BWB Briefing for Charities and Social Enterprise

At a glance

Sport and educational charities with trading subsidiaries should see the recent First tier Tribunal decisions in relation to St Andrews College Bradfield.

The Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector has published its fourth and final assessment.

The Financial Conduct Authority has published “A review of the regulatory regime for crowdfunding and the promotion of non-readily realisable securities by other media."

Lord Young has published his report on the Social Value Act.

The Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Act 2015 has received Royal Assent.

Charity Commission

Has turned down an application to register made by the Cambridge Target Shooting Association on the grounds that it did not consider it was established for exclusively charitable purposes. Having considered whether the sport of target shooting promotes health, the Commission concluded that there was insufficient evidence of the benefit to health through participation in the recreational activity or the sport of target shooting.

Has published a policy paper on how it appoints Interim Managers.

Has issued this press release about Sarah Atkinson, Director of Policy and Communications at the Commission, speaking at the Westminster Policy Forum seminar on charity law and regulation.

Charity Tribunal

The issue of who has locus to bring an appeal has cropped up in another Tribunal case – brought by the Hon Richard Cavendish Lyttleton in relation to the Commission’s refusal to remove The Corporation of the Hall of Arts and Sciences (254543) from the Register of Charities. The Tribunal judge, Alison McKenna, has taken the unusual step of issuing a formal Note, suggesting the parties stay the case until the outcome of an appeal on the same issue of standing being taken to the Upper Tribunal by John Nicholson. The Upper Tribunal is due to hear the appeal this Summer.

Company law - names

Following the changes to the law on company names which took effect on 31 January, Companies House has updated its guidance on names.

Tax and VAT

The First-tier Tribunal has ruled that a trading company wholly owned by a charity did not qualify as an “eligible body” for the purposes of the VAT exemption for supplies of sporting services, because it did not have a provision in its constitution which prohibited the distribution of profits. See St Andrews College Bradfield v HMRC [2015] UKFTT 0034 (TC). BWB’s VAT expert Bill Lewis comments: ‘As a First-tier Tribunal case, this ruling is only binding on the parties concerned and does not have legally binding implications for other parties. Having said that, the case suggests that it may be prudent for charities and companies limited by guarantee which wish to take advantage of the VAT sporting exemption to review their constitutions. It is also worth noting that the VAT exemption for education is drafted in similar terms: educational bodies may also be well-advised to review their constitutions.’”


ACEVO has published its annual Pay Survey. This press release summarises some key data but there is a paywall to access the full results.

The fourth and final annual assessment by the Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector was published on 11 February 2015. Civil Society Media reports the Baring Foundation has announced plans for a commission to consider the charity sector's future and continue the work of the Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector.

New Philanthropy Capital has published its 2015 Manifesto. It includes that the Charity Commission should:

Require charity trustees to report on mission and impact.
Sanction charities that repeatedly breach regulations.
Consult on whether funders ought to be required to publish their grant-giving data in a suitable form, with sanctions if they do not comply.

Social investment market

The Financial Conduct Authority has published “A review of the regulatory regime for crowdfunding and the promotion of non-readily realisable securities by other media.”

Social Value

Lord Young has published his report on the Social Value Act. His review found that the Act is having a positive effect where it is taken up, and that it has clear potential to act as a tool for smarter procurement given the right application. The review also makes recommendations around how to further develop the social value agenda and to move the Act into its next phase of implementation. Lord Young has also asked the Minister for the Cabinet Office to prevent the Act’s thresholds from increasing to 750,000 euros for many services when the new Public Contracts Regulations 2015 come into force. For comment from Social Enterprise UK, see here.

Following the publication of Lord Young's Social Value Act review report, the Cabinet Office has updated its information and resources on the Act.

Communities / Localism Act 2011

The First-tier Tribunal has dismissed an appeal against a decision of the London Borough of Lewisham to list a pub as an asset of community value under the community right to bid regime set out in the Localism Act 2011 (LA 2011).


The University of St Mark and St John in Plymouth has been added to the list of exempt charities in Schedule 3 of the Charities Act 2011. This has been effected by The Exempt Charities Order 2015 (SI 2015/210).

