC response identifies alternative treatments it favours for each of the issues raised, reflecting, for the most part, treatments set out in FRS 102.


Education

Schools and colleges

  • Eligible schools and colleges can apply for a grant to benefit for a trained senior mental health lead tasked with identifying those who need support and improving access to specialist services. More teachers and education leaders are also set to benefit from improved guidance on developing good mental health practices, published by the DfE, Public Health England, and the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition.
  • The DfE has begun work on major rebuilding and refurbishment projects in 100 schools across England, under the Prime Minister’s ten-year School Rebuilding Programme, with all new buildings to be net zero carbon in operation. New buildings will be designed to reduce energy consumption and support the UK’s net zero by 2050 target.
  • Schools Week reports that Ministers are considering plans to open mini-university technical colleges (UTCs) within schools. Discussions were held with the DfE this month about the plan.
  • TES reports that students who do not have parental consent but want to receive the Covid vaccine will be diverted to venues away from schools in several areas where anti-vaccination protests have taken place against the rollout of the vaccine to 12- to 15-year-olds.

Further education

  • FE Week reports that the Association of Colleges (AoC) is making its largest ever call for investment in FE. In its submission to Treasury ahead of next month’s spending review and autumn budget, the AoC argues for a 50 per cent increase in total revenue spending on further education and skills.

News items

  • FE Week reports that a training provider is suing the education secretary in the High Court after the firm’s FE loans and apprenticeship contracts were “unconscionably” terminated. This is believed to be the first time a training provider has taken the DfE all the way to court over terminated skills funding contracts.
  • The DfE is investing up to £10 million to create new skills bootcamps to train up to 3,000 more people to become HGV drivers, among a package a measures to ease the risk of shortages of drivers.
  • Schools Week reports that the stand-off between leading tuition providers and the National Tutoring Programme contractor Randstad is set to be resolved. More than two weeks after the flagship £450 million scheme launched, the tuition providers are set to sign up to the programme.
  • FE Week reports that strikes at two colleges have been called off after leadership struck a deal to improve staff pay. But industrial action at 13 other colleges is still set to begin this week after management refused to meet University and College Union demands.

Reviews, consultations and surveys

  • ​The National Association of Head Teachers has responded to the Department for Work and Pensions’ call for evidence on how the Health and Safety Executive manages asbestos, which remains prevalent in schools and other buildings more than 20 years after its use was banned.
  • Schools Week reports Ofsted has been asked by the government to review the effectiveness of its two main Covid catch-up plans – tutoring and teachers’ professional development reforms. Ofsted’s review of tutoring will cover both schools and 16 to 19 provision, and will consider the “overall quality” of tutoring whether it is provided directly or through the National Tutoring Programme.

Upcoming Events

The B-Corp Series: People, Planet, Profit, Purpose
29 September, 1pm

Angela Monaghan, our Purpose and Impact Lead, will explain how to build an efficient and strong company culture that fosters innovation in this B Corp UK event series with Gina Mula, B Leader, and AllBright.
The session gives the opportunity for you to ask inspiring women about their journey towards being a part of, and creating, purpose-driven businesses.

Performance Management in a remote working environment
6 October, 3pm

Performance management processes are rarely straightforward. This session will cover the legal framework and consider the challenges of performance management in a remote working environment. 

Data protection and the challenges and pitfalls of online working
October 20, 3pm

Whilst applications such as Zoom have opened the door to new ways of working and communicating, they also bring new challenges. We’ll explain the issues associated with online working and new modes of communication, plus the steps you can take to minimise risk. 

Employment Update Webinar
November 18, 3pm

Our bi-monthly Employment Update webinar provides practical commentary on case law and legislation developments and will leave you with a host of tips and ideas to help you add value to your role.


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 27, 2021.