Bates Wells highlights

The government has announced that a new Impact Investing Institute will be created, which will work to make it easier for people to invest their money to benefit communities and society.

This round-up covers the two week period from 20th May.


At a glance

The Charity Commission has published a transcript of a speech by Chair Baroness Stowell outlining why “charities need to change to fulfill their much needed potential”.

Social Enterprise UK has published a new report “Front and Centre – Putting Social Value at the Heart of Inclusive Growth”.

The Augar report reviewing post-18 education and funding has been published.

New measures have been announced by the Department of Health and Social Care to improve care for people with autism and learning disabilities.

The Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has published a blog about GDPR one year on.


Charity Commission

Baroness Stowell speech at Charity2020

The Commission has published a transcript of a speech by Chair Baroness Stowell at a Charity 2020 event on 29 May. The speech touches on similar themes to those we have seen Baroness Stowell cover in previous speeches, particularly since the commission’s new strategy was announced:

  • The role of charity in society
  • Public expectations of charity – Baroness Stowell says there is evidence of a growing gap between what the public expects of charities and the attitude and behaviour the public see in some charities as institutions
  • Charities should be well run and governed – and also live their values, hold themselves to a high standard of ethical behaviour, and “demonstrate charitable behaviour and attitude”
  • The commission’s role in intervening in specific charities is for the benefit of the sector as a whole
  • The commission will highlight excellence in charities as well as speaking out when they do not meet the public’s expectations

IM appointment

The Commission has announced that it has appointed an Interim Manager (IM) to Bhaarat Welfare Trust (1077821), a Leicester based grant-making charity with objects to promote the Hindu culture and religion. The Commission opened a statutory inquiry into the charity in January 2017 to examine serious concerns over the financial management of the charity, including the trustees’ failure to evidence a significant amount of charitable expenditure overseas. The commission says that the appointment was made due to continued concerns over the financial management of the charity. The IM has the powers and duties of the trustees of the charity, to the exclusion of the charity’s trustees. The IM’s tasks will include reviewing the charity’s financial controls and overseas payments, in particular evidence of how the funds were applied, and securing charity property by taking control of the charity’s assets.


Whistleblowing

Commission CEO, Helen Stephenson has posted a blog called “Charity Whistleblowers: how and why we value them”. The blog announces the launch of a new advice line for charity whistleblowers created by the commission (with funding from DCMS) but operated independently by the specialist whistleblowing charity Protect. The Commission’s guidance on whistleblowing has been updated to include the phone number for the confidential advice line for whistleblowers in the section 'Get independent advice'.


Tax and VAT

Civil Society Media reported last week that HM Revenue and Customs has written to charities stating that they must pay a standard VAT rate for social media advertising. Bates Wells’ tax expert Bill Lewis covered this and other VAT anomalies in an article published earlier this year.


Governance

NCVO has added some template schemes of delegation to its knowhow for members. They are based on three different approaches to developing a scheme of delegation.


Brexit

Charity General

NCVO have published an opinion piece on what will change (or won’t) within the charity sector following the appointment of a new Prime Minister – including a warning not to “expect there to be space for non-Brexit policy issues”.

Shared Prosperity Fund

Last month MPs debated the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) in Westminster Hall on 14 May. The lack of clarity of funding post-Brexit for charities was referenced throughout the debate, particularly in relation to how the UKSPF will address social inequalities.

Education

The Department for Education has extended financial support for EU students for another year. Chris Skidmore, the universities minister, told a meeting of ministers in Brussels that EU students would continue to be funded on the same basis as students in England for undergraduate and postgraduate courses starting in the 2020-21 academic year. The Scottish government has already announced such a continuing status for EU students in 2020. The full statement can be read here.

Health and Social Care

The NHS Confederation have updated their Brexit resources page with their recent responses to the UK Government Inquiries on Brexit, including submissions on the impact of a no deal exit, and the various mechanics of Brexit, on the health and social care sectors.

The Pharmaceutical Journal has released an article concerning the DHSC requesting pharmaceutical companies to keep their six-week medicine stockpile in place and on hold until further notice.

Environment

Business Green reports that the IEMA, together with a number of other organisations including charities, has published a report demanding that the Government provide “a long-term framework and policy certainty to enable both the public and private sectors to confidently invest in a sustainable economy”, in the forthcoming Environment Act (designed to establish a domestic legal framework for environmental protection following Brexit).

Withdrawal Agreement

The Institute for Government have published a useful guide on understanding The Withdrawal Agreement Bill.


General

This is an interesting blog for NCVO by a member of the Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) which provides the government with external, independent scrutiny of new regulatory and deregulatory proposals. The author, Laura Cox, leads on the RPC’s engagement with charities and voluntary organisations. She says “Interested parties can contact us at regulatoryenquiries@rpc.gov.uk to arrange a meeting with our stakeholder engagement team, or to find out more about what we do. We also would welcome being side-copied into your consultation responses, and being contacted on an ad hoc basis if you would like to raise concerns regarding specific regulatory policies that will directly affect your organisation.”


Data protection

GDPR

See here for a blog by Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner, about GDPR one year on.

See under Fundraising, Trends in Giving below.


Fundraising

Legacies

STEP reports the Chief Executive of the HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS), Susan Acland-Hood, has reassured charities that an 'interim arrangement' will be set up to run HMCTS's Wills Notification Service when the existing Smee & Ford contract ends in July.