See St Andrews College Bradfield case under Tax and VAT above.


On 4 February 2015, the Department of Health published a consultation on draft regulations and guidance on the cap on care costs contained in the Care Act 2014. The regulations provide for a cap of £72,000 in respect of the costs that each individual is obliged to pay to meet their eligible support needs. Costs exceeding the cap will be borne by the local authority.

The Enterprise Minister has announced £4.36 million of joint government and industry funding to improve skills for the NHS’s 600,000 support workers.

Government Ministers have launched a series of pilots exploring ways to help carers balance work with their caring responsibilities.


See St Andrews College Bradfield case under Tax and VAT above.


The Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Act 2015 has received Royal Assent.


A recent High Court case is an interesting example of a charity complying with the public procurement rules. The Pirbright Institute is a charity concerned in the research and surveillance of virus diseases in farm animals and viruses that spread from animals to humans. It receives most of its funding from the government. In April 2014, accepting that it was or was likely to be considered a body which was subject to the 2006 Regulations, it published a notice in the Official Journal advertising a contract for a new integrated IT system. The launch of a challenge by an unsuccessful bidder triggered a statutory automatic suspension of the contract with the successful bidder. This case was about a challenge by the Pirbright Institute to the automatic suspension. The High Court agreed the suspension should be lifted, accepting arguments from the charity including:

  • If the placing of the contract for new systems is delayed, researchers and scientists who do important work in general and for the public interest will have to work with software, which is clearly old-fashioned and inefficient. The longer that goes on the less use their work will be and more time will be wasted. They will be deprived of the benefits of the new IT system.
  • One of Pirbright's existing systems may not be available by December 2015 unless a new licence is secured to continue using it. This would cost money. Although that would be theoretically recoverable under a counter indemnity, it is money coming out of the charity's cash flow in the short term which it should not be required in practice to have to forego.


One of the first Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decisions of the year, Ryanair v PR Aviation (Case C-30/14) has the effect that, in the right circumstances, the owner of a database may be able to rely on broader rights if they have no intellectual property rights at all.


The Pensions Minister has published an update paper “Automatic transfers: A framework for consolidating pension savings”. The paper sets out the progress made in designing a model for automatically transferring a worker’s small pension pots when they change employment. The Minister aims to have the initial phase in place by Autumn 2016.

Tribute to Daniel Phelan

BWB sends its warm condolences to all at Civil Society for the very sad loss of Daniel Phelan, who died on Wednesday, 11 February, aged 58: -

Rosamund McCarthy, Partner at Bates Wells Braithwaite said of Daniel: "I met Daniel over twenty years ago when he first published "NGO Finance" and saw his fledgling business grow into the 'Bloomberg' of the charity sector with its stable of magazines on finance, governance and fundraising as well as the dissemination of data, information, training and events. Daniel was the first to bring the dazzling and fun Charity Awards to the sector and the list of those who have won the lifetime achievement award is a veritable "who's who" of the charity world. Daniel was so much more than an astute publisher and an effective businessman, he really believed in civil society and dedicated his life and a huge amount of his company's time to its service. He was a hugely generous man and always had time to talk and to chew the cud about the latest developments. I will miss Daniel's wisdom, leadership, and social entrepreneurship and am grateful for his dedication to journalism and the open and transparent dissemination of information. Everyone in the sector owes Daniel a huge debt of gratitude."

Tesse Akpeki, OnBoard Consultant at BWB said: "Losing Daniel is so painful. A very special man, he combined his brilliance with a way of making everyone around him feel valued, included and respected. In so doing he brought out the very best in others. Daniel was a trailblazer - a pioneer who enabled others to see possibilities in every situation. He had a wicked sense of humour and created a climate of joy, happiness and great achievement. He will be truly missed."

Read the Civil Society's tribute to Daniel Phelan here.

BWB Furniture

Thank you to everyone who responded to our offers of furniture from our old offices. We are delighted to report that everything has been taken, mostly by BWB charity clients. Nothing has been wasted and nothing has gone to landfill.

Posted on 17/02/2015 in Legal Updates

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