Trends in giving

NCVO has commented on the latest edition of CAF’s UK giving report, looking at giving behaviour in the UK. The report suggests that the proportion of adults giving to charity has fallen from 69% of the population to 65% in three years. Some have been quick to suggest the drop is linked to a decline in public trust in charities. NCVO believes, however, that other factors shouldn’t be overlooked, such as the implementation of GDPR and changes in ways people support good causes.


Grants

This new blog, from NPC's Cristina Andreatta, takes a look at three ways in which “funders can wield their power well”.


Philanthropy

See here for an article “Philanthropy and Islam”, published by Philanthropy Impact.


Children's services

A new £15m government programme, Supporting Families; Investing in Practice, “will help families work on issues together, including those impacted by domestic violence, substance misuse or addiction”.


Education

See above under Brexit.

Schools

The Department for Education has set out plans to launch a £2m pilot to simplify how the Government supports underperforming schools. The government proposes creating nine Teaching School Hubs across the country, with each Hub supporting 200 to 300 schools.

Early career maths and physics teachers in the North East, Yorkshire & the Humber and Opportunity Areas will receive a £2,000 Government incentive as part of a drive to increase rates of retention among teachers of these subjects.

A new advisory group of experts in character education has been set up to look at how best to support schools to run more activities, which will help build character and resilience.

A new panel is to draft guidance to support teachers in their first years on the job.

Further and higher education

Colleges and further education providers are to receive a funding boost through the Taking Teaching Further programme to help recruit over 160 new FE teachers.

The Augar report reviewing post-18 education and funding has been published.

This press release from the Education Secretary:

  • praises PayPal for committing to stop processing payments for online essay writing services
  • reports at least 15 universities have ended or pledged to review their use of ‘conditional unconditional’ offers.

Health and social care

See above under Brexit.

New measures have been announced by the Department of Health and Social Care to improve care for people with autism and learning disabilities.

New Philanthropy Capital has published a paper reviewing the landscape of both private, charity and NHS digital mental health provision for young people. It explores how services are suited to certain conditions and the features which makes services appealing to young people. It also explores what the level of capacity is in charities to develop these services and suggests strategies by which funders can support charities to do more in this area in future.


Social finance

The government has announced that a new Impact Investing Institute will be created, which will work to make it easier for people to invest their money to benefit communities and society.

A blog for NCVO gives examples of how loans from Charity Bank have supported the development of charities and social enterprises across the UK.

Allchurches Trust has announced a new programme of grant funding for church-based social projects, aiming to encourage connections with youth and improve church infrastructure.

Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC) has announced the launch of a new “ground breaking” housing (£26m+) fund that will invest in the provision of safe, stable and appropriate homes for vulnerable people and their families in the UK. Social Investment Business, an investor in the fund, reflects on SASC’s journey as social investors.


Social value

Social Enterprise UK has published a new report “Front and Centre - Putting Social Value at the Heart of Inclusive Growth”. The report concludes almost two-thirds of local councils (63%) are shown to have a good understanding of social value with 82% believing that social value drives higher levels of growth. However, only 42% believe that using social value has reduced inequalities. The report makes the case for bridging this gap and the use of social value to drive inclusive growth, and calls on public bodies to use social value more strategically, taking it out of the procurement silo where it is too often found and embedded across council's operations.


Faith based organisations

See under Philanthropy and Social finance above.


Modern Slavery Act

The independent review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 has published its final cumulative report which sets out 80 recommendations and provides commentary on some other issues identified over the course of the review. The next step is for the government to respond to it. Key issues include:

  • Whether the government accepts the recommendations to make modern slavery statements mandatory.
  • That sanctions for non-compliance should be strengthened and the government should bring forward proposals for the creation of an enforcement body in relation to non-compliant companies.

Scotland

OSCR, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, has published an interim inquiry report into the Dr Robert Malcom Trust (SC009814). OSCR has appointed an interim judicial factor to the Dr Robert Malcolm Trust to manage the affairs of the charity following the criminal conviction and statutory disqualification of one of its charity trustees and misconduct in the administration of the charity.

OSCR has posted a blog about dissolution clauses by Kenny Mather, a casework policy manager at OSCR. The blog states that in 2018, OSCR received 441 applications from charities for consent to wind up but that the most common reason why OSCR was not able to grant consent was where the charity proposed to distribute its remaining assets in a way that their dissolution clause did not permit.

OSCR’s June edition of its newsletter has been published, containing a round-up of recent OSCR news stories.


Northern Ireland

CCNI, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, has announced that it has opened a statutory inquiry into Karmel City Church (NIC102774), Karmel Trust (NIC100584) and Make a Difference Worldwide (NIC100378). The inquiry relates to concerns regarding the governance and administration of the charity, with a focus on the proper application of charity property.


India

ICNL has published two new reports on the legal environment for Civil Society in India.


Bates Wells company secretarial services

Bates Wells provides a suite of company secretarial services for clients, via our in-house Company Secretarial team, Cecile Gillard and Nicole De Freitas. Our upcoming Webinar – ‘Charities - Building trust through your accountability’ on Monday 16 September 9.30am – 10.30am is open to all clients and contacts. It will explain how charities can use their public accountability positively, to build public trust and strengthen their resilience. Fee £90. Event details and booking here.


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Christine Rigby

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Posted on 04/06/2019 in Legal Updates

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